Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith

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Self-Awareness Question: Time

Folks have mentioned an interest in questions and conversations that make them think. So I've decided to offer more of those. This is the current list on self-awareness.

51. Do you think time heals all wounds?


Well, that depends on how you define 'time,' 'heals,' and 'wounds.'

Time: If you restrict this to the current body/life, then the statement is observably false. There are many fatal wounds, of body and mind.

Most wounds that do not kill are subject to the passage of time, and thus, will improve in some regards. A bleeding wound will eventually stop bleeding and either heal smoothly or scar over. A grief or other mental injury will tend to become less sharp and immediate over time.

However, time is not linear, and where we exist is only sometimes a choice. Wounds of the mind or the soul do not necessarily heal because these things are not bound by time, but rather are capable of binding time. After all, you don't stop loving someone just because they die; you still love each other, only now you're in different realms for a while. Once you die, that connection will pull you right back together again -- it's actually one of the main ways to navigate when not corporeal.

To be outside of a body is to be outside the temporal gravity well that creates the perspective that time is linear. Time is no more linear than gravity is a force that sticks things to planets. It just seems that way from a given observation point.

So outside that gravity well, the opportunities for healing are much greater, and the barriers to healing are much lower. That's not to say people aren't still affected by their experiences; we are all the sum of our experiences and what we have learned from them. But they don't tend to cripple people forever, because souls are resilient stuff.


Heals: Everything that isn't lethal tends to change over time. Most injuries do get better, even if they don't recover all the way. Sometimes, the body has to repair fast so it doesn't die, and the same is true of the mind. Those hasty repairs can make life harder in the future, whether by physical or mental scar tissue. There are things people can do to work with that and make it better, though.

Sometimes, things don't get better, they get stuck or get worse. Wounds can get infected or have other complications. Mental injuries, which rarely get prompt treatment in this world, are prone to getting worse for that reason. Mental care is pretty much still at the "virtuous pus" stage, believing that treatment should wait until a severe problem manifests.

A key example of this is complicated grief, a "stuck problem" in which the natural grieving process jams so the person cannot transmute a present relationship to a past one. This is "You exist here" territory, and it tends to stay the same or get worse over time rather than healing the way grief usually does.

Wounds: As mentioned above, there are wounds of the body and wounds of the mind or soul.

Humans are pretty good at fixing bodies by now. Even catastrophic injuries can often be stopped short of death, although quality of life varies. Sometimes people are left with chronic pain, which strongly undermines quality of life. Sometimes people have physical limitations that could be overcome with tools or interpersonal help, but nobody bothers to provide those resources, so that greatly impairs the process of rebuilding a life. What we can heal and what we choose to heal are often parsecs apart.

Humans are much less good at fixing injuries of the mind, and indeed, have difficulty even separating mental injuries (caused by an outside source) from mental illnesses (caused by an internal malfunction). This makes it difficult or impossible to fix things. Some things are pretty straightforward to fix -- say, if someone feels unheard, talk therapy will absolutely fix that, and can provide skills for better communication in future relationships and finding healthy relationships. But you rarely see people offering support in the immediate aftermath of mayhem; the system is designed to intervene only after someone's life starts falling apart. By that point, a formerly fixable problem is often unfixable with extant resources.

Wounds of the soul are even more obscure. Moral injury is one good example, which people are just starting to explore in war, health care, clergy abuse, and other contexts. While many traditional societies had plenty of ways to treat such problems, few remain today and most of those have zero interest in helping outsiders, often for sadly valid reasons. These are the least able to heal without help and the least able to find effective help. So often, they just don't heal, at least not in this life.
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