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Divine surgery

I’m nearly done with Giulia Enders’ book ‘Gut’, a fascinating all-stops journey from the lips to the large intestine. Perhaps I should write and thank her in the words of the great Pavarotti, who once expressed his appreciation to an audience saying, “I thank you from the heart of my bottom.” In her book she describes some gut-dwellers called toxoplasmata, nasty creatures that seem to induce suicidal thoughts. At least in rats, but maybe too in us. Apparently, when rats are plagued with these parasites, they virtually lie down in a cat’s food bowl, begging to be eaten.

But there is another type of madness, more bewildering, more devastating, and its ‘cause and effect’ well-established now for centuries. A madness caused by a disease that lives not so much in our gut, but in our heart and mind and soul, and which causes a person to bite the hand that feeds it, and to turn its back on the very thing that loves it most.

Thankfully a cure has been found that can put us in our right mind. It was actually discovered by a carpenter, who on purpose had the disease injected, more technically ‘imputed’ to him. And then waited six hours to see what would happen. The effects were awful: a bloody sweat, a sapping thirst, bleeding hands and feet, a wounded side, and finally death. But that carpenter lived again to tell the tale, and his story of triumph is repeated every Easter. And him, will I thank, from the bottom of my heart.

DM 4th April 2017

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