Found love at 77


Oliver Sacks | 1933 – 2015

The famous neurologist Olivier Sacks passed away last Sunday. His contributions to a more humane science have been praised all over the globe. Sacks had a very interesting and positive perspective on old age and he lived up to it.

Mainstream media has already produced some excellent material to recount Oliver Sacks fantastic life (links in the end of the article). The combination of his knowledge as a neurologist and his writing skills made him famous. He wrote several successful books about his patients disorders, consciousness, music, and ultimately about the human condition.

In a fantastic article published at the nytimes as he was about to turn 80 years old, he wrote about the joy of old age:

My father, who lived to 94, often said that the 80s had been one of the most enjoyable decades of his life. He felt, as I begin to feel, not a shrinking but an enlargement of mental life and perspective. One has had a long experience of life, not only one’s own life, but others’, too. One has seen triumphs and tragedies, booms and busts, revolutions and wars, great achievements and deep ambiguities, too. One has seen grand theories rise, only to be toppled by stubborn facts. One is more conscious of transience and, perhaps, of beauty. At 80, one can take a long view and have a vivid, lived sense of history not possible at an earlier age. I can imagine, feel in my bones, what a century is like, which I could not do when I was 40 or 60. I do not think of old age as an ever grimmer time that one must somehow endure and make the best of, but as a time of leisure and freedom, freed from the factitious urgencies of earlier days, free to explore whatever I wish, and to bind the thoughts and feelings of a lifetime together.” – Oliver Sacks

After a long period as a “lonely guy” he eventually found love at the age of 77. Justin Moyer from the WP decided to frame it as a tragedy. However, after reading and listening to many of Sacks’ interviews, I would guess a positive tone to would be fairer to his character. You can listen to this beautiful history spoken directly by him in his interview on Radiolab:

(it starts at 11’55’’ but the whole show is amazing!)

His TED presentation:


Oliver Sacks, Neurologist Who Wrote About the Brain’s Quirks, Dies at 82

Oliver Sacks: A Neurologist At The ‘Intersection Of Fact And Fable’

Oliver Sacks, the Doctor

Updated 01.09.2015 (4.15pm) typos and grammar errors

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