(Anguish).

Posted on 21 Νοεμβρίου 2016

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Kubin

(Anguish). 

‘I had a patient once whose name was L’Angoisse (Anguish). L’Angoisse had an ulcer that had eaten away most of his skin between his knee and his ankle. He had to be hospitalized on several occasions. When he came to our medical services, he was invariably dirty and his ulcer was infested with maggots. The doctor used to say to him: ‘Why don’t you try and keel the flies off your ulcer? The flies lay eggs, and the eggs become maggots.’ L’Angoisse replied that he did not believe him. So one day the doctor decided to show him that what he had said was true. He took some of the maggots out of the patient’s ulcer, put them in a box, and a few days later the maggots became flies. One seeing this, L’Angoisse said to the doctor: ‘Those are my flies, aren’t they? Would you keep them safe for me?’ We duly preserved them in alcohol. In the course of the following weeks, L’Angoisse visited the hospital again and again, and each time he said to us: ‘Would you let me play with my children?’ This is horrendous story. It is indecent, degrading, and thoroughly mad. But it also carries the distant echo of a fundamental human urge: to live on after one’s own death, to give life to something else, be it dead flies. It is only by understanding the fundamental humanity that we share with chronically homeless people that we can hope to give them the respect they deserve. The responsibility is ours alone. It means saying of L’Angoisse what Prospero says of Caliban:’ This thing of darkness I acknowledge mine’.’
P.Declerck

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