Oliver Sacks, a scientist and author, died today at age 82. I am not in a position to say anything qualified, except that he wrote amazing books describing human neurological conditions in his unique, endearing, caring, and fascinating style. Oliver Sacks was diagnosed with cancer. He knew the end of this life was coming and wrote a last, moving essay in the New York Times.
Here is a brief, to the point excerpt:
“Over the last few days, I have been able to see my life as I feel intensely alive, and I want and hope in the time that remains to deepen my friendships, to say farewell to those I love, to write more, to travel if I have the strength, to achieve new levels of understanding and insight.
I feel a sudden clear focus and perspective. There is no time for anything inessential. I must focus on myself, my work and my friends. I shall no longer look at “NewsHour” every night. I shall no longer pay any attention to politics or arguments about global warming.
This is not indifference but detachment — I still care deeply about the Middle East, about global warming, about growing inequality, but these are no longer my business; they belong to the future.”