Tuesday, September 05, 2017

The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat: And Other Clinical Tales

The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat covers odd neurological conditions. The eponymous man was a music professor that could communicate great with music. However, visually he was lost. He could not tell the difference between his wife and a hat. He had difficulty with all things visual, but no problem with music. Another man was stuck in 1945. He would forget anything new that happened more than a minute ago. There were also tales of people that lost their sense of "self". A man would find a foreign leg in the bed and throw it out, only to throw himself out of a bed. A woman lost her sense of self, and only with great difficulty would force her body to move. However, unlike losing the sense of sight, she did not appear to be so disabled, and thus suffered from harassment from others. There is also the tale of twins that were very low on the intelligence meter, but could identify large primes and calculate the day of the week over thousand year time spans. One man used his nervous ticks to improvise on drumming. When medication helped him not have the ticks, he skipped taking it on weekends so he could continue to have the creative impulses.
With many of these people they have lost some basic ability that we see common, yet they still have other areas that they can contribute to society. We can help them to utilize their special talents. Society has this narrow understanding of "normal". We like to pride ourselves on accepting "differences". However, these differences seem to be in the narrow band of standard behavior. Some of the more extreme differences may make it much more difficult for us to interact with others. However, these could also provide positive experiences for the people and society as a whole.

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