Dr. Oliver Sacks died last month on August 30th, 2015.
Dr. Sacks was a very influential figure in the field of neuroscience. He was well known for studying rare, odd, and interesting brain disorders. He published numerous books that documented some of the more interesting case studies he worked on. One of his most well known books is The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat. One of the essays in this book provides an account of Dr. Sacks’ work with a man who had difficulty perceiving objects and faces. When leaving a session with Dr. Sacks, this man tried to lift his wife’s head because he perceived it to be his hat. This is just one example of the very interesting case studies Dr. Sacks wrote about. Another book of his: Awakenings, was made into a very popular film staring Robin Williams and Robert De Niro in the 90s.
After learning that his cancer had spread to his liver and he had 9 months to live, Dr. Sacks continued working on publications, including an autobiography entitled On the Move which was released recently. In his autobiography, he publicly revealed himself to be gay for the first time and talked about the difficulties surrounding being closeted for most of his life and celibate for over 35 years. Read The tragic story of Oliver Sacks’s celibacy published in the washington post for more about this.
In one of his last interviews, Dr. Sacks Talked with Robin Krulwich on NPR’s Radio Lab. In this interview Dr. Sachs talked a little about his life, his cancer, being gay, drugs, and indigo (anybody who knows Oliver Sacks knows the indigo story). The video below is set to play at the point where the interview begins.
Dr. Sacks, thank you for your contributions to the study of the brain and for publishing some of my most favorite psychology books. I hope that you got to experience indigo again.
Joe Borders, MFT
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