Sunday, November 24, 2013

I find it somewhat validating, to read again through John F. Kennedy's health problems.  He took anti-histamines for food allergies (and some of them seems to have made him depressed.)  He had high cholesterol, probably from regularly eating eggs and bacon for breakfast.  Too much dairy, bad for type O blood, so the unsubstantiated theory goes (while it secretly remains to work for us.)  He had colitis, an intestinal inflammation brought on by eating grains never meant for certain guts.  Perhaps too with the adrenal insufficiency, a factor of a mis-intended diet back from the days of American white bread.

And one can feel the strange relief of validation reading about Lincoln and his psyche, his bouts with melancholy, finding Joshua Wolf Shenk's book on the subject quite real and believable.  Lincoln, by the way, was type A, I seem to have read.  His problems with what might be unipolar depression cut beyond the lines of blood type, across the human species, I would gather, by their inherent nature.  I find it validating to find a tale of Lincoln, to the gist that he needed to participate in the mirth and the merriment and the jokes lest he fall into an abyss of dark mood and hopelessness.  (That's a bartender's night, right there.)  Perhaps the dignity we attribute to his image is in surviving such storms, as we intuitively sense that.  His mind went through the dark nights and would tend to emerge with broader deeper insight, to be saved and then put into words when an occasion called for it.

Sharing such "problems" does not make one a great leader.  But somehow in the dark of winter night it is a comfort and a relief to ponder such things with a glimmer of self-understanding.  It helps with the self-blaming and the guilt, I would think.  It helps for accepting, as one first must accept, a kind of a life.  And maybe it gets better from there.

Within the history of John F. Kennedy is something of the history of humanity.  A man needs to live a bit in order to understand, to be able to walk in another's shoes.

In this day and age, people go to a trainer at the gym, wanting a focussed work out.  Is that the point of reading something, that it's quick exercise toward some kind of end of enhanced sensitivity for life?

No comments: