Wednesday, March 9, 2011


One of my best friends in Columbia has been trying to get me to see 127hrs. It had been high on my list for awhile and I couldn't wait til it finally came out on itunes (when you have a 2 year old and your wife is a med student, netflix and itunes are the lifelines to pop culture).

The story is well known and the while idea is something that both medical and out-doorsy adventurous types talk about all the time: mostly the logistics and the decision. For me, the story was interesting from those perspectives but really hit home as a humanistic story. And for me, the cancer experience is the path by which my qualities and resources as a human being are most challenged.

Living with chronic disease has brought me face to face with many of the same questions in the movie:
-How bad do I want to live?
-What are the consequences of my actions on a daily basis, both with others and within myself with respect to psychology, biochemistry, physiology, and pathology?
-How far will I go to preserve the chance, opportunity, and true gift of my life?

David Brooks wrote a great piece today where he discusses qualities that really help make us more grounded as people. He suggests that the following qualities trump I.Q., professional merit, and academic achievement:

Equipoise: the ability to serenely monitor the movements of one’s own mind and correct for biases and shortcomings.

Metis: the ability to see patterns in the world and derive a gist from complex situations.

Sympathy: the ability to fall into a rhythm with those around you and thrive in groups.

Limerence: This isn’t a talent as much as a motivation. The conscious mind hungers for money and success, but the unconscious mind hungers for those moments of transcendence when the skull line falls away and we are lost in love for another, the challenge of a task or the love of God. Some people seem to experience this drive more powerfully than others.

Attunement: the ability to enter other minds and learn what they have to offer.

Very cool movie and article. Pass them on!

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