“I kinda thought it was. Oliver Sacks (1933–2015) was a physician and the author of over ten books, the most recent of which is On the Move: A Life. “It’s a picture of the earth taken from the moon.”, “Doc, you’re kidding! And what he typed, he typed mechanically—he could not hold the thought—the short sentences following one another in a meaningless order. If Jim was briefly “held” by a task or puzzle or game or calculation, held in the purely mental challenge of these, he would fall apart as soon as they were done, into the abyss of his nothingness, his amnesia. He still has the severest, most devastating Korsakov’s, cannot remember isolated items for more than a few seconds, and has a dense amnesia going back to 1945. “Why, I guess I’m nineteen, Doc. “I have no feeling or evidence,” the psychiatrist wrote, “of any hysterical or ‘put-on’ deficit. In August, 1498, three months into his Third Voyage, Christopher Columbus found himself sailing toward the nipple of the world. He then paused and said, “It could have been you!” When I said it was me, he seemed amused. Xena cleverly evades Basculis' men, who have been ordered to capture her, while keeping sight of Cecrops' vessel as it rounds the shore. This was the case in 1975, and it is still the case now nine years later. His older brother was in dental school and engaged to a girl, a “real beauty,” from California. Then we turned up a short nasty report from Bellevue Hospital, dated 1971, saying that he was “totally disoriented … with an advanced organic brain-syndrome, due to alcohol” (cirrhosis had also developed by this time). I had already, unthinkingly, pushed him into panic, and felt it was time to end our session. Jimmie’s scientific knowledge was that of a bright high school graduate with a penchant for mathematics and science. Maybe I work here…. Overcome by grief at the death of his friend, Cecrops returns to his cabin where he is visited by Poseidon. Jim, it seemed, had never “settled down,” was “happy-go-lucky,” and “always a drinker.” The navy, his brother felt, provided a structure, a life, and the real problems started when he left it, in 1965. He almost never gets lost or disoriented in the garden now; he patterns it, I think, on loved and remembered gardens from his youth in Pennsylvania. “No, I can’t say we have. “Real ultramodern design. He loves his brother, he recognizes him, but he cannot understand why he looks so old: “Guess some people age fast,” he says. Xena manages to make it to a nearby island but Gabrielle, having drifted back into deep water, is picked up by the cursed ship of Cecrops, the Lost Mariner. But once his ship reaches the outer edge of Charybdis, Xena is the only one willing to climb up to the crow's nest to navigate the boat through the treacherous waters. And ‘here’—where’s ‘here,’ what is this place anyhow?”, “I was just going to ask you—where do you think you are?”, “I see these beds, and these patients everywhere. There was no forgetting, no Korsakov’s then, nor did it seem possible or imaginable that there should be; for he was no longer at the mercy of a faulty and fallible mechanism—that of meaningless sequences and memory traces—but was absorbed in an act, an act of his whole being, which carried feeling and meaning in an organic continuity and unity, a continuity and unity so seamless it could not permit any break. You just have to have faith.”. But rather than give in to the furious god, Cecrops tosses the sword up to Xena, allowing her to free herself, before he jumps overboard. Jimmie was still standing by the window, gazing with pleasure at the kids playing baseball below. (If a man has lost a leg or an eye, he knows he has lost a leg or an eye; but if he has lost a self—himself—he cannot know it, because he is no longer there to know it.) There had been some memory impairment, of the Korsakov type, in the middle and especially the late Sixties, but not so severe that Jimmie couldn’t “cope” in his nonchalant fashion. “It’s just a mistake. These then are true meetings, Jim’s only connection of past and present, yet they do nothing to provide any sense of history or continuity. When the wood mast cracks, Xena becomes entangled the rigging and is trapped in the crow's nest. There was a cyclone (hurricane) just offshore during the filming of this episode. “Nice morning! Moreover, they were trivial—“Eggs for breakfast,” “Watched ballgame on TV”—and never touched the depths. Fully, intensely, quietly, in the quietude of absolute concentration and attention, he entered and partook of the Holy Communion. “Hiya, Doc!” he said. What should we do? Therefore I could not question him intellectually about such matters. “I know ’em all by name, and I don’t know a Nimitz…. He was quick-witted, observant, and logical, and had no difficulty solving complex problems and puzzles—no difficulty, that is, if they could be done quickly. He had “gone to pieces,” his brother said, when he ceased to work in 1965. The storm begins to abate as Cecrops sails towards the whirlpool. And Jim was human—all too human—or was he? “It isn’t that, someone loves me! From Bellevue he was sent to a wretched dump in the Village, a so-called “nursing home” whence he was rescued—lousy, starving—by our Home in 1975. He has feeling, will, sensibilities, moral being—matters of which neuropsychology cannot speak. Is this a nightmare? “What year is this, Mr. R.?” I asked, concealing my perplexity under a casual manner. “I cannot say I feel ill. And so was Luria, whose words now came back to me: “A man does not consist of memory alone. Life without memory is no life at all…. Character. Xena and Gabrielle are aboard a merchant vessel being chased by pirates when the ship is suddenly forced onto the shoreline rocks and destroyed. He spoke in his reply of his patient Bel,2 whose amnesia had retroactively eradicated ten years. I had wondered, when I first met him, if he were not condemned to a sort of “Humean” froth, a meaningless fluttering on the surface of life, and whether there was any way of transcending the incoherence of his Humean disease.


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