• Vol. 02
  • Chapter 07
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We can be bought and sold…

Dear Aunt Dorothea,

        Whilst I was in Les Landes, South of Bordeaux, I met Benoit’s cousin, Antoine, a neurologist. We talked brain. He showed me a photograph he keeps in his wallet; it looked like a pile of flesh. He talked about the muscle, the need for brain exercise, the fibers, the reptilian, the limbic, the cortex and the synapses. “Neurons carry messages, translate everything we perceive,” he said “feelings are packed in tiny labeled bags, these missals scuttle from the skin through the central nervous system and up to the brain; the brain.” Antoine believes the brain is the center of the Universe, bigger than the stars, the sun and the moon, usurping the Galaxy. All is understandable through the mesmerizing scanner that measures blood flow, oxygen status, creates an image, mapping the brain, cross sectioning and recording the territory. Antoine thinks that infrared light, magnetic fields, gamma rays and the topography of shadows can picture love, hate, jealousy and revenge.

       I prefer poetry, Dorothea; alone, the brain is mere meat, brawn and flesh. Where is the heart, the soul? Where is culture, the complex, unfathomable singular, unique movement of language, paint, music and words? Why do do not hit the man, crush the butterfly; why do we want to eat donuts or cronuts from dawn till dusk? It is culture that leads us to pour green tea from a certain height and makes us want to believe in ephemeral flower fairies, our football players, or a superhero in tight-fitting lycra who will sweep from the bleak, navy blue midnight sky and save us from our own deep shadows.


We can be bought and sold…

       Dorothea, I tried to explain to Antoine, as he sat all neat and tidy at the breakfast table, shorn nape, manicured nails, polo shirt with the collar turned up, that we need rational thought and mystery, instinct and reason; they are powerless individually. We need the brain (l’esprit), the body (le corps) and the soul, (l’âme).
If we are only the brain, we are just a number, a barcode, we can be scanned, counted, quantified, measured and packed in boxes, we can be bought and sold.

       I miss you Dorothea, when are you coming home?
Much love
Your niece Clementine.