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"The soul that can speak through the eyes, can also kiss with a gaze."
~Gustav Adolfo Becquer


>> Saturday, January 27, 2007

“The soul that can speak through the eyes,
can also kiss with a gaze”
~Gustav Adolfo Becquer

Paul Rivers: How many lives do we live? How many times do we die? They say we all lose 21 grams... at the exact moment of our death. Everyone. And how much fits into 21 grams? How much is lost? When do we lose 21 grams? How much goes with them? How much is gained? How much is gained? Twenty-one grams. The weight of a stack of five nickels. The weight of a hummingbird. A chocolate bar. How much did 21 grams weigh?

Last night was a very cold and crisp night. Far too cold for me to be out in it. So I made the best of it.
A roaring fire that sparked and crackled with light, life, warmth, and coziness; dinner, a nice glass of Red, and a great movie popped into the dvd player. And a nice warm comforter. Can't forget about the comforter!

I didn't feel like cooking and didn't want to go back outside, so I ordered take out and had it delivered. This wasn't just your run of the mill take out joint.
Choices - Better Take out and Delivery is a wonderful place! You can order anything from Salad Caprese, Chicken Riggies, Seafood Fra Diablo; to Sweet Potato Ravioli in a sage and walnut brown butter, or even Sheperd's Pie or a Grilled Cheese Sandwich if you so desire. I ordered the Chicken Francaise and it was Delish! The food is incredible and I smile everytime I think of the fact that it is completely take out and delivery only! According to the menu I have, the chef has either rubbed elbows working with or prepared dinners for such notables as President Clinton, along with some other leaders of the world during the International Economic Summit. She has also worked side by side with world-renowned chef, Wolfgang Puck. And Damn! They're located just 2.5 miles up the street from me and they DELIVER!

Though I wanted to include info on this wonderful neighborhood restaurant, this is certainly not the focal point of my writing. The movie I watched, it's premise, and the inter-connectedness to each of us is what has truely inspired me.
21 Grams is not a new movie, having debuted in 2003, though I hadn't seen it before last night.
The premise, being we lose 21 grams in weight upon the exact time of our death, was based on a study conducted in 1907 by a Dr. Duncan MacDougall.

According to a 2004 report by Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), they somewhat dispute this claim here:

The trailer for the 2003 movie, 21 Grams, starts off with a sentence that is both authoritative and inexact: "They say that we all lose 21 grams at the exact moment of death". It's a short and sweet attention-grabber - but the science behind that sentence adds up to zero.

People have believed that the "soul" has a definite physical presence for hundreds, and possibly thousands, of years. But it was only as recently as 1907, that a certain Dr. Duncan MacDougall of Haverhill in Massachusetts actually tried to weigh this soul. In his office, he had a special bed "arranged on a light framework built upon very delicately balanced platform beam scales" that he claimed were accurate to two-tenths of an ounce (around 5.6 grams). Knowing that a dying person might thrash around and upset such delicate scales, he decided to "select a patient dying with a disease that produces great exhaustion, the death occurring with little or no muscular movement, because in such a case, the beam could be kept more perfectly at balance and any loss occurring readily noted".

He recruited six terminally-ill people, and according to his paper in the April 1907 edition of the journal American Medicine, he measured a weight loss, which he claimed was associated with the soul leaving the body. In this paper, he wrote from beside the special bed of one of his patients, that "at the end of three hours and 40 minutes he expired and suddenly coincident with death the beam end dropped with an audible stroke hitting against the lower limiting bar and remaining there with no rebound. The loss was ascertained to be three fourths of an ounce."

He was even more encouraged when he repeated his experiment with 15 dogs, which registered no change in weight in their moment of death. This fitted in perfectly with the popular belief that a dog had no soul, and therefore would register no loss of weight at the moment of demise.

But before his article appeared in American Medicine, the New York Times on the 11th March, 1907 had already published a story on him, entitled Soul Has Weight, Physician Thinks, on page 5. His reputation was now assured, having been published in both a medical journal and The New York Times (a Journal Of Record).

As a result, the "fact" that the soul weighed three-quarters of an ounce (roughly 21 grams) made its way into the common knowledge, and has stayed there ever since.

But when you look more closely at his scientific work, you see large problems.

Firstly, six (as in the six dying patients) is not a large enough sample size. When I studied statistics, my lecturer convinced me that, concerning people preferring one cola to another, "8 out of 10 is not statistically significant, but 16 out of 20 is".

Second, he got "good" results (ie, the patient irreversibly lost weight at the moment of death) from just one of the six patients, not all six! Two of the results had to be excluded because of "technical difficulties". One patient's death did show a drop in weight of about three-eighths of an ounce - but this later reversed itself! Two of the other patients registered an immediate loss of weight at the moment of death, but then their weight dropped again a few minutes later. (Does this mean that they died twice!?) Only one of the six patients showed a sudden and non-reversible loss of weight of three-fourths of an ounce (21 grams).

