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The Breath of a Corpse

Art+by+Crystal+Sung.
Art by Crystal Sung.

Art by Crystal Sung.

Art by Crystal Sung.

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Humans are considered complex creatures because of our ability to empathize, to feel, to wound. Emotions distinguish us from animals. Tear that away, and what are we?

When the physical features of a human begin to deteriorate, does the person vanish away entirely? Some substance must be binding them, composing their essence.

If their memories fade, do the people also fade away? Memories are simply impulses, repeated patterns of communication through neurons.

If an individual loses these, do they then lose themselves? Not quite, since memories are physically a part of the person, dependent upon them for existence.

At the core of our beings, do we not possess something eternal, something that remains after the body has decomposed into dust? Emotions are chemicals, and thoughts impulses. Strip away the physical and what remains?

Sever someone’s arm off, and while their physical makeup is altered, their essence remains unscathed. Their defining value is retained, yet not yet known.

Cut that person off from others and they crumble into complete nothingness.

When isolated, a person’s body may remain perfectly intact, yet their mind erodes. Yet the mind, and by extension feelings and emotions, cannot define a person. People survive without mental tranquility on a daily basis. While the emotionally void appear heartless, they do not cease to exist.

There must be something deeper than our emotions, physical exterior and thoughts; otherwise, what would set us apart from other “highly intelligent” animals? Some would argue we are simply exceptionally-developed animals, equivalent in value and worth to all other creatures. Yet we must possess something, intangible though it may be, that allows us to connect to the hearts of others in just an exceptional way.

Beyond just heartbeats and memories, the human is capable of relationships that transcend co-dependence. We inherently crave connections, which are what sustain our essence.

Then do our connections define us? Surely not, for we are able to stand alone and survive. Yet we cannot stand alone and thrive.

Our essence is composed of something pure, everlasting, perfectly united to our bodies, yet not composing our entirety.

Our cores are our souls, the living breath in a corpse, the blood surging through a shattered heart, the thoughts in a dead man’s rotting brain.

Hack our souls from us and we are nothing more than pounds of flesh. Without them, we are empty, blank, raw. Our blood might then be warm, but our hearts would forever remain cold.

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