I'm watching a devastating documentary on HBO about people who have suffered severe brain injury and are either comatose or have come out of a coma but are greatly impaired, temporarily or, most likely, permanently. It's heartbreaking to see doctors telling a patient's loved ones that there appears to be no chance for recovery and that they might want to consider removing life support and letting nature take its course.
Yet, if it does and these patients die, they and their loved ones might be the lucky ones compared to the patients who linger in a persistent vegetative state or who recover enough to consciously struggle terribly with profoundly compromised capabilities for the rest of their lives, and to their loved ones who are left with dashed hopes and broken dreams and, especially in the case of parents and spouses, saddled with the prospect of overwhelming debt and of having to devote essentially the rest of their lives to providing constant care for the all-but helpless person in their charge.
And when I see things like this, I wonder how there can be, as some religions teach, a spirit or divine Self underlying and animating our consciousness and being. For if there really were such a thing, why can it not overcome the ravages of brain trauma and break out of the coma and shine through the deficits and debilities that follow?
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