Commonplace Book # 13

“But it must be said from the outset that a disease is never a mere loss or excess – that there is always a reaction, on the part of the affected organism or individual, to restore, to replace, to compensate for and to preserve its identity, however strange the means may be . . . “ – Sacks, Oliver. The Man who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, and Other Clinical Tales. Summit: New York, 1985. pg 6

Compensation is an amazing thing. Science is often unable to explain how people manage to recover from certain conditions. I have read accounts about the brain that are absolutely fascinating.

My favourite superhero is Daredevil. He is a blind man whose only super power is that the rest of his senses are all heightened. He can actually “see” all around himself in a sort of built in radar. His powers were the result of accidentally being dosed with radioactive chemicals. However, my favourite storyline in the comics dealt with him losing his powers. His trainer and confidant told him that it was never the radiation that endowed him with powers. He said that everyone had this ability but had forgotten how to use it.

It is possible that we don’t really know how to use our minds and bodies to their fullest potential. That is why they can act on our behalf to compensate when need be. It is a fascinating topic, definitely worth more exploration.