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Anthropologist on Mars

In: English and Literature

Submitted By steff225
Words 1046
Pages 5
Steffany Guzman
ENG24
Paper #1 “ The universe is not only queerer that we imagine, but queerer than we can imagine” (J.B.S Haldane). People with disabilities are perceived in a different matter. Sometimes they are pulled away from society because they are somewhat odd to what the human nature is. Nevertheless, these individuals may be terrified by the damages of developmental disorder forcing an unexpected growth and evolution. Others may see it as creative or as a special gift bringing out special powers, something unimaginable in their aspect of life. Dr. Sacks, an extraordinary neurologist specializes in the exploration of mentally disordered people. He gets personal with these people engaging a relationship with them so that he can explore not just the neurological disease but also the person,” I don’t try to get outside the man. I try to get inside”(Oliver Sacks). Studying the case of each person he visits his patients by observing the way they live, the way they interact with other people and the way they develop their skills. A typical neurologist spend most of the their time in hospitals or clinics treating their patients, just like Dr. Sacks did for twenty five years. It was not until now, when he stopped treating patients in hospitals. The reason he chose to approach his patients this way is to explore his subjects’ lifestyles. Nevertheless, it gives him a better chance to get to know the different types of mental disordered people and how each and everyone of them develop other forms of life. However, his intentions are not only to explore the complexity of the mental disease; he connects with his patients in special ways. Like in the case of Temple Grandin, one of the most remarkable autistic person Dr. Sacks met; had and extraordinary mind but couldn’t express feelings nor understand it. She also presented fear when being touched by any person, so any type of affection is confusing for her. Observing all this Dr. sacks connected with her trying to break that confusion she had towards affection. “ I was stunned. As I stepped out of the car to say goodbye, I said, “I’m going to hug you. I hope you don’t mind”. I hugged her and I think she hugged me back”(Sacks 296). Greg another patient of Dr. Sacks had amnesia, a very rare form of amnesia. He had damages in his frontal lobes from a brain tumor. After removing the tumor from his brain he could only recall things from the past. He believed he was still living in his past, not the present. Greg wasn’t able to capture new information because he would immediately forget everything. Yet, Dr. Sacks discovered how Greg had great passion for music. The way Sacks discovered his passion for music was by connecting with him throughout music. “ In March 1979 note about Greg, I reported that games, songs, verses, converse, etc, hold him together completely…because they have a organic rhythm and stream, a flowing of being, which comes and hold him”(Sacks 65). Dr. Sacks not only studies patients of his own, he also studies other people with the same condition that reach out to him or that he reaches out himself. For instance, in the case of Dr. Bennett, a surgeon whom he met at a scientific conference with Tourette’s syndrome struck Sacks curiosity. “When I expressed incredulity about his choice of profession, he invited me to visit and stay with him, where he lived and practiced, in the town of Branford- to do rounds in the hospital with him, to scrub with him, to see him in action”(79). Indeed Dr. Bennett was not Dr. Sacks patient but one of his human exploration subjects whom he studied by observing his altered yet fascinated lifestyle. Exploring the world of people with such diverse conditions like Tourette’s syndrome, autism, amnesia, and colorblindness was quite a challenge for the curious mind of Dr. Sacks. However, he managed to exemplify how the disease affects the ways in which these individuals know and understand themselves. All of them collided in unexpected ways. In the case of Greg, he was altered by his condition of amnesia. However, he was able to remember anything that was involved with music. “He not only had excellent memory for songs of the sixties, but was able to learn new songs easily, despite his difficulty in retaining any facts”(66). Another example would be Mr. I’s serious condition of colorblindness. For many years the disease affected him because he depended on color for almost his entire life as a painter until he lost his color vision because of an accident. In that matter, he was able to find his own identity by the powers of reconstruction and adaptation. “ In this sense, he started to be redefined by what had happened to him- redefined physiologically, psychologically, aesthetically- and with this there came a transformation of values, so that the total otherness, the alienness of his V1 world, which at first had such quality of horror and nightmares, came to take on for him a strange fascination and beauty”(35). Some of these individuals suffer from radically altered conditions, but they’ve managed to outcome those conditions by the act or evolution of survival and adaptation. The understanding and concepts of “normality” and “handicap” are reflected as a different way of the organism’s disposition to fit its special, altered needs. The term “handicap” and “norm” have no difference in my mind because we are all different. We are composed with our own special identity. We also think and see things differently. It is just like all these individuals who perceive life quite different from us, but are able to compose life in the same matter by adapting themselves with what they have. Temple Grandin exemplifies perfectly the identity and the uniqueness of us individuals. “ I want to have done something, I want to leave something behind. I want to make a positive contribution- know that my life has meaning”(Grandin 296). Indeed, we are all different, and we are all made different to stand out from one another, not to distinguish the means of “normality” and “handicap”.

Works Cited Page

Sacks, Oliver. 2012. An Anthropologist on Mars. New York: Vintage Books, 1995.…...

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