R.I.P. Oliver Sacks

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Dutch Uncle

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R.I.P. Oliver Sacks
« on: September 01, 2015, 12:44:31 PM »
This weekend the neurologist Oliver Sacks passed away.

This thread is to celebrate his life, his work, and the man himself.
You may know him through the movie-adaptation of one of his works: a book on how he treated, as a young MD, people suffering from 'sleep-decease' with a new drug, L-dopa. The movie is "Awakenings", with Robert DeNiro and Robin Williams (as Oliver Sacks).

Here is a TED-talk by him on hallucinations.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SgOTaXhbqPQ#t=808

I first got to 'know' Oliver Sacks in 1993 when he featured in a TV-series on (what I would summarize as): "the nature of our consciousness".
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Glorious_Accident
(the premise of the series is that our consciousness is a Glorious Accident as a byproduct of evolution. The inspiration for the title has come from Shakespeare:

Prospero:
Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits, and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp'd tow'rs, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.

The Tempest Act 4, scene 1, 148158

The whole series has been posted on YouTube, though I can't watch it, due to the original broadcaster having it had blocked for my country. (I have the book though, with full transcripts of the interviews  ;D )
Quite possibly it's blocked for many more countries/regions, but I'l post the link anyway.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wL3C-gVusyE&list=PLpwW1A7bLV_yxWe9_l7rt4X09plJ6SFLw&index=1

In honor of his life, the broadcaster has aired the episode with Oliver Sacks yesterday, and made it available as a video-stream once more for me, temporary no doubt. . But possibly this is not available outside my region.
http://www.npo.nl/een-schitterend-ongeluk-oliver-sacks/31-08-2015/VPWON_1248827
The interview with Oliver Sachs is in English, while there is some 'narrative' in Dutch in between. Not much is lost if you miss out on that.

The series has made a profound impact on my life when I saw it in my mid 20's.
And so have quite a few books by Oliver Sachs I've read since.

Thank you so much, Oliver Sacks, for having been among us.  :thumbup: and  :applause: and  :hug:

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woodsgnome

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Re: R.I.P. Oliver Sacks
« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2015, 03:58:17 PM »
Kudos and thanks for that heartfelt tribute to one of the world's best guides of this wacky thing called the mind. His absence will create a huge void in the still new field of understanding ourselves, and his work was of universal importance.

Speaking of interpretation--I did find the Dutch link. All of the links you posted are insightful and useful...THANK YOU for that! And thank you for sharing the huge impact he's had on your personal journey. :yes:

Those lines from Prospero's speech are some of my favourites. The Canadian singer Loreena McKennitt adapted it for a tune she wrote a while back, and I'll close with her words:

 And now my charms are all o'erthrown
And what strength I have's mine own
Which is most faint; now t'is true
I must be here confined by you

But release me from my bands
With the help of your good hands
Gentle breath of yours my sails
Must fill, or else my project fails,
Which was to please.
Which was to please.
Now I want spirits to enforce, art to enchant
And my ending is despair,
Unless I be relieved by prayer

Which pierces so that it assaults
Mercy itself and frees all faults
As you from crimes would pardon'd be
Let your indulgence set me free

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sc5WPpqn13k
 

Take care, Dutch Uncle.  :hug:

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tiggerd2

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Re: R.I.P. Oliver Sacks
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2015, 01:21:49 AM »
He was/is great. His insight was amazing. I love his books. He is one the people who I wish I could sit down and talk to for hours

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missbliss

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Re: R.I.P. Oliver Sacks
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2015, 07:04:55 AM »
Apparently this man possessed empathy which took him far into the recesses of the minds of those that suffered.

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tiggerd2

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Re: R.I.P. Oliver Sacks
« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2015, 01:10:18 PM »
truly