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Page 251

And why shouldn't a doll (or a poem or a complex
pile of blood, bones and meat) live? You've heard of
objects doing things that objects can't do – Poltergeist
phenomena. I think that you and I, spiritual beings,
attach ourselves to bodies (though the bodies themselves
have, even when we leave them – during comas,
for example, – some animal-cellular life of their own,
but not speech, laughter, love, hate, alertness, positive
willed motion) – I think we have an addiction to bodies
much as fans can't get enough of their favorite players:

Bodies and biology seem to be the only game in town.
They can be made to move and talk and play catch
and exchange views of the weather, to touch, taste, see –
not that we can't relearn to do these things
without bodies, but bodies are ready-made
sensation amplifiers (rigged to detect threats of
heat, cold, toxins, predators, whatever endangers
their intricate systems). So, as soon as we drop
one body, we pick up another, almost involuntarily,
drifting from deathbed (what's that shriveled or waxen
thing down there?) to maternity ward in a daze,
an oblivion, pain of death merging with the
fiercer pangs of birth.

In so-called primitive nations, people remember more
because the surroundings to which they orient,
life after life, are relatively unchanging, and because,
so often, beings remain within the family, mother
expected to produce a baby just in time to give
dying Grandpa his new body. They recognize him,
give him his old name, and one day he remembers
(without having been told – for Grandpa told no one)
where grandpa buried (between roots of a big tree)
a leather bag filled with potent relics, teeth of beasts,
shiny stones, spicy powders in pouches, tiny figures of
men, women, animals that Grandpa carved from soft stone....

The point is, Reader, we go where there are others
like ourselves, where we can find recognition,
things to do, people to help. What might we become
in a world where dolls were dearly loved?
Or machines? One day, God's or a child's love
might animate a doll. A puppet might remember
borrowed motion and improve it. (I hope I don't die
while laboring over this damned computer....)

Note: The idea in the last stanza is, we go where we're wanted and validated. If the world rewards doctors, more people become doctors. If Mama always loves most the sickest child, the other children, wanting attention, get sick. In a world that loved dolls or was obsessed with computers, paying far more attention to computers than to other humans, some of us might find it an attractive idea to become a doll or a computer. Some (called insane) do become objects while yet in or near their human bodies. But what about a spiritual being deciding to BE a computer. (Or, as the last line suggests, dying mid-obsession with a computer and finding it hard, as a spirit, to extricate oneself – haunting it.

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