In case you’ve ever wondered, the human soul weighs 3/4 of an ounce, or 21 grams. So determined one Duncan MacDougall, a Massachusetts doctor, back in 1907. He came to this astounding conclusion by weighing people on the verge of death, and then just after. In one of the six cases, a patient weighed 21 grams less, right after expiring. MacDougall decided this difference was due the weight of the soul. The body was now lighter by 21 grams of destiny — so to speak.
If the soul is real, it should weigh something (?)
The idea and the research received more attention than we might think. There were many parties, including the religious, to whom the idea of the soul having a literal physical vehicle, and measurable weight, was … well, a pleasing idea. Wikipedia has a pretty good account of the whole debacle — which was rejected by mainstream science for many reasons. Not enough cases, insufficient controls, lack of data on other factors that could cause marginal loss of weight pre- and post-mortem.
Mind and matter
The 21 grams of destiny is relevant again for other reasons. Now that science is looking at the brain as the locus of the process that generates consciousness, we easily accept the idea that thoughts are in some way physical entities. The molecular and neural processes of perception, awareness and thinking, tend to support this view. Mind, many believe, is the action of chemical and material constituents. Therefore — goes this line of reasoning — it is natural to think spiritual, emotional or mental entities have a physical “correspondent.” Therefore, properties have physical, measurable aspects.
Actually, the idea lives on. Recently, N.I.L.E. put out an album with a Duncan MacDougall theme and track. Listen to this, get it, even…
… The genitive god Ptah accumulated the power and intent for the mouth to be opened — ritually.
The god enabled truth speaking. This opened the way. The Egyptian cosmic anatomy is truth of character. Temples reflect it. Backbone created chess. Molecular chess.