How to Get Ahead

Pictured: Sergio Canavero

Pictured: Sergio Canavero

Apparently, Italian neurosurgeon Sergio Canavero and a Chinese colleague are moving forward with their plans to perform the first human head transplant.  While this may sound like science fiction, the two scientists are very serious; having even recruited their first volunteer, Valery Spiridinov, who suffers from a rare form of spinal atrophy known as Werdnig-Hoffman disease.  Naturally, scientists worldwide are concerned that the experimental treatment could kill Spiridinov or even drive him mad. 

I may not be a doctor, but I can see why those might be concerns.  The proposed procedure simply raises too many questions regarding the nature of identity.  Is all of who we are contained in the brain?  In what ways do our bodies shape our minds and personalities?  How could you still be the same person after such an operation?  We often think of how our minds influence our bodies, but give very little consideration to how our bodies influence our minds.  The specific health and condition of our bodies literally help mold our consciousness, and thus I don't see how this procedure could result in anything other than madness.  Regardless of my opinion, though, the procedure is still slated to be performed in 2017, and for Valery's sake I pray I'm wrong.

Yours in Impossibility,


Tobias Wayland