The third problem is a little more subtle. Even today, with all of our sophisticated technology, it is still sometimes very difficult to determine the precise moment of death. And which death did he mean - cellular death, brain death, physical death, heart death, legal death, etc? How could Dr. Duncan MacDougall be so precise back in 1907? And anyhow, how accurate and precise were his scales back in 1907?

From such slender beginnings as a single non-reproducible result, enduring myths are born. There may be lightness after death - but this experiment didn't prove it. We do leave something behind us when we die - the enduring impact that we have had on others. We would probably have as much success in measuring the impression of that mental impact, as we would of measuring the weight of the soul.

© Karl S. Kruszelnicki Pty Ltd 2004.

Very Interesting. Though seriously debatable, it would be interesting if now...100 years later, that study was conducted again, using reliable measures.

Karl, however, brings up a very real topic at the end of his paper:
"...the enduring impact that we have had on others. We would probably have as much success in measuring the impression of that mental impact, as we would of measuring the weight of the soul."

I believe there is a connection between the two. The impact we have on others and our soul.
The older I get, the more I realize just how spiritual we, as humans, really are. We each possess an energy that is very real.

It's often felt, though not seen.

There's a lot of truth to the Yiddish Proverb:
“The eyes are the mirror of the soul”.
They exude so much energy.
They reflect so much of a person.
They mirror so much of me.

When I meet someone, their eyes are the first thing I see.
It's kinda funny too, 'cause sometimes I'm not able to recall the actual color of them,
as my 'focus' was on what I see reflecting back at me!
I've always placed a lot of emphasis on this. If someone is unable to meet my gaze directly and openly, and if they avert their eyes a bit too soon, I wonder what they are hiding and I tend to lose interest. This, for obvious reasons, does not apply to my job and the people I work with in that capacity; as that's often commonplace with some people. I do however, use that as a gage to their progress in being able to openly communicate with me and allow themselves to trust another human being....again. I also tend to be sensitive to the cultural dynamics of some people, as in the hispanic culture, it is often considered rude to look another in the eye.

This eye-to-eye is not meant in a 'power-play' manner at all.
I find that to be a turn off and completely off base to what I mean.
It's more like if there's a connection, an exchange of inter-personal energy.
Can the core or soul of that person be touched?
Do they seek what is reflected in mine?
There's an intimacy about that, which draws me.
I've felt it from across a crowded room with a "stranger".
I've actually had 'strangers' approach me and comment on it.
I put 'stranger' in quotes due to the oxymoron feeling
of that level of intimacy
with someone whom I've never uttered a word with before.
There's an energy that passes through,
and it's not necesarily sexual in nature, though it could be.

And if one does know the other?? And intimately?
That silent communication with in our souls,
is all the more beautiful and precious.
Ever be in a room with someone and when you glance at eachother,
there's an electricity and energy that is exchanged?
And it's felt!
Like words were not needed
and a whole conversation was had
that only two sets of eyes could understand?
Those sometimes end up being
the Best Conversations that I've Never had!!!

My ex-husband and I used to have that level of intimacy.
I miss that.
Souls speak in a way that words fail.
And the eyes are the vehicle for that exchange.

I also think it's not always an easy and comfortable thing either.
I am reminded of a quick exchange between two characters in one of my favorite movies,
The Thomas Crown Affair.
The psychiatrist, Fay Dunaway, tells Thomas Crown (Pierce Brosnan):
"Enjoyment isn't intimacy" and Pierce counters with:
"And intimacy isn't necesarily enjoyment."
Truer words were never spoken.

We are spiritual beings.
We give off as much energy as we absorb from other people.
Self-awareness helps.
So does sensitivity to others energy.
Allow yourself to shine. Look for that light in others too.
It's there.


How much does your 21 grams weigh???

“Begin to see yourself as a soul with a body rather than a body with a soul.”
~ Wayne Dyer

21 grams (Movie trailer)

2 Reflections:

JQP 9:10 AM, January 29, 2007  

Interesting post ZZ.

I'm curious... does that mean you would disregard someone who may have passion and intensity but also just a wee bit of insecurity? Eye contact is a difficult thing to maintain for some, and I'm not convinced it is entirely related to who a person is - because once you get to know someone they are usually not who you thought at the first moment you met.

GreeneyeZZ 12:57 PM, January 29, 2007  

I did a poor job describing that piece. Sorry.

Everyone has insecurities....
Myself included. I did not mean to make it sound like I am with out my own..'baggage'.
Trust me...Some days I think I'm very very light, and other days I think I have enough 'baggage' to take me to Europe and back!! ;)

For me, it's somehow related to the level of intimacy that one is able to tolerate.

Some people can handle the intensity of intimacy, some people freak out when someone comes close, and still other people want that level of intimacy but are too afraid to reach out, or don't know how to.

I am somehow reminded of a quote that I have always identified with:

"Sometimes we build walls around our heart not to keep loved ones out, but to see who cares enough to knock those walls down."

I don't think I can fully explain what I mean in this comment section...with me needing to go back to work in a few minutes, I just won't be able to do this justice, but I hope it makes it a bit more clearer for you. :)

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