The story behind my being invited to present my research at my home University contains more synchronicity than one might initially assume.
If we skip ahead, whirring through the tale, the resultant artefacts are almost baroque in their obscurity: picture a circle of venerable elder University professors and local spiritualists sipping on mulled wine and wearing velvets whilst they recount the changing iterations of various departments over the years- picture an open invite to a Near Death Experience discussion serendipitously stumbled upon in the digital footnotes of a University announcement intranet- and picture the revelation that the group organiser’s recent PhD thesis coincidently happening to a critical examination of the very same topic* about which I am seeking candour. (Despite her having explored different topics most her academic career.)
*Yes- this topic is organ transplantation.
Transplantation was only briefly touched upon during that discussion of NDEs —when I was asked for my perspective on death and mind/body— it was by no means the focus or even a usual topic in the TD421C group (despite the coincidence of its membership containing a transplant recipient- someone separate to the organiser- as well as a donor family member).
Most of the December discussion was an analysis of their previous speaker who had recently published a piece on NDEs. It was a wonderful ‘way into’ exploring the big ideas, in a setting that successfully involved the whole group, individuals each adding their wisdom and offering alternative voices, blending the intellectual and the personal.
Think anecdotes about halluncinary-type meditative states, recountings of differing kinds of medical trauma and what it does to the spirit, and unravelling 21st Century assumptions via epistemological philosophy.
It was mentioned as I was saying my goodbyes to the organiser S.R. that when I had progressed onto my PhD she would be interested in having me as a speaker (PhD widely being the benchmark for these things)…
I left looking forward to tracking down and reading S.R.’s contribution to the transplant conversation. And tentatively hopeful that I might have found another potential ocasional mentor- supervisor- colleague in my journey of allowing my passion project of critically engaging with transplantation to blossom.
And so, I was pleasantly surprised when I received an email on 1st January, inviting me to present my in progress Masters research for Spring of this year. With the changing of the law surrounding organ donation here in the UK this Spring, the time is ripe for a conceptual reconsideration of transplantation!