Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Where Do They Go?

Last night I watched a wonderful movie about the life of Temple Grandin, starring Claire Danes. Temple Grandin was a high functioning autistic women who went through university and received a Doctorate in Animal Science. She is a visual thinker -- she thinks in pictures -- and is able to recall every detail of anything she sees. She can play it backwards and forwards like a movie, and she says that the spoken word is her second language.

Temple Grandin has an innate affinity for animals, she is able to feel the animals' emotions, and she can identify with the anxiety animals feel when they are being led to slaughter. Because of this, she has designed humane livestock handling processes and has given advice on how to improve standards in slaughter plants and lifestock farms. She has also received awards from PETA.

I think using animals for food is an ethical thing to do, but we've got to do it right. We've got to give those animals a decent life and we've got to give them a painless death. We owe the animal respect. ... Temple Grandin

Last night in the movie she asked a question that resonated with me. When one of her favorite horses, "Chestnut", died and later when her favorite college teacher died she asked, "Where do they go?" It was a compelling question, asked simply. Human beings have pondered that question for millennia. Indeed, where do they go? Every religion and every philosophy has a theory. I have not been able to reach a conclusion to that question myself. I would be interested to know what you think. "Where do they go?"

44 comments:

Alissa said...

Wasn't this a great movie? I enjoyed it as well. As for that question, well, I really wish I had an answer, but I do not.

scarlethue said...

My husband was able to catch this movie, but I skipped it because I just didn't think I'd be able to handle the slaughter scenes. I do appreciate what she did for the animals and wish more people had her attitude, though.

As for where we go? Who knows!

SparkleFarkle said...

I think we go to right where we need to be at that given point in what ever time turns out to be. And the Plane continues to evolve, meeting the"dweller(s)" needs (<-- for a lack of a better word). My first stop: I will find comfort in living in a van Gogh painting, all paint-frosting-y, tasting every color imaginable!

(P.S. The Temple Grandin movie sounds incredible! Is it in theaters, or was it on televison? Thanks!)

Brenda's Arizona said...

This incredible movie frightened me at the same time it impressed me.

I don't where they go, but I do know where they stay - forever in my heart.

Wenderina said...

I loved this movie. Having a cousin with autism I totally related to this woman's struggle. And the "Where Do They Go" was such a great moment. To me it demonstrated the extraordinary perception many people with autism have. They see so many things we do not and it reminded me of the stories about how at the moment of death the body suddenly weighs a small amount less (I think 7 grams?) and how people equate that to the weight of the soul or essence of life. The fact that Temple Grandin actually perceived that loss of soul or essence when she looked at a dead horse or person gives me further evidence that the body is just a shell for some other form of life energy that departs when the shell dies. Fascinating life story.

Jo said...

Alissa, I love the way she asked the question. It was so pure and honest. Wasn't it a great movie?

Scarlethue, I was a bit concerned about the slaughter scenes too, but fortunately there was only one slightly uncomfortable scene. It was a wonderful movie.

Sparkle, you have just about the best explanation yet for where we go. A Van Gogh painting. I like it! The movie was HBO, so you may be able to rent it if youdon't get HBO.

Brenda, yes! That's what Temple said too. She keeps them in her mind and her heart, and she can see them forever.

Wenderina, wasn't that scene amazing? She looked at the horse and recognized it was not there anymore. "Where did it go?" It's so true the essence -- or spirit -- of an individual has substance, and it leaves the body. I think autistic people are able to perceive things that other folks are not.

Laurie said...

Like scarlethue, I did not watch the movie, however, I am familiar with Temple Grandin's work and have much respect for her. My stepdaughter works with children with autism, and I have learned so much from her.

"Where do they go?" is a wonderful question...I know from some of our dog's behaviors that some part of the spirit of the two cats he lived with still exists in our home. And I have no doubt that, when his spirit leaves his body, it will always stay close by.

Kimberly said...

I believe they go wherever you want them to go. Onto another life, into a deep sleep waiting the return of their Maker or just into a cold tomb.

Elise said...

I haven't see it but now I think I should....

Alicia said...

I really liked Brenda's Arizona response. We don't know where they go, but we know where they stay...in our hearts forever.

Katy said...

I didn't see the movie, but I listened to an interview with her on NPR about a month ago. She had a really interesting story and she told it so wonderfully. So matter of factly and without any ego present.

