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Does its tone tell you I am angry or merely seeking a psychological expedient against the madness I see around me?The book is my creation but is also in many ways foreign to me for I am living in a foreign land.Most generally perhaps it is just the thoughts that passed through my head over the twenty months I spent moving toward death. That is the virtue that is developed to an extraordinarily high degree in me.I am certainly not a man who is at peace with his life, but on the contrary I despise it as I have never before despised anything. Being imprisoned in the nightmarish cage of paraplegia has done all manner of violence to the deepest parts of me. I lived with the feeling that I was a very rare person. There are many people who have a lot of the same capacities and virtues that I did. Shakespeare said, “honesty’s a fool and loses what it works for”.This is often true in dealing with others but my truthfulness has a great deal to do with how I relate to myself.
Above all perhaps, one must stay out of one’s own way.Being a truth-teller is generally not altogether chosen- it is thrust upon a person.Passion for the truth is a thing highly questionable in its very self. It must be kept within bounds so it does not become masochistic or self-destructive. The thing you might need above all else in reading this book is an imagination.Two Arms and a Head The Death of a Newly Paraplegic Philosopher by Clayton Atreus Forthwith this frame of mine was wrench’d With a woful agony Which forced me to begin my tale And then it left me free - Coleridge Even the bravest rarely have the courage for what they really know.-Nietzsche Preface “I try to lead as normal a life as possible, and not think about my condition, or regret the things it prevents me from doing, which are not that many.” –Stephen Hawking Is anything in man so deep-rooted and prevalent as the drive to see things as they are not?
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What Professor Hawking says here is reasonable, up until the last five words. Relativity and quantum mechanics may both be mind-bending and baffle the understanding, but no less than when a world-famous mathematical and scientific genius who can do little more than twitch his cheek and move his eyes; who cannot feed, dress, wash, or care for himself in the most rudimentary way; who would, if abandoned next to a stockpile of food and water, starve and eventually die of dehydration where he was left, positioned as he was left, tells us that there are “not that many” things he cannot do.