the story around the 21grams/one inch totem design

wandering neone
Sep 8, 2016 · 4 min read

why 21 grams?

I first came into contact with the concept of 21 grams trough Alejandro González Iñárritu his work: the movie 21 grams.

Turns out some doctor named Duncan MacDougall had an experiment trying to weigh one’s soul. His conclusions was that it was around 21 grams.

Ever since that movie came out the questions it represents I just can’t shake them lose and keep remembering them;

“ How many lives do we live? How many times do we die? They say we all lose 21 grams… at the exact moment of our death. Everyone. And how much fits into 21 grams? How much is lost? When do we lose 21 grams? How much goes with them? How much is gained? How much is gained? Twenty-one grams. The weight of a stack of five nickels. The weight of a hummingbird. A chocolate bar. How much did 21 grams weigh?”

it’s a reminder to keep on trying to do some good really, to bring some soul play into action into a growing materialistic world that only goes for the buck.

why this one inch in size?

This is mentioned in 2 movies, one, the most obvious one is from “any given sunday” to remind me to keep striving for that inch forward,

The other one is from V from Vendetta where the inch is explained in the short story “Valerie’s letter”:

I know there’s no way I can convince you this is not one of their tricks, but I don’t care, I am me. My name is Valerie, I don’t think I’ll live much longer and I wanted to tell someone about my life. This is the only autobiography I’ll ever write, and god, I’m writing it on toilet paper. I was born in Nottingham in 1985, I don’t remember much of those early years, but I do remember the rain. My grandmother owned a farm in Tuttlebrook, and she use to tell me that god was in the rain. I passed my 11th lesson into girl’s grammar; it was at school that I met my first girlfriend, her name was Sara. It was her wrists. They were beautiful. I thought we would love each other forever. I remember our teacher telling us that is was an adolescent phase people outgrew. Sara did, I didn’t. In 2002, I fell in love with a girl named Christina. That year I came out to my parents. I couldn’t have done it without Chris holding my hand. My father wouldn’t look at me, he told me to go and never come back. My mother said nothing. But I had only told them the truth, was that so selfish? Our integrity sells for so little, but it is all we really have. It is the very last inch of us, but within that inch, we are free. I’d always known what I wanted to do with my life, and in 2015 I starred in my first film, “The Salt Flats”. It was the most important role of my life, not because of my career, but because that was how I met Ruth. The first time we kissed, I knew I never wanted to kiss any other lips but hers again. We moved to a small flat in London together. She grew Scarlet Carsons for me in our window box, and our place always smelled of roses. Those were there best years of my life. But America’s war grew worse, and worse. And eventually came to London. After that there were no roses anymore. Not for anyone. I remember how the meaning of words began to change. How unfamiliar words like “collateral” and “rendition” became frightening. While things like Norse Fire and The Articles of Allegiance became powerful, I remember how different became dangerous. I still don’t understand it, why they hate us so much. They took Ruth while she was out buying food. I’ve never cried so hard in my life. It wasn’t long till they came for me. It seems strange that my life should end in such a terrible place, but for three years, I had roses, and apologized to no one. I shall die here. Every inch of me shall perish. Every inch, but one. An Inch, it is small and it is fragile, but it is the only thing the world worth having. We must never lose it or give it away. We must never let them take it from us. I hope that whoever you are, you escape this place. I hope that the world turns and that things get better. But what I hope most of all is that you understand what I mean when I tell you that even though I do not know you, and even though I may never meet you, laugh with you, cry with you, or kiss you. I love you. With all my heart, I love you. -Valerie

This reminds me, again, of rough times and how to preserve that very inch that makes you.

next to that I see the world become more and more being polarized, more mean, materialistic, more and more colder with less tolerance, racist, homophobic, indifferent, egocentric, conformist, more and more going for the easy way without meaning, …

This while we should be heading towards more cohesion, tolerance and solidarity to try and face the mother of all challenges we are about to face: climate change.

I try to mash all of these things into this little object really. My very little antidote that I just need to squeeze to remind me of these things, and plenty more …

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