I'm not sure there is an answer to the question. The more I explore the whole idea of soul and what that means the more I'm not sure that the answer really matters. As Temple said, the creaters we love are in our hearts and minds forever.

Pauline said...

I've always thought C.S. Lewis had the right idea in his Chronicle of Narnia series. At the end of the very last book, when Narnia is being destroyed, one of the main characters finds herself in a new land that reminds her of her beloved land and yet, as she says, it is more like Narnia than Narnia.

I think this may just be a shadowland; when we leave here perhaps we go to the true earth.

DJan said...

I have known about Temple Grandin for many years, and she changed the way many slaughterhouses are designed. I'll see if I can get that movie on Netflix, since I haven't watched it. As to "where do they go" I am hoping that wherever it is I get to visit them sometime.

Owen said...

Sounds fascinating, hope it can be found in France, I'll keep an eye out for it... as for where they go, I guess the jury is still out on that one, and I'm not much for speculating about the great unknown...

Cedar said...

I use to think when people died they went to heaven, now I think it is Pittsburg.

Jennifer D said...

Jo I have watched that movie three times since HBO started playing it. I adore Claire Danes performance. I wish I knew Where they go. I hope heaven. ;-)

Dudette said...

I need to watch that movie!

As for where do they go? I can't even figure out where I am now. I will tackle that one later.

Rebecca said...

Dear Jo...

I watched the movie about a week ago and thought it was wonderful. I didn't even know it was Claire Danes until the end when I saw the credits.

The doggies I have loved over the years left the shell of their bodies and snuggled down into the safety of my heart. They will live there forever.

xoRebecca

Deedee said...

Since my son also has a form of high functioning autism, I've known of Temple Grandin for years. My son also seems to think in pictures and has a startling ability to remember detail - we used to think he had a "photographic memory" when he was little.
I think we cast off our bodies like a butterfly casts off its chrysalis, and our spirits live on in another dimension, commonly thought of as Heaven or Nirvana. We will never really know until it is our turn to go...

heartinsanfrancisco said...

The movie and Temple Grandin both sound wonderful. There are stockyards in central California which I have often gone miles and hours out of my way to avoid passing because the abject misery of the animals is tangible.

I think we are thought forms which transmute into new bodies. The way we live each life determines the kind of rebirth we experience.

Donnetta Lee said...

They go back into the universe. D

SparkleFarkle said...

Hey, Jo! Is the evening being good to you? Hope so! Just stopping back to read a little more about others Heaven/The Great Beyond and to check in with you about the Temple Grandin movie. Unfortunately, I don't subscribe to HBO. So, hopefully, it will be rentable sooner than soon. Thanks!

tinkerbell the bipolar faerie said...

I wondered this very same thing, when, as a nurse, I watched someone die right before my eyes. One minute, she was there, inside her body. The next minute, she was not. I like the analogy JK Rowlings uses in one of the HP books ~ they travel beyond the veil ... where we cannot go. Another way to look at it is to think of the law of nature that says energy is neither created nore destroyed, merely transformed.

I did not see the movie. Re: the weight of a soul ~ the number is 21 ... its 21 grams. (And btw, I highly recommend the movie of the same title).

Didja watch the game? Wasn't "Bobby Lu" great?

Cloudia said...

They live in us...and we in heaven with them...

Aloha, Friend!


Comfort Spiral

Firefly said...

Lets not open a can of worms now. LOL. Perhaps the afterlife is one in the same place and its just that different religions think of it differently.

marit said...

I'm with Pauline!
Though I read a book once, Deadline by Randy Alcorn, that gave a wonderful depiction of "heaven", as an active place of spiritual growth. I like that thought!

Susan said...

I'll have to watch this, It sounds like a good one.
I believe that God, the supreme Being, The Creator, The holy Spirit....Name it how you will, but I believe "god" is actually the life energy that flows through all living things and that energy is what connects us. When we die, I believe this energy transfers from our earthly body, back into the world, maybe to be utilized by some other creature or plant. Imagine? you could have been a giant redwood in another life!

PinkPanthress said...

Wherever it is we 'go', I hope it isn't as bad as a place as we live in! :(

the walking man said...

Where do WE go when we die? No mystery once one forgoes the fear of walking through that door, The door that regardless of how much it is resisted everyone walks through.

Sleep, restful, sleep until time ends as a quantifiable factor.

