10 votes

She took her amputated leg home, and you can too

15 comments

  1. [10]
    CALICO
    Link
    Soft-NSFW warning for the very squeamish: preserved human remains. I'm doing some research on amputation for a story—rather, body modification in culture & history—and I came across this short...

    Soft-NSFW warning for the very squeamish: preserved human remains.


    I'm doing some research on amputation for a story—rather, body modification in culture & history—and I came across this short article I thought was different.
    The linked instagram within was weirdly charming, dealing with a traditionally morbid subject with whimsy.

    subscribed

    4 votes
    1. [9]
      Kom
      Link Parent
      Would you mind sharing a little about the story? Body modification is something that really interests me, the reasons why, the cultural acceptance, the history and how it's evolved.

      Would you mind sharing a little about the story? Body modification is something that really interests me, the reasons why, the cultural acceptance, the history and how it's evolved.

      3 votes
      1. [8]
        CALICO
        Link Parent
        tl;dr—there's a cyborg cult in the future but it's mostly world-building than anything super important. What I'm essentially doing is taking themes and trends I'm noticing in the world, from...

        tl;dr—there's a cyborg cult in the future but it's mostly world-building than anything super important.

        What I'm essentially doing is taking themes and trends I'm noticing in the world, from technological and political to environmental and social, and building a hopefully plausible timeline of the near future. I get there feeling we're approaching an inflection point, and the lack of certainty makes me very anxious; I want to take a stab at seeing how we might pan out.

        I've been following the Transhumanist movement for one, as well as the fields of biotechnology, robotics, prosthetics, and medical implants. Assuming we don't reach any sort hard limits, I can buy the idea that these things will continue to improve to the point where elective prosthetics or implants become more common as their quality and capacity meets, exceeds, or augments what God gave us—so to speak.

        Right now in Western society at least, things formally considered rebellious (tattoos, piercings, etc) are becoming more socially acceptable. This has prompted some people to further push the boundaries on personal aesthetics, experience, and social rebellion with things like hook-flesh suspension, elfing/ear-pointing, branding, scarification, et al. These type of things are mostly based in other cultures, and they're currently pretty fringe when it comes to body modification.

        That got me looking into where this kind of thing came from—all over the place and throughout time—and where it might go if we keep going. I considered that the Transhumanist might meet up with the body-mod crowd when the tech enables it to be used to people who don't need them. Currently prosthetics and implants are mostly to benefit involuntary amputees and other medical cases. If, one day, a prosthetic limb meets or exceeds the capabilities of a flesh limb, it seems reasonable that a subset of people would undergo a voluntary amputation. A small subset at first, to be sure.

        That idea got me researching voluntary amputation to see what precedent there is. Most of what I found were medical cases, and that's when I found this article. However considering the nature of body-mod culture and Transhumanists, I was more interested if there was a precedent in history for religions or cultures that involved amputations as more than a medical necessity.
        There's not a lot there. Mostly the cutting-off of fingertips in grief, and suggestions that neolithic cultures may have practiced some kind of ritual finger amputation for some unknown purpose.

        There's a movement adjacent and related to Transhumanism called Singularitarianism, which is the idea that the technological singularity—the creation of superintelligence—is imminent and we ought to prepare for that and ensures it's to humanity's benefit. Some people believe that this singularity will allow people to merge with AI, upload our consciousnesses into computers, become fundamentally immortal, etc. Transcending and redefining what it means to be human, essentially.

        My idea is that as the Overton Window shifts further towards accepting currently-radical body modification, the fringe is going to go more-radical still and collide with Transhumanist technologies.

        What will that look like, and how will society respond to it?

        So in my timeline of the future (late 21st/early 22nd century), "normal" body-mods wouldn't turn any heads. A lot of what's extreme today won't either, as we continue to embrace the efficacy to explore self identity, self expression, and so on. (Watch out, The Future. Dyed hair and lip rings ain't shit). We'll see the beginnings of voluntary cyborgism in a way more exciting than our current bespectacled, pacemaker'd kinds of cyborgs. And as The Singularity continues to be imminent, yet never arriving, the Transhumanist movement takes on a kind of quasi-religious, culty air. People become desperate as the world is falling apart around them (climate change getting really bad, mass migrations, water wars, dangerously extreme weather, geopolitical tensions and collapses) and need something to look forward to and believe in. This does not go entirely well.

