Cancer continues to really challenge my sense of myself and the world. As long time readers know, I’ve been a staunch atheist all my adult life. Even so, I’ve always acknowledged the tension between logos and mythos in the human mind. I’ve historically found my mythos, my access to the spiritual dimensions of thought, through my writing and through reading the writings of others.
But cancer slowly turns my head. I’ve come to realize that cancer is a kind of miracle of creation in its own right. A series of tumors arising from my own genome are as much me as if I were carrying a child in my body. They are of me. They are me.
Rather than combat these children-of-my-cells, I am coming to understand that I should honor them. I’m developing a new philosophy, one I am tentatively calling carcinosubstantiation, with the goal of focusing on cancer as a positive change agent and a spiritual touchstone in my life.
The catechism will be simple, as befits a blunt and cruel disease like cancer. The commandments will be subtle, as befits a protean and sophisticated disease like cancer. Carcinosubstatiation will celebrate the miracle of evolution, because after all, what is cancer but cellular evolution with the brakes turned off?
I’ll be updating as my thoughts evolve, and perhaps lighting a path for those who are called to follow. What is cancer but the master of my life, after all? Should I not surrender to it, and remake myself in cancer’s image?
I have not finally gotten religion, but perhaps religion has finally gotten me. This first day of April, 2013, I am dedicating myself to a new belief.