Oliver Sacks: Anthropologist of Mind.

In recent weeks the neurologist Oliver Sacks announced that he has terminal cancer: multiple metastases in the liver from a rare ocular melanoma he had nine years ago. He is 81. I have admired Sacks as a neurologist and a humanist since I first started to read him thirty years ago. Twenty years ago I wrote an essay about his approach to neurology for the magazine, Island. I have recently revisited that essay, titled Oliver Sacks: Anthropologist of Mind, and I have now posted it in PUBLISHED ESSAYS, in an act of on-going appreciation of a great medical man.

In the twenty years since I wrote the essay, there have been significant and positive changes in the way neurologists approach their work, spear-headed in large part by Sacks himself. In this regard there are snippets of the essay that are – fortunately – out of date. Neurologists today are much kinder, creative and whole-patient focussed than their colleagues of the last century. When it comes to Sacks himself, though, what I wrote back then, and the admiration that prompted the essay, holds true today.

6 thoughts on “Oliver Sacks: Anthropologist of Mind.

  1. Arthut

    I’ve always admired him also- his warmth, intelligence and humour. I’d enjoyed his books but after attending his lecture on Gille de la Tourette in Melbourne, I came to admire him as a person.

    Reply
  2. mary nastasi

    Hello Andrea the mind is the key. Recently setbacks have altered my existence. If we had the ability to place the setback thoughts on hold,then illness, pain would not enter our bodies. Though the experience would be lost. The other day in my mind I asked Dorothy if she is ok where she is The word I got was “suspended” I believe its her word as its not a word I would use Last night a friend purchased the movie “The Pianist” yet again a reminder of what a brilliant mind she has I remember her reviewing this with others

    Reply
      1. mary nastasi

        Andrea thanks The gold is in the days we have. Once where altered in mind and spirit we are changed forever.

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