By Oliver Sacks
An important bestseller and already acclaimed as a technology vintage, this selection of 20 actual stories of people afflicted with awesome neurological problems has bought over 70,000 copies. (Pscyhology)
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Additional info for The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat: And Other Clinical Tales
The collapse of tone and muscle posture, from top to toe; the wandering of her hands, which she seemed unaware of; the flailing and overshooting, as if she were receiving no information from the periphery, as if the control loops for tone and movement had catastrophically broken down. ‘It’s a strange statement,’ I said to the residents. ’ ‘Yes, he did. But have you ever seen a hysteria like this? Think phenomenologically—take what you see as genuine phenomenon, in which her state-of-body and state-of-mind are not fictions, but a psychophysical whole.
Clearly Jimmie found himself, found continuity and reality, in the absoluteness of spiritual attention and act. The Sisters were right—he did find his soul here. And so was Luria, whose words now came back to me: ‘A man does not consist of memory alone. He has feeling, will, sensibility, moral being ... It is here ... ’ Memory, mental activity, mind alone, could not hold him; but moral attention and action could hold him completely. But perhaps ‘moral’ was too narrow a word—for the aesthetic and dramatic were equally involved.
The hands are not usually affected by cerebral palsy—at least, not essentially affected: they may be somewhat spastic, or weak, or deformed, but are generally of considerable use (unlike the legs, which may be completely paralyzed— in that variant called Little’s disease, or cerebral diplegia). ’s hands were mildly spastic and athetotic, but her sensory capacities—as I now rapidly determined—were completely intact: she immediately and correctly identified light touch, pain, temperature, passive movement of the fingers.
The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat: And Other Clinical Tales by Oliver Sacks