Motivation and Reasoning of Body Donors

People want to be plastinated after their death for a number of reasons. The predominant desire is to serve medical research and education. The following is a small selection of quotations about becoming a body donor for Plastination:

“Once my soul leaves my physical body, it is just a physical configuration of atoms, no different than a canvas or painting, and no longer housing my soul. As a scientist, I understand the importance of discovery, investigation and understanding. As an artist, too, I also understand creativity, ingenuity and vision. Plastination combines all of this to create works of art that also act as tools to be used to teach people about our physical bodies. It also, philosophically, helps to demonstrate the huge divide between materialism and mentalism. It shows the body as just that, it’s bare material, raw constituents with only the soul that the artist has newly given to it, not the one that was originally given to it upon its creation.”

“Medical science has given me a second life, and I want to give back some of that. I detest the idea of rotting away uselessly in the ground. No matter whether as a whole-body plastinate or as individual pieces, once plastinated, I will still serve a purpose, namely medical research and training. At the same time, I will be given my third life, eternal life in my eyes. I will become part of medical history, if a tiny one, and that makes me proud. Serving a higher purpose, without benefit to myself, even after death, will be fulfillment of my life.”

“While visiting the exhibition I found myself for a while in a timeless space. As if everything stood still. All mental reservations vanished and one studied oneself. I wish for others that they may experience this feeling as well.”

“My mother died a few months ago. When she was still alive, she decided to be plastinated. When the time had come, we, her loved ones, were glad that we were able to surrender her body to an aesthetically pleasing and useful use, rather than lowering it into a hole in the ground. The administrative dealings with the institute were not complicated. We don’t miss having a graveside, for there are many more suitable places than a graveyard, where we feel connected to her in our memories, and those places have no closing times and are not violated. For me it is clear: This is what I want for myself too.”

“I lived a very careless lifestyle, smoking cigarettes and other chemicals, drinking heavily (which I now abstain from) and IV drug use. The last, I believe, if I’m not mistaken, makes me ineligible for transplantation. On future licenses I am not going to elect to be an organ donor. I thought that they may use parts in science labs and/or medical schools for research, but chop me up and split me apart so that my body could be used as a map for the “”don’t-do-drugs”” campaign. If my donation helps just one person to not smoke or use drugs, then my donation won’t be made in vain.”

“Thank you for the work you do. I have had many humbling experiences in my 36+ years of life, involving near death experiences. Enjoying the BODY WORLDS exhibit for the first time, I realized the awesomeness of God’s work of art, my body. It made me realize all of the quick fixes I have used on symptoms have been telling my body that it is not as amazing as it is. I have been inspired to maximize its potential.”

“Mindfulness is about caring for others. What better way to care for others than allow others for better understanding human life. Through the exploration of my body, it is my wish that other people will gain understanding of how precious each breath on this planet is.”

“I am a funeral director/embalmer, I see funerals every day. I still think funerals are special and a matter of rite. But, I think my body is better off for education and fascination than cremation or 6 feet under. Move me, form me, shape me. I love the science and artistry of Plastination.”

“What better is there to do after death?”

“I believe this is a great way form to give back to the world in an unselfish way. I’m a humanitarian at heart and this can be my last gift to the world.”

“Visiting BODY WORLDS moved me so powerfully spiritually that I decided to help provide others with the same experience I got by being drawn closer to God through a fuller worldview.”

“The incredible genius in developing this method to preserve, educate, and give brought tears to my eyes, relaxation and calm to my mind, and rekindled my appreciation for life, people, and physicians. During my visit, each individual I bumped into, due to the crowded nature of the exhibit, said ‘Excuse me.’ Rarely do we experience such sensitivity, compassion, and self-awareness anymore. To encourage this in others is the most beautiful contribution I can imagine—it is an honor to ask to participate. Thank you so much.”

“Two years ago I saw your exhibition and I still get goosebumps thinking about it! Never before had the universe of human creation presented itself to me in a more realistic manner!”

“I truly believe Plastination is a gift to the world. Until now, only doctors and surgeons have been able to see the human body in all its complexity. Everybody knows that the body is a complex machine. But you can never appreciate how deeply complex it is, until you’ve seen it in the way Plastination makes possible. The average lay person can see pictures and diagrams of the body, and think they know how complex it is. But until you’ve seen a BODY WORLDS exhibit, you’ve never truly seen it.”

“It is not death that a man should fear but he should fear never beginning to live”—Marcus Aurelius. Having tried to live my life fully and quite thoroughly enjoying it, I wish to freely share my body in the spirit of education as well as freeing our society from ancient taboos surrounding death. Perhaps encouraging to accept death as a part of life’s journey.”

“In an age of artificial and industrial environments, modern humans become divorced from the natural world. The human body, our most immediate experience of the natural world, becomes merely another mechanism. Superstitions and dogma further encourage us in the ill-founded belief that our bodies are evil or sinful. Von Hagens and his Plastination methods offer us a healthy and scientific alternative. They encourage us to celebrate the wonder of the human body. They simultaneously revere and demystify the human organism.”

“I’m a believer and convinced of a life after death. For me, death, so to speak, is only a physical/material event. That which determines our life happens in an energetic dimension that we may refer to as the spirit or soul, and it is immortal. As we know, energy cannot be destroyed but merely transformed, and this is true as well for our living energy. After long consideration I feel good about serving future generations with my body (‘hardware’) being preserved for a good cause.”

“I view the BODY WORLDS exhibitions as works of art much more than an anatomical learning exhibit. I found that there is an astonishing amount of beauty and inspiration within the exhibits. I attended BODY WORLDS hoping to find this sort of inspiration and was not disappointed. The idea of using my body as a form of enduring art is extremely powerful to me. I find burials to be a waste. I think that using a body, even after death, is efficient and important. If I had a choice as to how my plastinated body were used, it would be as a work of art in one of the exhibits, not because I want people to see my specific body, but because I want them to find the same inspiration I did.”