Furuncle Joseph Stalin
Karl Marx famously wrote, "It is not men’s consciousness that determines their existence, but on the contrary, their social existence that determines their consciousness." In other words our attitudes are formed by our material condition. Modern medicine has finally proved that Marx was right. We now know that what may have impelled Marx to create his depressing and gloomy ideology was none other than skin disease. The Times Online reported late last year that:
Karl Marx suffered from a skin disease that can cause severe psychological effects such as self-loathing and alienation, according to a British dermatologist. The father of communism’s life and attitudes were shaped by hidradenitis suppurativa, said Sam Shuster in the British Journal of Dermatology. One of its symptoms is alienation – a concept that Marx, a martyr to boils and carbuncles, put into words as he wrote Das Kapital....
Hidradenitis suppurativa is a disease of the apocrine sweat glands, found in the armpits and the groins. The skin in the affected areas shows a mixture of blackheads, lumps that look like boils, spots and areas that leak pus. Doctors and Marx, who was born in Germany but lived most of his life in London, called them “furuncles, boils and carbuncles”, but Professor Shuster says that they were too persistent and recurrent for that. He searched Marx’s letters and found that he had started complaining of carbuncles in 1864, when he was 46, though it is possible that he had them earlier.
In 1867 he wrote to Friedrich Engels of the boils “on my posterior and near the penis” – areas characteristic of the condition. Marx was often unable to work because of the pain. He wrote to Ludwig Kugelmann in 1867: “I still have a carbuncle on the left loin not far from the centre of propagation, as well as numerous furuncles.”
His pain in the ass may have contributed, not in little measure, to Das Kapital. Booze, sex, human ailment and accident are the unrecognized legislators of history. They shape our world because people shape the world.
An ass, an ass. My kingdom for a carbuncle-free ass.
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