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Is it clear in the following sentence the distinction between the "individual" (a single person), and the "whole" (nature, universe...everything around, etc)?

"People want to be eternal as an individual because they forgot how to be eternal as a whole."

I wrote that as an indirect way of saying: People created the soul to be eternal because they forgot that they were already eternal with nature, the universe.

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I highly doubt this sentence makes sense. –  Xavier Hernández Balcázar Apr 17 '12 at 7:19

1 Answer 1

Yes, it seems clear enough to me (assuming that the sentence occurs in some sort of context), but I might say

People want to be eternal as individuals because they have forgotten how to be eternal as a whole.

I changed individual to individuals so that it agrees with people, and changed forgot to have forgotten because it places the emphasis on the result (i.e. they don't remember anymore) rather than the event at which the forgetting took place (see uses of the present perfect simple).

If the sentence is meant to be read without any context, then it would probably be hard to understand your intended meaning. However, your explanation

People created the soul to be eternal because they forgot that they were already eternal with nature, the universe.

seems to get this point across quite well.

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It is part of a dialogue in a short story I wrote called "The Girl without a Soul" (alexandrochen.com/existential-fiction/the-girl-without-a-soul). I'm not sure if the context is enough but well, I not planning to make it that explicit. –  janoChen Apr 17 '12 at 7:42
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@janoChen: I see. Well, it looks like you might be keeping it vague on purpose so people have to think about the meaning a little bit (e.g. neither of the people in the conversation appear to understand what it means). I suppose that I am getting off topic now and heading towards lit. crit., though, so I'll cut myself off. –  Cameron Apr 17 '12 at 7:47
    
Yeah ha, thanks a lot! –  janoChen Apr 17 '12 at 8:06

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