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The paper will cover elements of Greg's condition and how it has influenced his lifestyle and how it may affect his future. It will cover the neurology and psychology of Greg's memory loss and how it comes to be that Oliver Sacks classes him as such an important case.
The Story of the Last Hippie
“The Last Hippie” refers to a man known by the name Greg F., who participated in many of the things associated with the 1960s, including the use of drugs to achieve higher consciousness and political activism. In this way, Greg can be said to have been a typical 1960s teenager, experimenting with counter culture and many things that had been unavailable or undesirable to previous generations. Oliver Sacks suggests that Greg enjoyed the music of the 1960s, attending concerts by the Grateful Dead and other such typical musical bands at the time. It was during this phase that Greg became interested in religion, and decided to attend a Hare Krishna temple and eventually became a member of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. It was here that some of Greg's neurological symptoms became evident, although the members of the temple interpreted these as signs that Greg was a particularly holy member of the congregation, dedicated to meditation and Krishna.
Greg was defined by those at the temple for his lack of 'worldly concern' and his freedom from desire, both physically and materially. These are two important things to the Hare Krishna community and many of those who are involved in the work of the temple strive for many years to achieve this state. In the case of Greg, he began to develop these traits almost immediately after joining. He also became known for his 'transcendent smile', something which was reminiscent of the very holiest people within the Hare Krishna community. After being a member of the temple for some time, Greg became revered and admired. Greg even began to go blind, and his eventual total blindness was seen by the community as further evidence of his holiness and his full and true participation in the community and its ways. Whilst the Hare Krishna community was in full admiration of this Buddha-like character, there were those who were wary and even concerned for Greg's health. His parents had been watching his progress within the International Society for Krishna Consciousness and noticed the differences in their son. Whilst they were pleased that their son had stopped using drugs to achieve higher states of consciousness, and pleased that he seemed to have found his place in the world, they were concerned that his state was evidence of something more sinister. They were also concerned that all communication from the New Orleans temple had stopped, and they were no longer in continuous contact with their son. His eventual blindness was the straw that broke the camel's back, and they decided to contact the health authorities and Oliver Sacks to see if there was anything lurking behind the 'transcendent smile' that their son had adopted permanently. They were right in their concern, as it turned out that Greg had a massive brain tumour which had resulted in all the symptoms that the Hare Krishna community mistook for holiness. Greg's Disorder & Future After this intervention from Greg's parents, it is
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