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Derealization is the feeling that things in one's surroundings are strange, unreal, or somehow altered.
Suddenly, today everything around me froze in time.
A few fantastic left sitting in a small circle, CSF conscripts sitting in circles eating, a friend tired and thinking, children running after each other near a dangerous short metal fence, women trying to silence their kids sitting on worn blankets on the grass, policemen with a one inch thick stripe on the sides of their dark trousers holding walkie-talkies, a big neon green Allah sign placed on top of the Cairo governerate building, a huge Egyptian flag above Abdeen palace, green security forces troop-carrying vehicles hidden behind trees and a smoggy sky with a huge orange coloured full moon during a Ramadan sunset.
Not extremely overwhelming, but almost everything mentioned above was not in its right place. Everything and everyone were juxtapositioned in an unrealistic collage.
Nothing moved for minutes. It was less than a second, because no one noticed. In a few subjective moments everything was muted.
The last time I experienced this feeling, it was followed by a sudden encounter, face first, with the clay ground of a tennis court. The red clay filled my mouth and nostrils. I grabbed my Dunlop racket and continued to hit the balls fired by a senseless green machine. It had the word Prince written on its side. I was 8 or 10 years old.
Luckily, I didn't fall this time.
After Abdeen, minutes later I was in the poorly lit hallways of the Kasr el-Einy hospital.
Although I am a doctor, hospitals sill make me feel anxious. The more silent a hospital, the more dreadful it is. The main hallway, which is probably the longest hallway in any building in Egypt, was almost empty. Except for a well built man walking slowly holding his arm. The arm he was holding was black and decorated with huge blisters and blood was dripping from it. His other arm had a totally different colour and was heavily self-decorated with parallel scars that ran in all directions. This man had his free will taken over by drugs.
His gangrenous arm was about to be cut off, to save his life. Something he probably never wanted to happen.
To be honest with you. Free will might not really exist. I will try to explain.
Forget all the crap about moral determinism. Lack of free will doesn't mean that you will not be held responsible.
It means that you can't always get what you want.
Listen, We are just robots. We are complex robots. I will not go into the recent neuroscientific evidence that suggests this. I am tired. Take my word for it, we are robots.
During my residency, one night a patient who was very intelligent and had an exceptional sense of humor developed repeated partial seizures. Every time he became lucid again he made exactly the same comment, remark and joke about his surroundings. His recent memory was erased every time he had a seizure.
When my grandfather was in a state of delirium. All his mannerisms before illness were repeated automatically. He didn't know where he was nor what time was it. But when asked about how he feels he would answer you in the same manner he would do when he was perfectly lucid.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
It is vanity for me to feel depressed on an existential level. I never returned after a hard day's work to find my house destroyed by massive pieces of rocks.
If you pray, pray for those people. If you don't, go help them.