        Because humans seem to be hardwired to find conflict and find/make tribes, we stratify along these lines. Part of society embraces these technologies, as well as gene editing, life extension, and such. Most of it is a casual acceptance, the more extreme adopt extreme or experimental changes to themselves. Another part of society rejects these kinds of things on socially-conservative, naturalistic or religious grounds. They develop a similar extreme fringe. As we all know, most people of varied opinions are generally pretty chill and content to agree to disagree; or at least not actively antagonize each other. But when there are opposed, extreme views that begins to stretch society to a breaking point. See: our bonkers as fuck political situation in America, and everything that comes with it.

        This social divide is a major point of conflict I want to explore, and see what happens. However it's not the primary conflict of the story I want to tell. It's secondary, and largely social commentary. That's more to do with the Great Filter; whether the answer to "Where are all the aliens?", is that we're the first intelligent life in the universe, or that all intelligent life always wipes itself out, and how we handle that during a period of unprecedented, simultaneous advancement and devastation.

        11 votes
        1. [5]
          Kom
          Link Parent
          Wow. that sounds absolutely amazing! The current state of body modification and amputation is moving towards this direction, a few years back a chip called North Sense was made and implanted into...

          Wow. that sounds absolutely amazing!

          The current state of body modification and amputation is moving towards this direction, a few years back a chip called North Sense was made and implanted into a guys chest. It gave him a "sixth sense" and made him a human compass, the body mod groups I'm part of lost their minds over the jump forward the issue most had was that it stuck out of the chest so far it would become more an issue of trying to not catch it on everything day to day. Still it is amazing how far things have come.

          The amputation stuff happens way more than most would think. It's very underground and a lot of people won't admit how ok they are with it.

          Have you looked into Shannon Larratt's blog or Shawn Porter?

          3 votes
          1. [4]
            CALICO
            Link Parent
            You've given me some more things to look into! My personal exposure to body-mods is fairly minimal mostly just tattoos and piercings. The most extreme is that I guy I used to know implanted a...

            You've given me some more things to look into!
            My personal exposure to body-mods is fairly minimal mostly just tattoos and piercings. The most extreme is that I guy I used to know implanted a magnet in one of his fingertips. So, most of my understanding of the less-common stuff is purely through incidental exposure on the internet.
            I've heard of Shannon Larratt before, but only in connection with the BME Pain Olympics videos when that was going viral ages ago.

            2 votes
            1. [3]
              Kom
              Link Parent
              If you would like to know anything more I'm always willing to chat, I have always been drawn towards body modification but limited myself because of what others would think and I hate that I let...

              If you would like to know anything more I'm always willing to chat, I have always been drawn towards body modification but limited myself because of what others would think and I hate that I let myself stay that way for so long. I did stretch my lobes to 32mm, had many piercings and my tongue is split.

              There are a few things I plan on still getting but being a nurse I'm now limited to things that can be hidden.

              The first post you'll see on Shannon's blog is his last one, he had a very rare disease that took his life so that one can be an emotional read. Still very informative.
              I recommend checking out the PDF downloads he had "Mod Con" and "Meet Tommy" the first book is about the first mod con they put on and a few interviews from folks who attended, then Meet Tommy is more about the cross over of BDSM and body modification, both are NSFW with graphic images, definitely not for the light hearted.

              Shawn Porter still throws up a lot of historical and tribal stuff, his posts are very educational and always a great read.

              If you are at all interested in current stuff I can add the artist's who are pushing things forward now and direct you to their IG.

              3 votes
              1. [2]
                CALICO
                Link Parent
                I have a kind of personal interest in it, mostly limited by indecision. Dress & Appearance is a big deal in my line of work as well, but a little less strict than a healthcare position. One of...

