In the light of the weird 3 a.m. awakening this morning on which I blogged, thought this from JD might put our issues in perspective:

The New Scientist reviewing Dostoyevski – wonders never cease! 🙂

But they are using it as a case study of epilepsy and I found it fascinating, naturally.


“IT WAS one of the most profound experiences of Fyodor Dostoevsky’s life. “A happiness unthinkable in the normal state and unimaginable for anyone who hasn’t experienced it… I am then in perfect harmony with myself and the entire universe,” he told his friend, Russian philosopher Nikolai Strakhov.”

Page two wanders away from the point slightly but comes back to it on page three.

Needless to say their speculations struck a chord with me. I share Myshkin’s feelings and know exactly what is being described.

I have mentioned before that I am ‘high as a kite’ most of the time and I thought it might be a side effect of the tablets (although the opposite effect is cited among the contraindications in the leaflet in the box).

Now I am beginning to wonder if my ‘ex-stasis’ is a consequence of these episodes, something I thought about after reading the book ‘Irreducible Mind’ in which the only mention of epilepsy is in the chapter on Mysticism!

Perhaps I am turning into Jimmy Stewart in It’s A Wonderful Life 🙂

I shall make a note of this and see what the good doc says next time.  Probably groan inwardly and think awkward bugger!


2 responses to “Epilepsy

  1. The French neurologist Henri Gastaut has written two books about Dostoyevski’s epilepsy. His conclusion after the second book was that Prince Myshkin’s description of the ‘aura’ was a product of Dostoyevski’s creative imagination and not a faithful account of what the linked article calls ‘ecstatic epilepsy’
    The late Dr Gastaut was wrong!
    My previous post about epilepsy showed why he was wrong but that post has disappeared along with all the other jewels of wisdom(sic) in the old NO.
    After the last of my ‘episodes’ (as the neurologist calls them) I awoke from it in a state that can only be described as “that peace which passeth all understanding”
    The only difference being that Myshkin was describing what happened before his seizures and for me it occurred afterwards.

  2. but that post has disappeared along with all the other jewels of wisdom(sic) in the old NO

    Not for long. Feb 23.