"What a paradox, what a cruelty, what an irony, there is here- that inner life and imagination may lie dull and dormant unless released, awakened, by an intoxication or disease"
A human poses the ability to develop specific talents in order to compensate for a deficiency in other areas. In an extreme view, Oliver Sacks explains how he, a neurologist and psychiatrist, witnesses these talents brought out by a disease. Many individuals, overlooked by society and classical science as 'challenged', have developed great talents in the mist of their severe illnesses.
By stepping away from the contradictions between classical 'mindless' neurology and 'bodiless' psychiatry, Sacks is able to observe gifts in certain individuals who are severely affected by psychological or physical illnesses. Because he can escape this classical way of defining illnesses, he looks beyond a patient's limitations and into his gifts that have been caused or brought out by a disease.
In The President's Speech, Sacks observes a group of aphasiacs unable to understand actual words, only tones and rhetoric, laughing at the President's emotional speech, "We normals...by our wish to be fooled, were indeed...And so cunningly was deceptive word-use combined with deceptive tone, that only the brain damaged remained intact, undeceived" (Sacks 84). These aphasiacs, who are afflicted by illness, could hear beyond what was being said and could decipher the President's true tone into what he was saying. Instead of being fooled, like those without this ailment, they understood more than words and the rhetoric comical. What he was really saying, instead of what he wanted us to hear, was humorous.
Ray, another Patient of Sacks', who suffered from Tourettes, came to him looking for a way to solve his 'tics', for they were aliening him from society. He excelled in various games that took...