                I have a kind of personal interest in it, mostly limited by indecision. Dress & Appearance is a big deal in my line of work as well, but a little less strict than a healthcare position. One of these days I'll commit and actually get some tattoos done. Have a PA. Considering if I can get away with a labret ring without looking too "unprofessional". Maybe a dark stud to hide in the old beard at work. Overall pretty vanilla when it comes to this kind of thing.

                I am pretty interested in those Instas, and I'll probably hit you up to learn more later. Might be a good idea to go through DM's though; we're getting pretty off-topic and bumping the thread more probably wouldn't be ideal.

                3 votes
                1. Kom
                  Link Parent
                  No worries at all, always happy to chat more about all this stuff. I'll start making a list of artists pages for you.

                  No worries at all, always happy to chat more about all this stuff. I'll start making a list of artists pages for you.

                  1 vote
        2. [2]
          Tardigrade
          Link Parent
          I'm in love with that concept and world you've painted just there. How far along the story process are you?

          I'm in love with that concept and world you've painted just there. How far along the story process are you?

          3 votes
          1. CALICO
            Link Parent
            Most of my world-building is done, and I'm working on outlining right now. Every now and again I'll bump into something and realize that I hadn't put enough thought into, so I walk away from the...

            Most of my world-building is done, and I'm working on outlining right now. Every now and again I'll bump into something and realize that I hadn't put enough thought into, so I walk away from the outline to develop the world a little more.
            Outlining itself is difficult. I much prefer to free-write, and throughout school and university I despised outlines and rough drafts; my first draft was always essentially identical to my final draft. However, I also recognize the structure in a story that makes it work. I figure it'd behoove me to draft out the skeleton—the beats and arc—and fine tune those until they work. From there I'll be able to just go at it as I have the time to go at it.
            I'd like to have the initial draft done before the New Year, but that's highly dependent on my schedule. We'll see.

            3 votes
  2. Bradypus
    Link
    Reminds me of this Reddit AMA of a guy who took his amputated foot home and made tacos out of it.

    Reminds me of this Reddit AMA of a guy who took his amputated foot home and made tacos out of it.

    4 votes
  3. [3]
    patience_limited
    Link
    Umm... This is relevant to my interests? I'll see what the Ortho doc says about keeping my leftovers; human bone has a long history as an art medium. It would greatly amuse me to craft a piece of...

    Umm... This is relevant to my interests? I'll see what the Ortho doc says about keeping my leftovers; human bone has a long history as an art medium. It would greatly amuse me to craft a piece of jewelry or other useful object from my own trochanter, though I'd really like a bionic leg as well.

    3 votes
    1. [2]
      CALICO
      Link Parent
      If I found myself in your position I think I'd be too afraid to do very much with the spare parts. You only get the one chance to do it right 😬

      If I found myself in your position I think I'd be too afraid to do very much with the spare parts. You only get the one chance to do it right 😬

      1. patience_limited
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Lemons, lemonade. 🤷 The human femoral head has some very cool internal structure. With with a little resin, I could turn it into something like fossilized dinosaur bone. The real disappointment is...

        Lemons, lemonade. 🤷 The human femoral head has some very cool internal structure. With
        with a little resin, I could turn it into something like fossilized dinosaur bone.

        The real disappointment is that there's research going on now for cartilage regeneration; chances are if the surgery could wait 10 years, this wouldn't be necessary at all.

        [There's a bit of science fiction speculation for you - a faction which does strictly biological body modification, with even more radical results than the amputations, prosthetics, and implants crowd...]

        1 vote
  4. [2]
    Comment deleted by author
    Link
    1. Sunward
      Link Parent
      The leg that "looks like the bogwater remains of a diabetic Mr. Goodyear" is, per the photo caption, actually a specimen in the National Museum of Health and Medicine, not the article subject's...

      The leg that "looks like the bogwater remains of a diabetic Mr. Goodyear" is, per the photo caption, actually a specimen in the National Museum of Health and Medicine, not the article subject's own amputated leg, which (again, if you read the article) she sent to Skulls Unlimited in order to get it stripped, cleaned, and articulated like a skeleton in anatomy class so she can take pictures with it on Instagram.

      5 votes