Super Saturday: When Eternity Finds Its Way Into Today

In recovery, eternity and the present seemingly merged for me.  It seems like my accident was a lifetime ago but it was a little more than five months ago. When people visit me, I can say “it’s been a lifetime since I’ve seen you” and mean it literally. This post was originally published on November 9, 2011.

I’m deathly afraid of eternities and infinities. My brain likes it much more when I have a finite amount of things left to do.

I used to be a philosophy major. It was a hard time in my life. I think I used to like philosophy. It’s hard to remember that far back, but I think I did, once. I started to second-guess my major at the same point in my life that I began to consider it as a life-long career.

The problem with being a life-long philosopher is that your job is never really done. There are always critics to argue against. There are always new ideas to explore. There are always more books to read, more systems to overthrow, and more logic to do.

That scared the hell out of me. I don’t know if I could have been a philosopher. Maybe I don’t have what it takes. But I do know that I would have been burnt out before I had gotten through grad school. I would have been focused on the following sixty years of my career. I would have been thinking about the next thing always. That’s tiring.

For a while, dropping my philosophy major made my life easier. I don’t plan on making an academic career out of my studies in literature so the endless amount of academic work in the field doesn’t intimidate me. But now I realize that infinity, the future, eternity sneaks up on you. It finds you. And pretty soon, you realize that you are never going to be able to read everything, see everything, meet every person important in your field. Then you have a choice.

You can either let it intimidate you. You can let it ruin you. You can let it stress you out.


You focus on the task at hand. You can approach your present challenge as if it is the last thing you will ever have to accomplish. And you can do it.

Why Dualism Just Makes Sense

I’ve been reading The Ultimate Harry Potter and Philosophy. It is a collection of essays from philosophy scholars about the Harry Potter series. There’s an essay by Scott Sehon called “The Soul in Harry Potter.” It attempts to figure out which philosophical theory about the soul is happening in the books.

Because souls seem to exist outside the body in the series (ghosts, horcruxes, etc.), Sehon concludes that materialism is not the correct philosophical theory in the series. I definitely agree with this conclusion, but not in just the series but in real life.

One of my greatest fears as a tbi survivor is whether, once I’m completely recovered, I will be everything I was before the accident. Time and time again, I prove to myself that I don’t have anything to worry about. I am the same person. Since my brain was injured, you would expect that I would be different if you are a materialist.

I know that all tbi’s are different, and doctors warned me that I might have personality changes. So that kinda throws an obstacle into dualism. I’m alright with conceding that personality is based on physical things (the brain of course). But is a personality all there is to a soul? I don’t think so. My personality is all the same, but I know I shouldn’t universalize my experience with a tbi to all other tbi-survivors.

You would never say that two people who have the same passions have the same personalities. You could, of course, but it wouldn’t always be true.

Dualism, then, is the way to go.

Reflection on a Pack of Gum

If you steal a pack of gum from a supermarket, who are you stealing that gum from?

Is it the supermarket? Is it the gum company? Is it the packaging company? Is it the farmers who harvested the sugar for the gum?

I don’t know. I don’t know that it matters.

A lot of people point to the Ten Commandments as if they are easy to understand, but even the easy ones are difficult to understand.

Do not steal.

That seems pretty easy, but when the Israelites received that commandment, there wasn’t a real monetary system. When an Israelite stole something from his neighbor, he was stealing something that his neighbor needed to survive – food, cattle, tools. In America, that very rarely holds true.

When a gang member peddles stolen cars, who is he hurting? He is the victim. His community is the victim. The person he sells the car to is the victim, not Ford or Hyundai or Honda.

Stealing now is not a sign of criminality, a sign of immorality, a sign of godlessness. It is a sign of a broken system. It’s a symptom. We need more curative treatments and less band-aids.