And These Two are One: Two Little Craniopagus Girls—or One? Will They Grow Up with Insights on the Nature of the Trinity?

Macleans/Ca. has a feature on conjoined twins who are craniopagus (joined at the head), and the twins appear to be sharing brain functions central to the self: 

There is evidence that they can see through each other’s eyes and perhaps share each other’s unspoken thoughts. And if that proves true, it will be the rarest thing of all. They will be unique in the world.

As a result, the mother finds discipline complex:

“It’s just come down to . . . you can’t discipline one without disciplining the other. It’s just impossible.”

Those of us not craniopagus may prove to be like the blind to the sighted in relation to these twins; just as the blind can never know what the experience of green is like, we will never know the qualia of what it is exactly to experience another’s thoughts directly and to see through another’s eyes. This is not just “walking in the shoes of another” imaginatively, as when we read a novel, but really seeing through the eyes of another—of having a theatre seat in the mind of another, and that 24/7. Who, exactly, is seeing? Who is speaking? Who is thinking?: 

Adding to the conundrum, of course, are their linked brains, and the mysterious hints of what passes between them. The family regularly sees evidence of it. The way their heads are joined, they have markedly different fields of view. One child will look at a toy or a cup. The other can reach across and grab it, even though her own eyes couldn’t possibly see its location. “They share thoughts, too,” says Louise. “Nobody will be saying anything,” adds Simms, “and Tati will just pipe up and say, ‘Stop that!’ And she’ll smack her sister.”

And the reporter for the Mcleans/Ca. feature concludes this way:

Their mother has come to accept each day with them as a gift and a little miracle; its purpose still unfolding. “They’re here for a reason,” she says, as you lace up your shoes and prepare to leave. “We just don’t know the reason yet.” “Hug!” demands Krista. And you sweep them up, feeling their warm embrace and two beating hearts. And you wonder about that reason all the long way home.

Will these little girls grow up bearing some inner insight into the nature of the Trinity?


And I suppose things could be worse. Instead of growing up craniopagus, you could grow up with your head attached to someone’s ass (cranio-anus). But that sounds a bit like a punishment Dante might have thought up for his Inferno, so I won’t go there.

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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1 Response to And These Two are One: Two Little Craniopagus Girls—or One? Will They Grow Up with Insights on the Nature of the Trinity?

  1. I haven’t had a problem with the idea of the Trinity (three personalities in one person) for some years now. Reading science fiction like Richard Morgan’s Excellent “Altered Carbon” where he talks about downloading personalities to bodies started me thinking. Then having a friend who is “multiple personality” (she prefers to drop the “disorder” from the appellation) also gave me insights as how one could be one being, but have multiple personalities.

    These are all analogous to what the christian god might be like, but I found them useful.


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