Illness

  • Illness as Metaphor A powerful critique by Susan Sontag of the tendency throughout the ages to attribute to patients whatever cultural failure is dominant in their time as the moral cause of their illness. This book helped me cope with an unhelpful belief, mostly held by some people who see themselves as particularly strong, that I just lack courage for life.
  • The Trouble With Medicine's Metaphors - evidence that the fighting spirit isn't necessarily the best in the face of baffling illness.
  • What really matters at the end of life | BJ Miller - palliative care done right in LA, with love.

One day I found myself standing in front of a costume of a Tungus Shaman. It was so striking. It was so obvious to me that I would move towards a person dressed like that if I felt truly hopelessly ill. I think this is because grave illness, and death, unravel everything - all our clever thoughts and orderly processes - and leaves us face to face with chaos and bewilderment.