If you haven’t heard, Craig Lewis is the man who was doomed to die in mere hours. Scientists were eager to use him as a guinea pig to debut a new device that is able to simulate the doings of the human heart to the point that Craig was able to live on. Sounds like a great story at first glance? Well, you know what? It is a great story. However, the reason it is generating so much buzz is a misconception that human beings have that is thrust into our consciousness from a very young age. See, humans are misled as to what the heart is and what it does.
The human heart is a powerful muscle that is the primary vehicle for sustaining life. It’s powerful contractions pump blood throughout our bodies, delivering a precious lifeline that is normally irreplaceable. However, humans, as is their wont, attach a lot of extra qualities to the heart, which affect our definition of what the heart is and what it does to great degrees.
From early in our lives, we are impregnated with the idea that the heart takes on much more of a social responsibility than it really does. Think of all the sayings you know… Matter of the heart. His heart wasn’t in it. Follow your heart. You have my heart. The true heart of the matter, so to speak, is that the heart is not what we are predisposed to think it is.
The true human heart is a muscle that helps pump blood throughout our bodies. No matter how romantic the possibility that the heart takes on some kind of soul-ish reverence is, the fact remains. The heart pumps blood. The heart dies, you die. But Craig Lewis is challenging this belief, because scientists were able to implant a machine that was able to provide all of the duties of a human heart artificially. While this is a medical marvel that should be recognized, the reason it is creating such a buzz is because of all the extra attachments people put on the heart. They hear that Craig Lewis has a machine that is successfully pumping blood throughout his body, just as a healthy human heart would, and they wonder. What about his soul? What about love? What about…
The attachments that humans make to the heart are not ill-founded. They are just simply misplaced. It is the human brain where the soul lies. Our personalities, our choices, our ability to reason, and our ability to ascertain
the real world for what it is is what makes the “soul.” The heart pumps blood to the brain, and therefore, without the heart, the brain, or “soul” if you will, could not exist. So, you see, the story of Craig Lewis is amazing in its own right, not because his heart was replaced, but because it’s possible. Sure, Craig doesn’t have a pulse. Why would he? He doesn’t have a heart. However, his brain is still intact. He still knows what his favorite color is and what kind of ice cream he likes best. That is because Craig Lewis was a person, an entity, a soul if you will, and like an electronic device you plug in a wall, Craig can do any number of things as long as he has power. And in this case, power comes from blood, which comes from the heart.
Craig Lewis is just as capable of loving another human being as ever, despite not having a heart. Why? Because he has a soul. However, the scientific implications are very exciting.