Defining Terms


Yesterday I spent most of the day in Munich. I rode with some other students from Karlsruhe, so we could see the Bodyworlds exhibit. This is an exhibit of real human bodies that have been cut open and plastinated in order to preserve them. The purpose of the exhibit is to educate the public in human anatomy. Of course I had learned some about the topic in my high school Human Anatomy class, but it was very interesting and educational to see real examples of it. There were quite a few different bodies on display, and many were displayed to clearly show one or the other system (such as the nervous or skeletal system). Here in Germany it was a huge issue whether or not the exhibit would even be allowed to be shown, because of moral reasons. Many find it perverse and wrong that human beings should be cut open and put on display for the masses to see. Some of the displays were not allowed to be shown (such as the horse and rider display) because they were not academically educational enough. Many visitors and others have found it perverted and not appropriate handling of human bodies. I can’t say that I share these feelings. Of course no one contests the use of cadavers by doctors and med students for educational purposes, and I don’t see why it should be different with the general public. And that’s eventually why it was allowed to come to Germany, but there is still the issue of presentation. Many of the displays look quite artistic, such as the basketball player, or the chess player. Some find this disturbing. I think a good point was made on one of the displays (where the man had a hat on his head). It was said that when learning is made interesting, fun, or even funny, it draws more interest, but if it is grotesque, then it pushes people away. I agree completely. If they can make the exhibit more lighthearted, so that it doesn’t scare people away, I see that as advantageous. More education is a good thing, right?