In "The Mind's Eye, "Oliver Sacks tells the stories of people who
are able to navigate the world and communicate with others despite
losing what many of us consider indispensable senses and abilities:
the power of speech, the capacity to recognize faces, the sense of
three-dimensional space, the ability to read, the sense of sight.
For all of these people, the challenge is to adapt to a radically
new way of being in the world.
There is Lilian, a concert pianist who becomes unable to read music
and is eventually unable even to recognize everyday objects, and
Sue, a neurobiologist who has never seen in three dimensions, until
she suddenly acquires stereoscopic vision in her fifties.
There is Pat, who reinvents herself as a loving grandmother and
active member of her community, despite the fact that she has
aphasia and cannot utter a sentence, and Howard, a prolific
novelist who must find a way to continue his life as a writer even
after a stroke destroys his ability to read.
And there is Dr. Sacks himself, who tells the story of his own eye
cancer and the bizarre and disconcerting effects of losing vision
to one side.
Sacks explores some very strange paradoxes--people who can see
perfectly well but cannot recognize their own children, and blind
people who become hyper-visual or who navigate by "tongue vision."
He also considers more fundamental questions: How do we see? How do
we think? How important is internal imagery--or vision, for that
matter? Why is it that, although writing is only five thousand
years old, humans have a universal, seemingly innate, potential for
The Mind's Eye" is a testament to the complexity of vision and the
brain and to the power of creativity and adaptation. And it
provides a whole new perspective on the power of language and
communication, as we try to imagine what it is to see with another
person's eyes, or another person's mind.
"From the Hardcover edition."
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