Do you guys know how lucky we are to live in a world where a man like this also lived?
I've been tearing through his autobiography and can't wait to move through the rest of his essays and novels.
I am grateful to whichever stroke of good luck and fortune and brilliance I stumbled upon for introducing me to this man and his heart and his mind (Radiolab, probably).
Dr. Sacks was a world-renowned physician, a neurologist, a scientist and an artist and a human of the highest order (can I say that? I will). What set him apart was his heart. His empathy. His desire to understand the people around him, his ability to avoid the easy answer and rote generalities we rely on when things spin beyond our control. When Dr. Sacks was diagnosed with terminal cancer, he wrote some of the most beautiful, inspiring, heart-breaking essays (collected in this book now, but first published in the New York Times - here's a link to one of them) I have ever read.
This was a man like none other, not least for his curiosity, his capacity to keep exploring, to seek the human element that lies at the base of every sensory experience. He had adventure and he sought more; he explored and experimented and learned and lost; he loved his family and his friends and his patients and his work; he wrote about it all in a way that allows every ready to feel the enchantment he did for the night sky, the scientific method, ancient traditions of his faith.
It has been an honor and a privilege to read his words. I know that's trite and cliche but having never met the man, it is inspiring to know that such a person existed, and has influenced others, and whose impact is immeasurable. Maybe there are more out there like him - that thought comforts me on good days and bad.
Thank you, Dr. Sacks.