Nickel and Dimed

I love this book. I know it’s been out for a while, but I’m just not getting around to really reading it. I’m on page 68 right now, and I ran across this quote that I thought was really interesting, if mostly irrelevant to her overall experiment. It’s a great question worth considering:

“I can’t help letting my mind wander to the implications of Alzheimer’s disease to the immortal soul. Who wants an afterlife if the immediate pre-afterlife is spent clutching the arms of a wheelchair, head bent back at a forty-five degree angle, eyes and mouth wide open and equally mute, like so many of my charges at the Woodcrest [a nursing home facility where the author works on weekends]? Is the ‘soul’ that lives forever the one we possess at the moment of death, in which case heaven must look something like the Woodcrest, with plenty of CNAs and dietary aides to take care of those who died in a state of mental decomposition? Or is it our personally best soul — say, the one that indwells in us at the height of our cognitive powers and moral aspirations? In which case, it can’t possibly matter whether demented [that is, patients suffering from dementia] diabetics eat cupcakes or not, because from a purely soteriological standpoint, they’re already dead.”

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