Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Language and Trauma, Series 3

The following description of an experience was given to me by a person who was (unfortunately, or fortunately) in the wrong place at the wrong time:

I went to the zoo yesterday, while vacationing in Montana. And I saw a couple and their small baby standing very near to the tiger cage. While I looked down slightly to read the little sign that gave information about the tiger that was in the cage, the tiger quickly managed to get the couple's small baby in it's mouth.

And the mother of the child, just as quickly yanked the baby out of the tiger's mouth. But the baby was bitten. And someone nearby said in a hurried shock that a person usually died between 8 and 9 days after being bitten by a tiger. But the baby was already dead. And the mother yelled out in a frantic scream, "All the electricity has been taken out of him!"

And indeed it seemed the baby was dead. But, ironically, about 8 or 9 seconds later the baby gave signs of life and was soon wiggling and crying like a baby normally does. The baby didn't even need bandaids, the tiger didn't even break the baby's skin!

[For your reading interest, see also: Language and Trauma, Series 1 and Series 2.]

Technorati tags: , , , ,


sherry said...

Whew! The parents must have been so happy to have their child back!

reaper said...

They were stupid for even letting the baby get in that situation.

Ah, yes, do you wish to do the whole you read my blog I read yours thing? I link you you link me?

If so, comment on my blog again and count me as your new quality reader blog friend type dude.

Mr. Fabulous said...

Babies ARE delicious!

flic said...

sherry- This post is about luck and fateful twists. Yes, they got their baby back (the baby experienced such a shock that it was clinically dead for 8 to 9 seconds) -- But do you think it's the same baby?

reaper- If they had known the outcome, then it would have been stupid. But anything that turns out badly seems stupid in retrospect. When the result is positive, then no-one thinks of what happened as being "stupid", maybe just "lucky."

Hey, does your deal include a free round of golf?

mr.fabulous- You're right, so I guess they can't blame the tiger! LOL.

canopenner said...

Im sure it was the same baby.

Since it was unconscious(In a an unaware of its own existance sorta way) yet there was no way it could have lost its consciousness. You cannot lose what you do not have.

I hear what your saying. But I wonder if anyone else does.

flic said...

canopenner- The baby wasn't unconscious, the baby was clinically dead (i.e., the heart and brain stopped working for those 8 to 9 seconds).

But I see what you're saying: even if clinically dead (and then "coming back from the dead"), the baby still doesn't lose it's own individual original consciousness?

Would you say then that the experience might alter the baby's life (and possibly it's biology!) in any significant way?

Canopenner said...


I mean the baby was unconcious in that it was unaware of itself. Not that it was knocked out.

I think it would not alter the baby's life except that it will have a cool story to tell that it heard from its parents.

Unless you believe ion spirit animals and all that malarky, but I suppose I dont.

Im off to chase butterflies now.

Have a great day.

flic said...

canopenner (1:02pm)- But when you're clinically dead, it makes no difference whether you're aware or unaware of yourself or your own consciousness before hand -- things still happen to the brain.

And interesting that you bring up "spirit animals". Because it would be interesting to know why the tiger did what it did.

But who's going to ask a tiger a question like that (and get an answer)? Maybe a butterfly catcher can!

And I mean that in a good way!

Canopenner said...

Honestly flic I have my doubts that the child was dead.

Who was the doctor on hand handing out this diagnosis?

Maybe Im too into diogenes.


flic said...

canopenner (5:16pm)- I know the doctor as a professional and as a friend. But of course doctor's are not always right. You're right about that.

But in cases like this (a person being clinically dead), it's indisputable.

The doctor did not "witness" the 8 or 9 seconds of death per se. This fact is detected afterwards. The tests, and the doctors (because more than one doctor must be involved in the results), are akin to hunters looking for an animal via it's tracks in the snow.

You know it (death) was there although you might never actually see it, and you know exactly where it was, and for how long it was there, and what species the animal was, etc., by the tracks it leaves behind.

So, there's no question the baby was clinically dead for a period of exactly 8.6 seconds.

The interesting question for me is what the baby "experienced" during those 8.6 seconds. Or what happened inside the baby's consciousness or brain during those 8.6 seconds. Also: was the consciousness/brain re-configured ever so slightly in some way by the "experience", did the consciousness/brain perhaps "re-start" in some small way, etc., etc. [And it makes it all that much more interesting because the baby can't talk!]

BTW: a good (artist) friend of mine made a nice painting for me, entitled "The Lantern of Dionysus". [Not Diogenes, but the names are similar.] And I felt very honored to have received such a thing!