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Finny didn't go with the status-quo. He viewed life on his own terms. Gene says, "Phineas created an atmosphere in which I continued now to live," and he takes up Finny's way of looking at the world and choosing what to accept and what to let go. Because Finny is gone, Gene does have to let some of Finny's spirit reside in him. Finny didn't pit himself or measure himself by an enemy. He lived by his own rules.