The other day I was watching tv and was intrigued by what was on TLC. It was a documentary on so-called “real-life Benjamin Buttons”, people that don’t age. There’s a little girl named Gabby Williams who for some reason has not progressed beyond the physical maturity of an infant, despite her 6 years of life. She is mute and blind, and doctors have no idea what is wrong with her. Another case involves a 19 year old named Brooke, who suffers from a similar problem. At 16 years old, Brooke had the bone density profile of a ten year old. They described her development as though all of the parts of her body were growing out of sync, as independent units, at independent rates. “There’ve been very minimal changes in Brooke’s brain, various parts of her body, rather than all being at the same stage, seem to be disconnected.” This is happening in Gabby too; different parts of her body are developing, whereas others are not. I thought that this was very relevant to our ongoing discussion of the mind-body connect (or disconnect) and the self. Since all their body parts are growing at different rates and aren’t very cohesive in terms of age, does this lend support for the mind-body disconnect; can we separate the self from the physical body? It’s especially interesting in the case of Gabby, who does not have the benefit of language. Gabby actually may never be able to communicate in the way that most people do, being blind, mute and having her body develop so slowly could compromise her ability to learn any type of language. Just think, in 6 years, her physical ability has not progressed beyond that of an infant, could she ever develop the fine tuned motor skills necessary for sign language? Even then, she is blind, so she would need to develop mentally enough to understand speech.