One of the common complaints of this disease is that “I just can’t do things I use to do. I don’t feel like my old self.”
Well, I actually do feel like my old self. I just can’t do some things with this disease, or at least do them as well as i did. But I rarely did “things” anyway. Of course that is not entirely true, as my life has had some interesting moments of which I may share in good time. But adding up the years, I have spent a lot of them sitting at a desk in front of a computer, or sitting back in a comfy chair reading or working on a laptop with the cat. So far then, there is no huge change in my life. I kind of feel an empathy with Edward Snowden living his life in cultural isolation, while, as he stated himself that as far as what he actually “does” it is pretty much the same as what he actually “did” which is sit in front of a computer. I wonder if he surfs.
Holy crap! I have overlooked something important that I need to share. Something I actually “did”. Teaching. The classroom and the students. It was a “physical” exchange. It was a human endeavor. There was diversification to the time spent. And occasionally a student would actually converse with me. Now while I wasn’t a great teacher, I think I taught great things. Yes, I might digress into a state of pontification from time to time, but overall my memories, especially over the more recent years, is good. Quite good. It appears I am not going back to the classroom, although that is not a certainty. But I am kind of there in spirit as I still read and take notes and file them and lose them. I do this almost without purpose.
So then, I suppose I am in limbo.
That would be Dante’s first circle of Hell. Referencing the unusual website of Infernopedia, ( http://dantesinferno.wikia.com/wiki/Limbo ) a site I don’t quite get the purpose of, but it did a good job of explaining things I share the following:
The term “Limbo” derives from the Latin term “limbus” which translates to “edge” or “boundary”. It is believed to be the outermost region of Hell, to which are condemned souls who were not sinful, but lacked the proper faith to enter Paradise. Including classic philosophers, poets, emperor, and such. Godless heathens all.
A soul can only go to either Purgatory or Heaven if the soul finally accepts or believes that there is God. This implies that only in Limbo, a soul will have a chance. In the next circles, souls have to suffer endlessly.”
But there is no real inferno, nor is there any evidence to support a god or a heaven etcetera.
If I may digress for a moment, this reminds me of a book I am reading called “The Worm at the Core” by Sheldon Solomon, which I have mentioned elsewhere. The subtitle is “On the Role of Death in Life”. I am certain you will have no difficulty in appreciating my attraction to the title. So far it is already much more than what I expected in that it focuses on humans’ unique ability among primates to imagine the concept of time. Humans have an “understanding” of the past and can anticipate a future. This ability comes with the unfortunate curse of knowing that one day we will die. From there Solomon shows us how this is mitigated in a number of ways, most importantly by creating “in groups”, often as adversaries to “out groups”. We might think of this as a pathology. Homophobia, male domination of women, inhumane abuse of animals, national pride, the irrational abuse of the environment, and finally religion. The “in group” strengthens itself though symbols such as flags and uniforms, religious iconography, songs and art. Just look around.
Back to limbo, and Dante’s first circle of hell. This is where I presently reside. I live behind a question mark. I mean, how do I make plans? Actually that doesn’t sound all that bad now that I think of it. I wear the same clothes every day: exercise pants, slip on shoes, a t-shirt and a sweater. When a catalogue for men’s closes comes in the mail I don’t bother to open it. Of course, doing the laundry is a breeze. Anyway, no plans. A past and a present with only a vague and grim of anticipation for what lies ahead.