Living on the edge” is a great phrase. We’re out of our comfort zones and anything can happen. We’re equally scared and exhilarated. That goes for skiing the black-diamond slopes or realizing Earth is a speck in the universe. On the edge of experience and knowledge, discoveries are made, about ourselves and the world.
That theme drives the new issue of Nautilus. It begins with a brilliant dialogue, “Ian and the Limits of Rationality,” by Simon DeDeo, a professor in social and decision sciences, between a teacher and a student. What is reason? How did it evolve? When we arrive at the edge of reason, where are we going?
That latter question is important in medicine because the reasonable diagnosis is not always the right one. Neurologist Suzanne O’Sullivan has come to that realization time and again in her career of studying mysterious illnesses.
In “Why These Children Fell into Endless Sleep,” O’Sullivan writes about being asked by physicians to diagnose children in Sweden, who suffer from “resignation syndrome.” It’s an emotional journey, but as O’Sullivan suspected, neurobiology cannot explain what’s afflicted the children.
In an interview with Nautilus, O’Sullivan spells out why psychosomatic illnesses are often dismissed as fake by reasonable diagnoses. She goes on to explain, with conviction and compassion, the personal and social conditions that enter the mind, upend the body, and result in very real illness.
Putting the spotlight on scientists like O’Sullivan, who challenge conventional reason, and forge new perspectives, is what Nautilus is all about.
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