The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
One Book, 200,000 blinks of an eye and two minutes a word.
It was Junior year of college during an anthropology course on the narrative structure of disease that I first read The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. By the end of that semester my book was marked up with notes, thoughts, observations, literary critiques and the occasional stain from a falling tear. My teacher, a whisper of a women struggling with her own deadly disease, took no pity on our emotional struggles. She pushed and pried our emotions apart until we stripped back the literal meaning and wove into the complex narrative of a man’s free mind trapped in a worthless shell of a body.
Over the years I have picked up the book and leafed through looking at my notes, remembering the intense gut-wrenching class discussions and paralleling the metaphors with my own personal pain. I’ve even sent the book to several people who I thought would benefit from the story. Now as I pick up the book with the fear of learning my teacher may have passed away I can’t help but reflect on the intense message at hand: Just because you lose your perceived freedom doesn’t mean you have to stop living. It just means you have to change your perspective and throw everything else to hell.