Friday, February 05, 2010

Regenerative Break

Question for you...

What's the most memorable news you've heard recently?

Is it:

A. The devastation of Haiti, and the heroic efforts to help?
B. The world's biggest car maker, Toyota, has become the world's biggest lemonade maker?
C. The Saints are marching in?
D. Something else?

I vote for D - the announcement that functional MRI can be used to communicate with some people in vegetative state.

If you didn't see this, here is a link. This is a story you can share with the entire family.

The science is not being universally applauded. In fact, comments to the NYT health blog are running about 4 in favor, 3 against, and 10 skeptical about this development.

(FYI - Here is a story worth sharing about someone who was in a "permanent" vegetative state for 14 years, and now can communicate.)

So this gives us 2 questions for your table, one practical and one tangential:

1 - How do you react to this story? Amazed? Skeptical? Disappointed?
2 - If you were in a vegetative state, fully aware of what was going on around you but unable to communicate, would you want them to keep you on life support, or pull the plug?

As you know by now, I like to spin the news "Jewishly".

Remember The Matrix? In this film, the hero learns that everything we perceive as reality is really an artificial virtual reality. One of the best scenes in the movie is when one character who goes in and out of the matrix says,

"You know, I know that this steak doesn't really exist. I know that the Matrix is telling my brain that it's juicy and delicious. After nine years, you know I realize? Ignorance is bliss."

In other words, he'd rather live in a blissful illusion than a challenging reality.

What a Jewish metaphor.

(If you want to learn the three Jewish techniques for waking up from our rather permanent vegetative state, send me an email. If there is enough interest, we'll do an online class.)

Shabbat Shalom

PS - Here's the matrix scene.

It is a good thing for an uneducated man to read books of quotations… The quotations, when engraved upon the memory, give you good thoughts. They also make you anxious to read the authors and look for more. - Churchill

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