The disease of forgetfulness. Alzheimer’s disease and man. Norbert Bilbeny. Gutenberg Galaxy
“A third of people over 85 have Alzheimer’s disease. 10% of people aged 65 already have it.” Forgetting the Disease reflects on the emotional and personal aspects of Alzheimer’s disease, as well as touches on other issues arising from or related to the disease, such as the concept of personality and its many derivatives.
Norbert Bilbeni (Barcelona, 1953) is Professor of Ethics at the University of Barcelona. A columnist for numerous print media, he is the author of a long dozen books on philosophy and ethics. He received Josep Pla and Anagrama Essay awards.
The disease of forgetfulness This is a book divided into fifteen chapters. A book that deals not only with the biological and medical component of a disease, but also with the ethical, philosophical and legal components of a disease that affects the most important elements of a person. But he also addresses the sociological elements of the concept and ideas of memory. And this reminds us of the somewhat paradoxical idea that in certain circumstances it is necessary to forget in order to move on.
According to the author:
“Evil … which destroys the personality of the patient and destroys others.” “Not remembering how to do the multiplication or the names of their children, the subject feels like a child who, lost in the crowd, does not know which direction to go.”
A book full of philosophical and literary quotations, if one can be distinguished from the other. And that’s what maybe, like I said Milan Kundera, Literature remained the only way to gain access to comprehensive knowledge about man.
A book that raises interesting questions about the future of copying personal memory and uploading it to the cloud. Then, Can we clone a human as many times as we want?
A text written in the first person plural, as if the author’s “I” were inhabited by many subjects, and the individual-physical “I” was only a ventriloquist for them.
The book also deals with the legal aspects of disability caused by Alzheimer’s disease, as well as loss of control over objects around the patient.
The disease of forgetfulness This is a text for thinking about the meaning of life, about what life is, what a person is, about the work of medical services and to what extent they can decide for patients and loved ones. A book that makes you think about the meaning of life and the meaning of old ageabout the right of older people to feel young, about the right of older people to be treated as a person, like with any other subject, full of rights and obligations.
A book that insists on the need to keep fighting: “The medical worker, like the patient’s family, cannot succumb to fate, the feeling that everything is predetermined and must be accepted.”
What better way to end this review than with a quote that Bilbeny gathers from Isaiah 65:17: “I will create a new heaven and a new earth, and no one else will remember the past or think about it.”