Engrossing But Not Gross
My young nephews, age 11 and 14, are visiting us from Ontario and, of all the possible activities we suggested, their number one interest was a visit to the Telus Science Centre. After consent from their parents was received, they were especially excited to learn the timing of their visit would allow us to take in the Body World exhibit.
Not exactly something I would have signed up for, Body World and The Cycle of Life uses real, human bodies preserved through a process called plastination.
Plastination of the bodies involved removing all of the body fluids and soluble fat and replacing them with fluid plastics that harden. The bodies were then set up in lifelike poses and hardened with heat or light.
While the intent is to create an awareness and understanding of anatomy, physiology, and the impact of healthy or unhealthy lifestyle choices, quite frankly the concept totally creeped me out.
Yet, like thousands of others, I found it to instead be utterly fascinating, as did my husband and nephews.
A previous visitor to the exhibit perhaps put it best when she wrote in the visitor’s book, “How can one not believe in God after seeing this?”
Perhaps more than anything the exhibit helps you see the impact of how we treat our bodies and ultimately how much of our own health is based on the decisions we make. For instance, seeing the healthy lungs of a non-smoker side by side with the lungs of a smoker can be pretty enlightening.
Additionally the displays were peppered with thought-provoking quotes about life and health.
One example that I found particularly meaningful was from Abraham Lincoln who said, “And in the end it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.’
I was also struck by some very wise and savvy advice about how to live a healthier and more meaningful life.
These included the importance of “eating a rainbow”—suggesting we all benefit from the rainbow of colours (protective anti-oxidants) offered by eating a variety of different coloured fruits and vegetables every day.
We were also challenged to “mean something to someone”; to place a priority on lifelong learning and engaging with the world, to understand optimism as a mantra for longevity, and to seek a purposeful life.
Additionally, we were encouraged to see the curative power of nature and spend more time outdoors, to see exercise and motion as a way of life, and to embrace the importance of “less is more”.
So while I had expected an exhibit that was gross, it ended up instead being an afternoon that was engrossing. Who knew?Posted on 07-09-13
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