Deep Within the Brain

Deep Within the Brain

Living with Parkinson’s Disease

Written by: Helmut Dubiel
Translated by: Philip Schmitz

Additional Formats
  • Paperback
  • ISBN 9781933372709
  • 160 Pages
  • Europa Editions
  • Adult


At the age of forty-six, philosopher and university professor Helmut Dubiel was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. In the early stages of his sickness, fearing censure and ostracism, Dubiel did his utmost to conceal his condition. But when his symptoms became too obvious to camouflage, he was obliged to admit defeat and decided to undergo deep brain stimulation surgery. Following this operation, Dubiel found himself in possession of a peculiar power: with little more than the flick of a switch he was able to choose between a personality defined as irascible and maudlin and the lucid, quick-thinking academic he had always been.

In this fascinating book, Dubiel describes the course of his illness with a philosopher’s aplomb, ennobling his personal experience with intellectual flair and scientific insight as he makes connections between his own medical drama and some of today’s most significant global tendencies.

Above all,Deep Within the Brain describes a battle: the battle between the inclination to give up, to view oneself as dead to the world, and the force necessary to reinvent oneself and rise above one’s illness. Devoid of self-pity, Dubiel vanquishes his illness by using it as a source of philosophical reflection on the twofold nature of modern medicine, the meaning of success and acceptance, and the true nature of that capricious creature we call “I”.


“This is not just the story of a man suffering from Parkinson’s disease. On the contrary, its author uses his disease as a means of reflecting upon the brutal causality of life, and upon the existential vulnerability and the need for protection that are its consequences. Both, indeed, persist despite much technological advancement, which shows itself to be always a double-edged sword.”
-KulturRadio (Germany)

“A book that begs reflection: on the promises that the constantly evolving medical field offers; on the humanity of a society that refuses to accept pain.”
-Die Zeit (Germany)

“Disturbing and at the same time fascinating. But above all magnificently written.”
- Frankfurter Rundschau (Germany)

“How does stigmatization work? What are the limits of medical advancement? How do healthy people behave towards unhealthy people? Dubiel provides his readers with intelligent and balanced answers to these questions.”
-Focus Magazine (Germany)