By a sort of inversion, or subversion, of the natural order of things, concreteness is often seen by neurologists as a wretched thing, beneath consideration, incoherent, regressed. Thus for Kurt Goldstein, the greatest systematiser of his generation, the mind, man's glory, lies wholly in the abstract and categorical, and the effect of brain damage, any and all brain damage, is to cast him out from this high realm into the almost subhuman swamplands of the concrete. If a man loses the 'abstract-categorical attitude' (Goldstein), or 'prepositional thought' (Hughlings Jackson), what remains is subhuman, of no moment or interest.

I call this an inversion because the concrete is elemental-it is what makes reality 'real', alive personal and meaningful. All of this is lost if the concrete is lost - as we saw in the case of the “almost-Martian Dr P., 'the man who mistook his wife for a hat', who fell (in an un-Goldsteinian way) from the concrete to the abstract.
Much easier to comprehend, and altogether more natural, is the idea of the preservation of the concrete in brain damage-not regression to it, but preservation of it, so that the essential personality and identity and humanity, the being of the hurt creature, is preserved.

Oliver Sacks, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales, 1985

@темы: sacks, oliver, s, psychology, english: anglo-american, 20