Brenda said...

It is a mystery, that none of us can know until it happens. I like reading about near death experincences and everyone's personal beliefs about where our souls go, but really...it is just our own personal belief. Since we are all still alive...who knows really.
I think I would enjoy this movie and will look out for it. I don't get HBO though. Great post Jo!

Jo said...

Laurie, my mother could see her dog Maggie's spirit long after she had gone. I believe they stay with us too!

Kimberly, well, I guess part of them goes into a cold tomb, but perhaps the energy lives on somehow. Interesting thought.

Elise, it's a wonderful movie!

Alicia, oh yes. That is what Temple said too.

Katy, yes. Temple did not want to say goodbye, because she said they were still alive in her heart and her mind.

Jo said...

Pauline, I had never thought of that. Wouldn't that be wonderful if that were true? Goodness!

Djan, if you get a chance to watch the movie, please do. It was wonderful!

Owen, as my Dad said, we will just have to wait and see. :-)

Ris, Pittsburg??? No!!! Well, I have never been there. :-)

Jennifer, I would watch the movie three times if I could too. :-)

Dudette, *LOL* Love it!

Rebecca, it's true, isn't it? Love never dies.

Deedee, my goodness your son has autism? You know, Temple Grandin said if she could wave a magic wand and make her autism go away, she wouldn't do it. Interesting!

Hearts, yes, I think our karma dictates what happens to our energy afterwards. Good vibes in, good vibes out... :-)

Donnetta, that's what Einstein said too. We become part of the matter from which we started.

Jo said...

Sparkle, if you get a chance to watch the movie, I know you will love it!

Tinkerbell, yes, Bobby Lu was fabulous! Tonight, the Russians!

And yes, when someone dies, they are no longer there, and you can definitely tell.

Cloudia, yes, we are inextricably connected to those we love.

Firefly, or perhaps we do just get recycled into ... worms. Egads!

Marit, I am going to have to check that book out!

Susan, that is exactly what Einstein said, that our energy goes into some other living thing.

PinkPanthress, oh gosh! It's not so bad is it?

Mark, I do like the idea of sleep, restful sleep...

Brenda, yes, near death experiences are amazing phenomenon, aren't they???

lovelyprism said...

I've been wondering about that myself lately.

Jo said...

Charlene, yes, I would imagine you have, sadly...

Bruce Coltin said...

I thought Claire Danes' performance was nothing short of magnificent. It's been a while since I've seen an actor own a role the way she did this one.

Shaista (Lupus in Flight) said...

I think, perhaps, we aren't meant to know where they went :) We can only hope we meet some of them on the next leg of the journey.. I hope they are safe and laughing.
I love all the comments people have written in answer to the question.. and am going to go check out Temple Grandin now xx

Jo said...

Barry, she became Temple Grandin, didn't she? I was mesmerized by her performance.

Shaista, yes, I think you may be right. Where they go is meant to remain a myster. I hope you get a chance to see the movie. It's wonderful...!

Meggie said...

I ponder that question all the time- seems I have done all my life.

Deedee said...

Jo - Yes, my son has Asperger's Syndrome which is a high-functioning form of Autism. Temple Grandin has done much to show the special gifts and attributes of those who have long beenthought of as deficient-what they lack in social skills, they make up for in intelligence and artistic gifts.

PinkPanthress said...

Well, I live life more like a Sumerian... full of Pessimism. :)

Wolynski said...

Where do they go? There is nothing, we live, and there is nothing again - we go back to where we came from and I find that comforting.

Haven't seen the movie yet, but am looking forward.

"Niceguy" Eddie said...

I'm a HUGE admirer of Grandin's (2 autistic sons, so she's truly one of my heroes) and I can't wait until that movie is out on DVD, since we don't have HBO.

As for where they go? The way I see it, no one answer is likely any better than any other. So whatever answer feels the most right to YOU, probably IS.

Personally, I believe that people create their own afterlives (assuming thier IS one) and there cannot be just 1 heaven or 1 hell for everyone. (I mean... if I got to "heaven" and found Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson there, I'd know I wasn't in Heaven!) Thus my "heaven" would ve very different from the one they describe. And if they were with me, in what I considered heaven? Yeah, they'd pretty much call it Hell. LOL

Haddock said...

That is an eternal question that will never be answered I suppose.
Where do we go?