I am a philosopher with Parkinson’s Disease. Over the past several years I’ve been trying to write about my situation. I wrote about how I was forced to face the disease. I described how the disease twists and distorts my world. Then I asked myself, as a philosophy writer and teacher, whether I could say anything that might help myself or others facing life with Parkinson’s? I found ideas in the ancient Stoics and expanded them with ideas about time, coming up with suggestions for living as excellently as possible despite the disease. Looking at those suggestions, I realized how the special awareness, resolve, and attention I was suggesting would be eaten away by dementia, and I know that a majority of Parkinson’s patients face dementia if they survive long enough. What can philosophy say to me or any person whose self and philosophy are being erased? Writing about such issues has helped me deal with my situation, and maybe my essay might be useful for others dealing with decline.
Charles A. Dana Professor Emeritus of Philosophy
Bates College, Lewiston, ME
Home: 1375 Olive St #502, Eugene OR 97401 USA
For more of my writing, see dkolb.org.