18.3.09

Beam up, tune in, drop out.

A person's mind wanders into strange places when they're waiting for the curling game to end.

Transporters. I don't think any actual scientist ever gave them a moment of serious thought, until science fiction writers needed a way to get their characters from A to B. Sure, they'd be cool, but only in a "chocolate and gumdrops falling from the sky" sort of way. Honestly, I'd rather see billions of research dollars go towards moonbases or artificial intelligence or public broadcasting.

Besides, there's the philosophical implications that they pose to the distinction between body and soul. Imagine a teleporter that could zap any person to any location -- with the exception that the person was always dead when they reached Point B. This device would actually be surprisingly useful. For one thing, burials would become obsolete. And who knows? Maybe giant composting plants would be more popular if nobody actually had to put any bodies in it. On the other hand, suicides would become extremely grisly. For example, people could die, and then fall from a great height, which means unfaithful lovers would end up having to buy quite a bit of extra hail insurance.

But that all is based upon the supposition that the human body could not function without a soul. But what if it could? "Impossible," some might say. "It's the spark that gives us life!" Ah, yes, but if you don't mind me reusing that straw metaphor -- you don't need a live battery, once the engine's started. And you don't need teleportation to get there, either.

Hair grows. Skin sloughs off. Cells die, and are replaced. Cell components break down, and are repaired. 70% of the body is water, and water tends to slosh around. One way or another, all the parts of your body are replaced after a few years.

So, what if everyone on Earth was born with a soul, but it went on to the next world once your original body was exchanged? For one thing, it would explain all those gift shop souvenirs that depict angels as winged babies. It might even explain parental love a little bit, too. But most importantly, I think it could actually be a half-decent compromise between atheists and Christians: The soul is immortal. But if you're old enough to read this, you've already lost it.

Food for thought.

(Caveat: No, I don't honestly believe this. You should know better than to listen to my rinkside philosophy. But it might make for a good story idea someday.)

1 comment:

Karen said...

What if we turned it around and had a transporter that sent the soul but not the body, sort of an astral projection machine. Oh! The places we could go!

(Also: it makes me giggle that my word verficiation is "butpoli" (which makes me think "Butt Police".))

About The Author

My photo

Canadian explorer. Chemist by training, biologist by nature. Long-time supporter and participant in National Novel Writing Month. Known as "Aquadeo" in most Internet circles. Also known as "that guy with the pants" to people who have seen me in certain pants.