What if “Shedding” were possible?

No, I’m not referring to pets shedding their fur or snakes discarding their old skin. Shedding is science fiction theory from the 2015 movie Self/Less staring Ben Kingsley and Ryan Reynolds that espouses the theory of consciousness transfer between bodies. If the mind or consciousness of a person is worth saving, then it can be transferred over to a new, healthy body.

To make a long story short, Damian Hale (Ben Kingsley), is a brilliant architect dying of cancer and in order to prolong his life, his consciousness is transferred to the body of Mark Bitwell (Ryan Reynolds). As a movie, the plot is shallow, the cinematography on the desperate side, and I agree with the critics that the character development is almost non-existent. But as I watched the movie the other night, I couldn’t help but wonder what if it could actually be possible. Shedding is as far out there as cryonics, looking great on paper but running into all sorts of ethical and biological issues along the way.

Man is attempting to play God and tempting fate by meddling with the source of life, for what? The bizarre thing about this is that research shows that both consciousness transfer, mind uploading (or mind transfer), and cryonics are already in the experimental stages, which means much of the present science fiction could someday become a reality.

Scary? Absolutely.

Would it ease the pain of grieving and separation? Maybe.

Will it improve the quality of life? I have no clue, and neither did the creators of the science fiction.

Having been surrounded by death in a very intense manner these last two months, it is but unavoidable for me to wonder what could have been the results if shedding had been an option for Daddy. The entire year and half of of his suffering would have been avoided and he could have lived on. If I could have given Mommy the option of shedding and eradicating her pain, she would not have suffered the agony of illness and the humiliation of dependency that she so wanted to avoid. And I could have had another day to hold their hands.

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