Right, so here we are; my first philosophy task. Basically, Mr Noonan showed us an episode of the wondrous tv show House (episode 2 season 7 to be precise) and asked us to record our thoughts on how the episode relates to human existence in our blogs.
Due to a certain personal tendency towards laziness, and an aversion towards the idea of giving a faulty explanation, I shall not engage on the perilous task of summarizing the episode, suffice it to say that it is the one about the athletic girl who winds up needing a part of her wheelchair-bound brother’s lung.
Personal identity seems to be a central issue in this episode, as it is made clear to the viewer that the patient has been trying to live the life of her handicapped brother for him. She even says this straight out. So how does this impact her existence? If she is striving to live the life of someone else, does that diminish her personal existence? Certainly her individuality would be adversely affected, so perhaps one could say that it would indeed reduce her existence to something less complete.
Something which struck me as quite existentially relevant was the climax of the episode, where the girl’s brother sits by her bedside and with tear-filled eyes begs her to take a part of his lung. He explains to her that she is the one doing all those things that she does, and all he can ever do is act as a support team and coach. If she takes a part of his lung, he says, then he can be a part of her and thus be a participant in those activities. The question this raises for me is, quite frankly, whether this would work. If one takes a part of ones physical body and puts it into another person, does that transfer a part of ones being, ones soul if you wish, into that person? How great is the disconnection between the spiritual self and the physical self?