mikosian (mikosian) wrote in hepatitis_c,

Philosophy of a Liver Transplant

During the course of my Masters work this term, I read an interview of Francisco Varela, Chilean biologist and philosopher (who pursued research characterized as 'experimental epistemology'), by Bernhard Poerksen, called "Truth is What Works: A Conversation on Cognitive Science, Buddhism, the Inseparability of Subject and Object and the Exaggerations of Constructivism" (available only, it seems, through Project Muse). Varela's views resonated with many of my own and I sought further information about him and his work.

I was surprised to learn that Varela had battled with and eventually died (28 May 2001) from complications arising from HCV. He had also had a liver transplant and wrote an essay about his experiences, called "Intimate Distances: Fragments for a Phenomenology of Organ Transplant" that I thought might be of interest to some folks here. I felt a profound sense of awe and affinity reading this, though I've never had an organ transplant. I am grateful on a daily basis that I am one of the lucky ones: two and a half years after my treatment and HCV is still undetectable.

It's a chunky academic read in many places, but it is grounded in often poetic speculation about his own circumstances as he goes through the various stages of the transplant process. He asks questions within his own experience that reach beyond himself. I was inspired and I hope others who live with HCV find inspiration in his words.
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