Oliver Sacks

Oliver
Sacks
1933
2015

British-American Neurologist, Naturalist and Author who explored the brain’s strangest pathways, best known for Movies: Awakenings, The Music Never Stopped, and At First Sight as well as for his Books: The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat, On the Move: A Life, and Musicophilia

Author Quotes

But who was more tragic, or who was more damned?the man who knew it, or the man who did not?

Darwin speculated that ?music tones and rhythms were used by our half-human ancestors, during the season of courtship, when animals of all kinds are excited not only by love, but by strong passions of jealousy, rivalry, and triumph? and that speech arose, secondarily, from this primal music.

Enhancement not only allows the possibilities of a healthy fullness and exuberance, but of a rather ominous extravagance, aberration, monstrosity ... This danger is built into the very nature of growth and life. Growth can become over-growth, life 'hyper-life' ... The paradox of an illness which can present as wellness - as a wonderful feeling of health and well-being, and only later reveal its malignant potentials - is one of the chimaeras, tricks and ironies of nature.

Half of us are plugged into iPods, immersed in daylong concerts of our own choosing, virtually oblivious to the environment ? and for those who are not plugged in, there is nonstop music, unavoidable and often deafening intensity in restaurants, bars, shops, and gyms. This barrage of music puts a certain strain on our exquisitely sensitive auditory systems, which cannot be overloaded without dire consequences.

I am a storyteller, for better and for worse. I suspect that a feeling for stories, for narrative, is a universal human disposition, going with our powers of language, consciousness of self, and autobiographical memory.

I had been to Amsterdam a couple of times with Eric; we loved the museums and the Concertgebouw (it was here that I first heard Benjamin Britten?s Peter Grimes, in Dutch). We loved the canals lined with tall, stepped houses; the old Hortus Botanicus and the beautiful seventeenth-century Portuguese synagogue; the Rembrandt with its open-air caf‚s; the fresh herrings sold in the streets and eaten on the spot; and the general atmosphere of cordiality and openness which seemed peculiar to the city.

I never use one adjective if six seem to me better and, in their cumulative effect, more incisive. I am haunted by the density of reality and try to capture this with (in Clifford Geertz?s phrase) thick description.

Author Picture
First Name
Oliver
Last Name
Sacks
Birth Date
1933
Death Date
2015
Bio

British-American Neurologist, Naturalist and Author who explored the brain’s strangest pathways, best known for Movies: Awakenings, The Music Never Stopped, and At First Sight as well as for his Books: The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat, On the Move: A Life, and Musicophilia