what you get here

This is not a blog which expresses instant opinions on current events. It rather uses incidents, books (old and new), links and papers as jumping-off points for some reflections about our social endeavours.
So old posts are as good as new! And lots of useful links!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Lives worth Living

I’ve been feeling a bit guilty this morning – if that is the right word to describe my feelings on reading of the death from cancer of two figures I knew nothing about but who seemed to epitomise everything we mean by the phrase “a life worth living”.
From curiosity I had punched into an ad for a book released today called “Late Fragments” which turned out to be the touching memoir of a young activist, Kate Gross, who died on Christmas Day in her early 30s and who wrote the book as a celebration of life for her family

I’d no sooner read that than I hit, completely by accident, a tribute to another (rather older) cancer victim – one Mike Marqusee – a journalist and leftist campaigner a typical example of whose writing can be read in this article on Red Pepper.
This is a good review of one of his (short) books about pharmaceutical companies – which raises the question of what accounts for the huge increase in the number of deaths from cancer which “developed” countries have experienced in recent years.

Apart from the obvious explanation of tobacco, other factors relate to the rise in awareness and reporting - eg
- the increased emphasis on physical exercise and preventive health care
- the greater publicity which cancer has received
- the increased frequency of medical tests for the condition

But I am surely not alone in thinking that artificial food additives also have a lot to do with it.
At this stage, of course, I should declare an interest. It was at this time two years ago that I sought a biopsy - which revealed a medium-serious level of prostate cancer and had resort, in the summer, to a 2 month course of radiation treatment (in Germany).
That seemed to do the trick – although I do need to take a daily hormone pill. And, having read up on the subject, do also try to have daily exercise and (following the advice of a Professor Plant) good vitamin input  

Our lives are all too short – Gross and Maqusee both lived rich lives which have been cut tragically short. Each, in their different way, shows what we can - and should - do with our life. 

By one of these coincidences, I was this afternoon interviewed by a roving TV mike on Sofia's streets and asked how important physical exercise was to me (this after I had explained I did not speak Bulgarian). To the interviewer (and cameraman) 's obvious delight, I then extolled the virtues of the Rodina Hotel; of Bulgarian vegetables; and of daily walking and fitness routines.......... En passant I mentioned my own brush with cancer........

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