If your loved one was disembodied, could you still love him/her?

I am fascinated by the idea of the link between human consciousness and the human body, and what I percieve to be the potential malleability of this link. As our technology gets more and more sophisticated, the idea of a brain transplant seems ever more plausible. This introduces all kinds of issues regarding the connection that we make between someone’s body and their mind, and the idea that someone can occupy another body but be the same person.

I can’t stress enough how much this issue intrigues me. I think about it all the time. I dream about it. I’ve had dreams where people’s heads have been replaced by mechanical brain casings, and where a man was mutated into a torso and leg (and nothing else) but somehow but remained conscious and fully the same person as he was before. In both cases these people are still people, still human, and still conscious, but their physical forms are so drastically altered that to others they would be percieved as completely different and moreover as not human. Right now I’m writing a story in which a military officer in the future is punished by his superiors by having his brain removed and installed into a robotic walking vending machine. He is doomed to walk up and down the street, having people push buttons on him and dispense drinks and snacks, and be fully conscious but completely unable to express himself or to let anyone know that there is a brain inside the machine.

Or, more importantly, that there is a man inside the machine.

If technology progressed to the point where someone’s brain could be removed and their entire consciousness transplanted into a completely different person or even an inanimate object, and this happened to someone that you loved, could you still love them? If it happened to your girlfriend, boyfriend, husband or wife, could you continue having a relationship with them?

Say someone’s brain could be transplanted, via a biomechanical procedure, into a two-foot-long, two-foot-wide metal box with wheels and a computer screen. Let’s say this happens to your significant other, for whatever reason. The box can move around (in a limited way,) and whatever it was thinking would be displayed in text on the computer screen. It could see and hear, and perhaps also speak via some kind of speaker system. You are to take care of the box (more accurately, your loved one, who has been transplanted into the box.) Could you continue to love this person, and to not be unfaithful? Your loved one’s consciousness is still there, one hundred percent - it just no longer has any kind of physical body. You can still talk to it, and it can still talk to you, but the body is gone.

Would this situation drive you insane? Would it drive you to commit suicide? Would you destroy the mechanical box and kill the brain to free the person inside from being trapped, if he/she requested that you do so?

Reminds me of that movie,“The Man With Two Brains”. Steve Martin was in love with just a brain.

Actually, I was just thinking about this yesterday. Me ‘n’ Mr. K were sitting under a tree at Micky D’s. Mr. K. has long hair and always wears camo (I know…the camo is a drag…it’s an ex-marine thing…I’ll never get it). But these two old guys walked up and struck up a conversation about Mr. K having been in Vietnam and one of the old guys was there too. I asked him when he was there, and he said 1970, which is four years after Mr. K came home. These guys were wearing Ban-Lon slacks and had business man haircuts and white shoes and I thought to myself, *they look like they could be my father-in-law or grandfather or something. * I wouldn’t have given my husband a second look if he looked like that. They were prematurely geez’d out.

Sure I could…if they were family.

I’ve had a serious long distance relationship for around eight years. Now we can see each other fairly often, but for a long time the internet was our only method of communication. I would say yes, I can definitely love a disembodied person, and even fall in love with one.

Sure. I married my Hubby because of his brain. As long as that’s still working, and we can still watch Deadwood together, all will be well.

It might even have an upside-- he won’t be leaving towels on the bathroom floor anymore.


I told her I’d leave her if she put on ten pounds.

I hate when that happens. You’re just walking down the street and start daydreaming and the next thing you’re wondering where your body went. Sometimes it starts walking in traffic, but it’s worse when another consciousness takes it over and you have to fill out all that paperwork to get it back. And if the other consciousness is evil, then you need to pay restitution and your bodyowner’s insurance company is always a pain in the ass when it comes time to cut a check.

Once I even had to borrow another body and spent two weeks as the husband of a woman I barely knew. Aside from the improvement, she never noticed the difference, though.

I don’t think I could. I need eyes to look into, a warm body to hug, a voice to hear and a scent to smell. A computer love just wouldn’t work for me.

Man, I thought it said “disembowled.”


So messy. Definitely would be a deal-breaker.

I’d stay with them, but secretly I’d be hoping that they’d do the right thing and ask me to shut off the machine. Which I would gladly do.

Ditto. There’s a physical, visual, tactile element to it, without which I would be left a little cold.

I could. No problem whatsoever.

I don’t know about a screen on a box, but if you can get his conciousness into a fully functional bi-pedal robot, I would be all over it.

Failing that, can I have him transplanted into a Sybian? What?

Yes. As much as I am crazy about my boyfriend’s body - his eyes, his smell, his touch - I am so completely in love with HIM, his “being,” his spirit, whatever you want to call it, that I would love him no matter what. I have always imagined that if something happened to him where he was in an accident and was horribly injured, disfigured, whatever… I would stay with him and take care of him for the rest of my life and always love him as much as I do now.