Philosophy and change

When I was a kid, I took an internship where I met a college aged guy working the same job as me. We got along relatively well, excepting for the fact that I was a naive 17 year old and he more or less treated me exactly as I merited. Some of the conversations we had made it clear that he thought I should change my ways, but he did nothing to actually move me in that direction. But that is a conversation for a different time.

He was a philosophy major, and he liked to brag about it. He thought to be a philosophy major one needed to be smarter than others, and he reeked of the associated arrogance. What I remember most clearly was a conversation revolving around that stereotypical bong-water example of ‘would you get into the teleporter?’ I went for it – I mean, why not? I am a kid born of sci-fi novels. Teleporters? Sign me up!

And at this point, this philosophy major went ahead and told me that I was wrong.

What he didn’t do, of course, was asking me my reasoning. Like a good philosopher, he had his answer and didn’t need to listen to anyone else.

He flat out told me that if you step into the teleporter your body would be broken down and your soul would escape, leaving you soul-less when your body was reconstituted at the other end of the teleporter.


I know well when I shouldn’t engage with someone, and this seemed like an obvious moment. I didn’t continue the conversation. But I did have questions. How did he know that the soul was attached physically to the body? How was it that, despite this physical attachment, the teleporter did not move the soul as well?

Twnety years have passed, and now I have more questions:

How is it that you know that the soul exists at all?

I have thought about this question a lot. I am not exactly sure when, but at some point my mind changed. I would no longer get into the teleporter, and frankly I am a little saddened by this.

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