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Sacks vs Freud Different Beliefs Different Treatments Whether Oliver Sacks had a desire to cure people suffering from strange mental illnesses or whether he was simply studying the people for his own interest in the concept of illness itself is seemingly without question in The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat From the Preface when he states the sick and their sickness drives me to thoughts which perhaps I might otherwise not have Sacks vii and throughout the collection of stories Sacks is never so concerned with actually curing and diagnosing the person as much as he is concerned with studying them Granted most of these diseases at the time were virtually untreatable but the attitude Sacks reflects is still very interesting in this respect It is this area of his work his study which provides him with the greatest pleasure Sacks attempts to develop in his studies what Barbara McClintock would refer to as a Feeling for the Organism by becoming so intimately involved with the object in question that a greater understanding is reached In contrast to Sacks situation then is the system of Sigmund Freud While we have concluded that Sacks loves the idea of studying his patients more than helping them Freuds main purpose is to establish the problem and then explain how he knew this and why he is right The main difference then is essentially that Freud always thinks he is right To show this difference I will concentrate on the specific short story The Man Who Mistook as well as the First Lecture in Freuds Five Lectures on Psycho-Analysis P a music teacher whose associates have questioned his perception is referred by his ophthalmologist to the neurologist Oliver Sacks Through his interviews with P Sacks eventually realizes that P has some kind of mental dysfunction which impairs his ability to recognize objects using sight Only when accompanied by music can P
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