Of Hearts and Minds

Of Hearts and Minds

2013, Science  -   7 Comments
Ratings: 7.52/10 from 58 users.

David Malone is a science documentary filmmaker and he came to Papworth Hospital in Cambridgeshire. He's there at the invitation of Consultant Surgeon Mr. Francis Wells who is going to allow him to watch him perform open heart surgery. He's always wanted to see the beating human heart, that thing within us that keeps us alive. The heart is unlike any other organ in the human body. It has its own rich language and poetry. Throughout history, it has been a potent symbol in our religion, literature, and philosophy.

It has been seen as the site of our emotions, the very center of our being. But modern medicine has come to see the heart as just a pump, a brilliant pump, but nothing more. And we view ourselves, as ruled by our heads and not our hearts. And yet, there's something about the heart that makes David wonder whether there is more to it than this. So he wants to explore the story of the heart.

Open heart surgery is one of the great triumphs of modern medicine. To perform such operations, surgeons can't help but view the heart as a machine; something that can be fixed when it goes wrong. But for Mr. Francis Wells, one of Britain's leading Heart Specialists, this is a machine that can still inspire wonder. For Mr. Wells, the heart's extraordinary biology, gives it a beauty all of its own. He sees no need to romanticize the role of the heart beyond its vital function as a pump.

He reminds us that 99.99% of the poets in the past have never seen the human heart before. We all like this emotional interplay but the heart is a bunch of muscles with some nerves that stimulate it. It has some chemical receptors which allow it to respond to chemical and neurological stimuli. Whilst we all want to think of it as being this incredible fanciful structure, we all do, but in reality it's a pump. That's what it does.

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5 years ago

In your commentary, you missed the whole point. The Heart is Not just a pump! It has over 10,000 neurons with neural networks. It has it’s own “little brain”! It sends more messages to the brain, than the brain sends to the heart.
The brain and the rest of the body cannot even develop in the embryo without the heart’s initiative. It’s an Empirical fact now. The Heart is our intuitive brain. Check out heartmath.org

Umesh Desai
9 years ago

beautiful documentary,,,
what must be happening in death? who plays which part,brain or heart?

9 years ago

Wahey, holidaying in Scarborough! Great documentary!

9 years ago

This doc left my heart beating faster. Wasn't expecting that reaction when I decided to give it a whirl.
There was art, history, and physiology, and the latest medical science techniques..
The doc ends with a deeply moving confession by Dave Malone
Not your typical science lesson on how the heart works!.

9 years ago

I like this documentary. I like it a lot.