Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Mind's Eye - Oliver Sacks

I am fascinated by neurological disorders - and the idea that because they are often so difficult to diagnose, people often think other things are going on, like failing eyesight or general insanity. Alas, I am not a very scientificly minded person (brain disorder, I guess), so I really appreciate the accessible way that Sacks writes his books - with colorful characters and interesting anecdotes. The Mind's Eye presents individuals who have suffered the loss of one of their senses - from the seemingly straightforward loss of sight to the strange loss of the ability to read (while maintaining the ability to write) and the sense of three dimensional space. Sacks spends a good portion of the book writing about his own struggle with the inability to recognize faces. This I found incredible, and gave a whole new understanding to people who consider themselves "bad with faces" and provides an excuse for that person you've met 10 times but still doesn't seem to recognize you when you run into them on the street. As with his other books, the mind's ability to adapt and compensate for loss is explored. This book also raises the fear in me that one of these incomprehensible afflictions could strike me at any time...but also gives me hope that there are brilliant minds like Dr. Sacks out there studying the brain and hopefully finding solutions to these crazy problems.

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