One Year, one week and a day…

I took this photo 374 days ago, after a chest biopsy. The doctors had detected a large something in my chest that was causing me difficulty breathing. I had a few dark months not being sure which direction things were going in, I couldn’t even walk down to the shop to get lunch without pausing to catch my breath, and I was being told I should prepare myself for bad news. I was injected with radioactive fluid, put through a large electronic donut, and had bits of me taken away for examination.

Fortunately, it turned out the something was a non-malignancy known as sarcoidosis. The cause is unknown. There is a theory that it is an auto-immune reaction, triggered by perhaps an infection (or stress, or grief, or tiredness, or not stopping). It produced a granuloma in the lymph gland in my chest which was pushing into the lungs. But it had appeared to have stopped getting bigger.

So one year, one week and a day later, the sarcoidosis has receded. I look a bit older, but I have given up sugar and alcohol, lost a big chunk of the weight I put on, have seriously reassessed some priorities,  I’m writing every morning and on Friday last week I ran for twenty minutes straight without stopping.

With a bit of luck and application, I might even try a half marathon in the autumn.

Hope all is well with you guys.

Be kind. Be useful. Et cetera.


On Rational Faith in the Human Spirit

Humanist radicalism … seeks to liberate man from the chains of illusions; it postulates that fundamental changes are necessary, not only in our economic and political structure but also in our values, in our concept of man’s aims, and in our personal conduct.
To have faith means to dare, to think the unthinkable, yet to act within the limits of the realistically possible; it is the paradoxical hope to expect the Messiah every day, yet not to lose heart when he has not come at the appointed hour. This hope is not passive and it is not patient; on the contrary, it is impatient and active, looking for every possibility of action within the realm of real possibilities.

Erich Fromm from “The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness”


The situation of mankind today is too serious to permit us to listen to the demagogues — least of all demagogues who are attracted to destruction — or even to the leaders who use only their brains and whose hearts have hardened. Critical and radical thought will only bear fruit when it is blended with the most precious quality man is endowed with — the love of life.

As highlighted by Brain Pickings

“The Examined Life”

“…Many of my critics pretend that they have been entirely self-made. They seem to feel responsible for their intellectual gifts, for their freedom from injury and disease, and for the fact that they were born at a specific moment in history. Many appear to have absolutely no awareness of how lucky one must be to succeed at anything in life, no matter how hard one works. One must be lucky to be able to work. One must be lucky to be intelligent, to not have cerebral palsy, or to not have been bankrupted in middle age by the mortal illness of a spouse.

Many of us have been extraordinarily lucky—and we did not earn it. Many good people have been extraordinarily unlucky—and they did not deserve it. And yet I get the distinct sense that if I asked some of my readers why they weren’t born with club feet, or orphaned before the age of five, they would not hesitate to take credit for these accomplishments. There is a stunning lack of insight into the unfolding of human events that passes for moral and economic wisdom in some circles. And it is pernicious…”

Sam Harris

reblogged from Ekstasis