Forms of existence and being

I recently discovered Oliver Sacks and am making my way through his memoir On The MoveSacks is a physician and author, and two of his famous books are Awakenings (also a movie and documentary) and The Man who Mistook is Wife for at Hat.

There are two central ideas that I have loved from the book. The first is about his approach to working with patients. He writes that he could never consider the symptoms presented to him by a patient without the context of who they were and how they lived. He would always spend time talking with his patients to understand as much about them as possible, which enable him to provide much better insights into their life and condition than making a quick assessment based on what they told  him in the first 2 minutes.

This idea fits in very nicely with another book I am reading called The Systems View of Life by Fitjof Capra and Pier Luigi Luisi.

The second central idea is the way he thinks about how his patients experience existence, and not considering things like autism and encephalitis solely as conditions to be one day fixed, but also as alternative ways of being and perceiving with their own positives and negatives.

I love that idea - it makes me think that my 'normal' way of experiencing the world could in fact be impaired in some ways. We know there is much of the light spectrum that humans cannot see; many sounds we cannot hear. What else am I unable to perceive and do that other people, some who are with us now and potentially lifeforms of the future, may be able to perceive and do? How much less than I thought I knew do I actually know?