Friday, April 17, 2009

That Crazy Guy

Everyone has seen at least one guy that kinda' scares the hell out of you.
You know the guy - always walking around talking to people who aren't there.
But maybe these guys have a better ability to see the truth than the rest of us
Maybe this can offer some insight into whether visions are actually a more clear sense of reality.


cnulan said...

In Oliver Sacks’ remarkable book, “The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales,” Dr. Sacks detailed the reactions of people with aphasia as they viewed a televised speech by President Ronald Reagan. While the multiple language and speech problems of aphasia can be caused by any disease or injury to the brain, the most common cause is stroke. Since this condition can often be masked and difficult to diagnose, Sacks found that some people with aphasia, when addressed “naturally,” could grasp some or most of the meaning of one’s words. Thus, he was compelled to utilize an unusual approach in his treatment. In order to satisfactorily confirm their condition as aphasia, Dr. Sacks stated that he had to go to “extraordinary lengths, as a neurologist, to speak and behave un-naturally, to remove all the extra-verbal clues-tone of voice, intonation, suggestive emphasis or inflection, as well as all visual cues (one’s gestures, one’s entirely unconscious, personal repertoire and posture).” Such de-personalizing of voice renders speech devoid of tone or color. It is this machine-like way of talking that will usually be unrecognizable to people with aphasia and quite possibly cause them to laugh at the incomprehensible sounds being uttered. The words mean nothing, it is the way they are spoken that matters. Through such unusual treatment, Sacks was able to truly demonstrate his patients’ aphasia. Quite unexpectedly, this peculiar method exposed a rather fascinating side-effect: political savvy. In the mid-eighties, Sacks studied the reaction of people with aphasia as they watched a televised speech by the former-actor-turned-president. Despite being unable to grasp the skillful politician’s words, the patients were convulsed in laughter.

“One cannot lie to an aphasiac,” Dr. Sacks noted. “He cannot grasp your words, and so cannot be deceived by them; but what he grasps, he grasps with infallible precision, namely the expression that goes with the words, that total spontaneous, involuntary expressiveness which can never be simulated or faked, as words alone can, all too easily.” So, why did those patients with aphasia cackle at Reagan’s speech? “It was the grimaces, the histrionics, the false gestures and, above all, the false tones and cadences of the voice which rang false for these wordless but immensely sensitive patients,” explained Sacks. Conversely, Sacks remarked on a woman with tonal agnosia who was also watching the address-stony-faced. Emily D., a former English teacher and poet, was deprived of any emotional reaction to the speech but was able to judge it in the opposite way the patients with aphasia did. Her response? “He does not speak good prose,” Emily D. told Sacks. “His word-use is improper. Either he is brain-damaged or he has something to conceal.”

“We normals,” concluded Dr. Sacks, “aided, doubtless, by our wish to be fooled, were indeed well and truly fooled. And so cunningly was deceptive word-use combined with deceptive tone, that only the brain-damaged remained intact, undeceived.”

Aphasics can perceive facial micro-expressions.

cnulan said...

You may find this interesting in general and this in particular in the context of cultures rooted in alternative or archaic modalities of consciousness. The very fact of facial microexpressions, a la Paul Ekman is definitive proof of some very important facts concerning the nexus of actual control, (vs. the subjective illusion of control) of the activities of our organism inclusive of "thought" which even when unspoken is always sub-vocalized.

Freeman Press said...

That picture is disturbing man! I hate running into the guys with no teeth looking like a hippo with their mouth open.

RunningMom said...

I've seen that pic before - it is quite disturbing. That guy should get some free dentures or implants for the use of his wide open mouth all over the internet.

Thought the mask pic was cool, but the picture was meant to be deceiving. In real life an inverted space will be cast in shadow not light. The indication of light (white brush strokes) where shadow should be, creates the illusion that the features are not inverted.