Oliver Saks, the incomparable neurologist, writer, and explorer of the human condition through whose compassionate voice "science became poetry," has died of cancer at 82. Through many years and until the end, Saks wrote with grace and clarity about the "enormous privilege and adventure” of being alive, of the right "of every human being to be a unique individual, to find his own path, to live his own life, to die his own death."
“Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and adventure.”
"There will be no one like us when we are gone, but then there is no one like anyone else, ever. When people die, they cannot be replaced. They leave holes that cannot be filled, for it is the fate — the genetic and neural fate — of every human being to be a unique individual, to find his own path, to live his own life, to die his own death"
An amazing human being. Glad he was here. So well put, these statements of his above. Thank good ness, that for all the holes we leave when gone, so many leave their mark, the ripples in the pond that keep widening. We should all be so lucky.
In The Man who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales, Oliver Saks provided me with the elegant anecdotal groundwork for a later epiphany. It seems to me that one of the conundrums haunting western/modern society is the all too commonly encountered badge of hierarchical power being the delusional assumption that it is 'functional' and appropriate for one person or society to claim the right to define the identity of another as being a component aspect of their own identity.
To family and friends of Oliver Saks - thank you for sharing this life so well lived - Oliver Saks presente!
This brought tears to my eyes. Farewell, gentle soul.
A lovely image of your own for more inspiration -- thank you.
I believe in an after-life either. But I don't need to read anything to feed my chronic depression and the bleak implications of his Judeo-western view of life and death cannot be escaped.
I much prefer the eastern traditions regarding life and death which described so well for westerners by Alan Watts. I'll need to dig through my old paperbacks to find the one particular essay of his on this topic. But basically the ideas is that, sentience is really just an emergent phenomenon of the universe being aware of itself. And all I am as an individual sentient being is as instance of this phenomenon arising. so wherever it arises in the future in any kind of sentient creature, we all will be there too - even if in our individual cases, it will be on the other side of a great "forgetfulness". You can call this a theory "weak reincarnation".
"This brought tears to my eyes." Me too, Plantman13