by Edward Said
Anyone who has had the experience of serious illness will tell you that one of the most terrifying prospects you face at such an extremity is not just the sadness of physical disablement, but the loss of your power to think clearly. Ernest Jones, the biographer of Sigmund Freud, says about Freud that when he became severely ill and in great pain because of cancer in the jaw, he refused to take even an aspirin for fear that it might dull the critical edge of his mind, take away some of the sharpness of his thought. What is it that makes Stephen Dedalus, the hero of James Joyces's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, so compelling if it is not his motto, non serviam -- I will not serve? "I will not serve that in which I no longer believe, whether it calls itself my home, my fatherland or my church." What does it really mean not to believe? It means no longer being able to think the way others do, no longer being able just to go along with things as they are.