Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Corporeal reanimation is the theoretical concept of reanimating a dead organism, restoring its living functions and enabling it to move and to freely interact with the world of the living as it did when it was alive.
Reanimation also refers to alleged supernatural phenomena in which the souls of deceased persons reinhabit their dead bodies and return to this world, usually to complete unfinished business.
In fiction: Many people, mainly fiction writers, have proposed how it would work, but their theories are only portrayed in movies or fantastic tales of "Zombies" or living-dead, and such. The central idea focuses on the dead organism's brain being crudely revived to re-enable simple functions and allow passive ability of normal bodily operation, such as eyesight, hearing and acting on instinct, though how the brain is 'revived' is never explained. It is roughly reflected with movie plots, such as the introduction of a virus into a body, which slowly kills the host and reanimates it. This can be seen most notably in the George A. Romero's Living Dead films and in the Resident Evil series of video games.
In culture: An example of reanimation appears in the Caribbean tradition of voodoo: the zombie. True to modern portrayals, zombies have no mind or will of their own and are basically living-dead — although their bodies are metabolically active.
In science: The scientist and inventor James Lovelock pioneered reanimation research in the mid-1950s. In an interview with the BBC's Mark Lawson (BBC Four, May 22, 2006), he referred to an early experiment in which a common hamster was trained to find its way through a maze, then "frozen", and later brought back to life. "It was as good as new!" Lovelock said, "it could make its way through [the] maze, as it was trained to do before..."
Notes and references: Reanimation of rats.