The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat
by Oliver Sacks
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What is this quality of mind, this disposition, which characterises the simple, and gives them their poignant innocence, transparency, completeness, and dignity – a quality so distinctive we must speak of the 'world' of the simple (as we speak of the 'world' of the child or the savage)? If we are to use a single word here, it would have to be 'concreteness' – their world is vivid, intense, detailed, yet simple, precisely because it is concrete: neither complicated, diluted, nor unified, by abstraction.
EndriusEndrius added a quotation
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What is this quality of mind, this disposition, which characterises the simple, and gives them their poignant innocence, transparency, completeness, and dignity – a quality so distinctive we must speak of the 'world' of the simple (as we speak of the 'world' of the child or the savage)? If we are to... More
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But does Mr Thompson himself know this, feel this? After finding him 'a riot', 'a laugh', 'loads of fun', people are disquieted, even terrified, by something in him. 'He never stops,' they say. 'He's like a man in a race, a man trying to catch something which always eludes him.' And, indeed, he can never stop running, is never healed, but as to be bridged, to be 'patched', every second. And the bridges, the patches, for all their brilliance, fail to work – because they are confabulations, fictions, which cannot do service for reality, while also failing to correspond with reality. Does Mr Thompson feel this? Or, again, what is his 'feeling of reality'? Is he in a torment all the while – the torment of a man lost in unreality, struggling to rescue himself, but sinking himself, by ceaseless inventions, illusions, themselves quite unreal?
EndriusEndrius added a quotation
00
But does Mr Thompson himself know this, feel this? After finding him 'a riot', 'a laugh', 'loads of fun', people are disquieted, even terrified, by something in him. 'He never stops,' they say. 'He's like a man in a race, a man trying to catch something which always eludes him.' And, indeed, he can ... More