Hey everyone, I apologize for the late post but I was really tired last night so I decided to wait until this morning to post. Anyway, Saturday has rolled around again so its time for another Philosophical Story Challenge. This week’s topic goes all the way back to the days of Plato and Aristotle: identity. What makes you who you are? What makes anything that particular thing. How can we look at a horse and know that it is a horse even if it’s missing a leg or has some deformation? Where does identity really lie? Plato’s view, or at least the view that has been derived from Plato’s works, is that identity is entirely within the soul. To him, there is a level of distrust of the physical world because our senses are so clearly fallible. On the other hand we have Aristotle who argued that all of our knowledge and experience comes from the physical, observable world. It is important to note that Aristotle is not denying the existence or importance of the soul, but rather denying that our identity could be so completely contained within it. In his view, your identity is as much a part of your body as it is your soul. If your soul were removed from your body we would no longer say that your body was you, and Aristotle would also argue that your soul isn’t you either. A human is a body and a soul; take away one and while the other may remain it is not that person in their entirety. Conversely, Plato would argue that your body, because it is physical, is a hindrance; your real being is that of your soul unshackled to your body. Your challenge this week is to write a story that explains identity like Plato or like Aristotle. As always, please keep your stories under 1,000 words if you want to post them on here, but feel free to write more!
2 thoughts on “Philosophical Story Challenge”
Sounds like fertile ground for science fiction.
By: Justina Luther
I can breathe, but my body is not my own. My limbs do not move at my command. My eyes ache as I wait for them to blink. I try to scan my hospital room with a shaky gaze.
How I got here is a mystery that’s answer comes in bits of the conversations between my family members. A car accident, I think. They say my parents are in comas as well. I see aunts, uncles, and cousins but as far as they are concerned I’m not here. The doctors have told them I’m unaware of their presence or anything at all. A vegetative state they call it. I call it hiding in plain sight. This makes me laugh—on the inside at least. It reminds me of the all the times I hid from my brother, Alex, when he was ten and had to watch me. He’s five years older and hated the job. So, I’d secure myself in a cabinet, a closet, or at one point the dryer, and listen with glee as he’d call my name in a panic. He knew dad would be angry if I was missing when he got home. I had a nasty habit of walking out the front door for an adventure at the time. Alex would get so mad when my giggling would finally betray my location.
At last I’m able to drag my gaze to the opposite corner of the room and see Alex sitting in a chair. He was a far cry from the boy I scared 12 years ago. Has he been here all night? Judging by the stubble on his face, I’d say he has. He sees me looking at him and jumps from his chair as he has so many times before.
I see the sadness and hope that battle in his eyes and wish I could help him. I try to drag my eyes toward the picture of our family on the table beside me. I know it will make him smile. If only he’d follow my gaze!
Remember Alex! I want to yell. Remember the pranks we’d play on each other. Remember the times we would laugh until we couldn’t breathe. Remember when you were so angry with me you wanted to hit me. Remember anything and live in that memory. In this hospital I’m more alive than you are. In this room I have more will to live. That’s just wrong!
Why does he visit me so often? I know it can’t be healthy for him. Our parents, if they know he visits, wouldn’t be happy. We’re stuck here, but he isn’t. The only thing that tethers him here is a grief that has no place. We’re not dead. Our spirits are alive. My mind is active. My body is being stubborn at the moment, but I’m still here. I’m still fighting. Knowing how obstinate my parents always have been, so are they!
On the inside I’m grinning as I picture my Dad ordering his legs in military fashion to march. My mom demanding hers do a pirouette. I know they won’t give up. They and Alex are what keep me fighting and dreaming of the day my limbs respond.
Move! Move you dumb legs! Dumb arms! Do something! Do anything! I don’t care if you smack me in the forehead, just do something! Better yet, smack Alex’s forehead. I have a headache—A headache? Wait, I haven’t had one of those since I’ve been here.
“Nurse!” Alex says. “Nurse come quick! Something on the monitor changed! Sonia! Sonia, can you hear me?”
He shakes my shoulders. For the first time since I’ve been here I can feel his hands.