Oliver Sacks, a celebrated neurologist and author of numerous books, has peacefully died in his New York home at the age of 82. First time I learned about Oliver Sacks was from the New York Times article published back in May, where he released the statement on losing his longtime battle with cancer. It’s a shame it took so long for me to find him, it’s a bigger shame to lose him so soon.
I may be dying, but I’m not done with living. As he once was telling great stories of life, he is now teaching us the art of dying. It’s not without the fear. Fear cannot be concealed under veneer of optimism or nobility, neither can it be demonised for it’s undeniability. It’s real and fear of death is just as natural as our fear of life, but where is fear, is hope. And even on the death bed, we don’t lose the hope, hope for something bigger than us, something larger than life. Not all of us have the privilege of reflecting upon our lives in our final hour, yet those who can, express the clarity which can only be learned in the face of death – gratitude for living.
Whenever someone genius passes away I treat it as a great loss for humanity. When somebody like Oliver Sacks passes away, a little bit of hope dies away in me. I can’t help but project the dystopian ideas onto this world, being widely aware that despite achieving the highest level of technological and scientific evolution, we are in fact experiencing the days of decadence, the darkness of the soul and ignorance of the mind.
I have been increasingly conscious, for the last 10 years or so, of deaths among my contemporaries. My generation is on the way out, and each death I have felt as an abruption, a tearing away of part of myself. 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. – Dr. Oliver Sacks
Oliver Sacks has gained an un usual popularity with the public, unlike any other physician. Mainly for his exquisite talent for writing. His eloquence and ability to transcribe a human tragedy into a story of unique characters with the past and future, despite their tragic present. Never have I been engaged in a scientific book as I was in Awakenings, which despite all of it’s medical terminology, captivated me unlike any other stories I’ve read. Despite criticism coming from scientists in the field, Dr. Sacks wasn’t looking into the traditional pathology on human neurological condition.
His insatiable curiosity and imagination has stirred the conventional diagnosis and shone the light of consciousness upon anyone who was open to see it. We tend to generalise neurological conditions as a mere defect of the human form, but what if a neurological condition is a different way of conceptualising the world, translating signals and vibrations from the universe in a unique way, think which is alien to conventional medicine and science. Dr. Oliver Sacks was went through his life illuminating darkest corners of human perception. He spoke to human soul clearer than any scientist ever could.
RIP Dr. Oliver Sacks