Oliver Sacks (1933-2015) was an influential British-born neurologist and bestselling author whose clinical and yet anecdotal writing style stresses the inalienable dignity of human beings suffering from neurological disorders.
His work looks at how patients with neurological disorders cope and, in so doing, explores the notion of body/soul interaction in both ‘disabled’ and ‘normal’ people.
He appeared in Wim Kayzer‘s 1994 video series, A Glorious Accident: Understanding Our Place in the Cosmic Puzzle, along with Rupert Sheldrake, Stephen Jay Gould, Daniel Dennet and other major figures who, at the time, were at the cutting edge of their respective fields.
Sacks’ overt holism is best illustrated in his own words: “Mozart makes me a better neurologist.”
Sacks was a shy person, to the point where he called shyness a “disease.”¹ He spent many years in the closet, first as sexually active and then as a celibate, until he found a male partner with whom he shared his home.² His book Awakenings (1973) was made into a film, nominated for an Academy Award in 1990.