Monday, March 21, 2005

And Now, For Synthesis

Jinnderella of Hot Needle of Inquiry brings yet more thoughts to the table in Terri Schiavo's New Tenant. It has occurred to me to combine the thoughts regarding Terri's identity and Michael's marriage rights.

Is the person who chose to grant the rights over herself who married Michael still the one in the body he seeks to enact Terri's wishes upon? The CAT scan here shows massive damage, and I think people have seen enough of these through news reports and Discovery Channel specials on the brain to recognize that something is way beyond wrong here.

With the idea that Terri's wishes as to the end of her life might be rendered moot with the death of her personality, is it not reasonable to question whether any of her decisions apply to whatever diminished persona currently resides within her brain. The new angle is whether her choice to choose Michael as her husband and empowered to speak for her is still applicable. The argument might be extended to her parents, but they have precedent in that they had responsibility for her when she was last in an infantile state.

On a side note, comments on Jinderella's post ask the age-old question of the unity of the soul as the personality changes. My thought on that is that the soul would be the continuity of the personality. Indeed, the concept of the soul is that the personality, or some other vestige of the person, continues on even after death. The more I look on this case, the more I think that a soul can leave the body without the body getting the message that it should be dead.

Soul or no, the only thing I firmly believe in this case is that Terri, and the continuity/soul that was her, is gone, beyond even saying that she has been changed by the damage. I do not believe that there is anything left in that brain that can think of "I".

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