Oliver Sacks Biography | Inspiration Quotations | Motivation Quotes

Oliver Sacks
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Oliver Sacks

Oliver Sacks Motivational Quotations:

  • "There will be no one like us when we are gone, but then there is no one like anyone else, ever. When people die, they cannot be replaced. They leave holes that cannot be filled, for it is the fate - the genetic and neural fate - of every human being to be a unique individual, to find his own path, to live his own life, to die his own death."

  • "Music can move us to the heights or depths of emotion. It can persuade us to buy something, or remind us of our first date. It can lift us out of depression when nothing else can. It can get us dancing to its beat. But the power of music goes much, much further. Indeed, music occupies more areas of our brain than language does-humans are a musical species."

  • "In examining disease, we gain wisdom about anatomy and physiology and biology. In examining the person with disease, we gain wisdom about life."

  • "To live on a day-to-day basis is insufficient; we need to transcend, transport, escape; we need meaning, understanding, and explanation; we need to see over-all patterns in our lives. We need hope, the sense of a future; the freedom to get beyond ourselves...in states of mind that allow us to rise above our immediate surroundings and see the beauty and value of the world we live in."

  • "Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and adventure."

  • "If we wish to know about a man, we ask 'what is his story--his real, inmost story?'--for each of us is a biography, a story. Each of us is a singular narrative, which is constructed, continually, unconsciously, by, through, and in us--through our perceptions, our feelings, our thoughts, our actions; and, not least, our discourse, our spoken narrations. Biologically, physiologically, we are not so different from each other; historically, as narratives--we are each of us unique."

  • "The power of music to integrate and cure. . . is quite fundamental. It is the profoundest nonchemical medication."

  • "My religion is nature. That’s what arouses those feelings of wonder and mysticism and gratitude in me."

  • "We see with the eyes, but we see with the brain as well. And seeing with the brain is often called imagination."

  • "Every act of perception, is to some degree an act of creation, and every act of memory is to some degree an act of imagination."

  • "People will make a life in their own terms, whether they are deaf or colorblind or autistic or whatever. And their world will be quite as rich and interesting and full as our world."​

    Oliver Sacks

  • "Music can lift us out of depression or move us to tears - it is a remedy, a tonic, orange juice for the ear. But for many of my neurological patients, music is even more - it can provide access, even when no medication can, to movement, to speech, to life. For them, music is not a luxury, but a necessity."
  • "Much more of the brain is devoted to movement than to language. Language is only a little thing sitting on top of this huge ocean of movement."

  • "The brain is more than an assemblage of autonomous modules, each crucial for a specific mental function. Every one of these functionally specialized areas must interact with dozens or hundreds of others, their total integration creating something like a vastly complicated orchestra with thousands of instruments, an orchestra that conducts itself, with an ever-changing score and repertoire."

  • "We now know that memories are not fixed or frozen, like Proust's jars of preserves in a larder, but are transformed, disassembled, reassembled, and recategorized with every act of recollection."

  • "If a man has lost a leg or an eye, he knows he has lost a leg or an eye; but if he has lost a self—himself—he cannot know it, because he is no longer there to know it."

  • "I cannot pretend I am without fear. But my predominant feeling is one of gratitude. I have loved and been loved; I have been given much and I have given something in return; I have read and traveled and thought and written. I have had an intercourse with the world, the special intercourse of writers and readers."

  • "We speak not only to tell other people what we think, but to tell ourselves what we think. Speech is a part of thought."

  • "Music, uniquely among the arts, is both completely abstract and profoundly emotional. It has no power to represent anything particular or external, but it has a unique power to express inner states or feelings. Music can pierce the heart directly; it needs no mediation."

  • "Music is...a fundamental way of expressing our humanity - and it is often our best medicine."

  • "Language, that most human invention, can enable what, in principle, should not be possible. It can allow all of us, even the congenitally blind, to see with another person’s eyes."

  • "Thus the feeling I sometimes have - which all of us who work closely with aphasiacs have - that one cannot lie to an aphasiac. He cannot grasp your words, and cannot be deceived by them; but what he grasps he grasps with infallible precision, namely the expression that goes with the words, the total, spontaneous, involuntary expressiveness which can never be simulated or faked, as words alone can, too easily."

  • "There is no one part of the brain which recognizes or responds emotionally to music. Instead, there are many different parts responding to different aspects of music: to pitch, to frequency, to timbre, to tonal intervals, to consonance, to dissonance, to rhythm, to melodic contour, to harmony."

  • "I am a man of vehement disposition, with violent enthusiasms, and extreme immoderation in all my passions."

  • "Creativity...involves the power to originate, to break away from the existing ways of looking at things, to move freely in the realm of the imagination, to create and recreate worlds fully in one's mind-while supervising all this with a critical inner eye."

  • "Biologically, physiologically, we are not so different from each other; historically, as narratives - we are each of us unique."

  • "There is only one cardinal rule: One must always listen to the patient."

  • "And I often dream of chemistry at night, dreams that conflate the past and the present, the grid of the periodic table transformed to the grid of Manhattan. Sometimes, too, I dream of the indecipherable language of tin (a confused memory, perhaps, of its plaintive "cry"). But my favorite dream is of going to the opera (I am Hafnium), sharing a box at the Met with the other heavy transition metals my old and valued friends Tantalum, Rhenium, Osmium, Iridium, Platinum, Gold, and Tungsten."

  • "It is up to me now to choose how to live out the months that remain to me."

    Oliver Sacks

  • "To be ourselves we must have ourselves – possess, if need be re-possess, our life-stories. We must “recollect” ourselves, recollect the inner drama, the narrative, of ourselves. A man needs such a narrative, a continuous inner narrative, to maintain his identity, his self."

  • "My own first love was biology. I spent a great part of my adolescence in the Natural History museum in London (and I still go to the Botanic Garden almost every day, and to the Zoo every Monday). The sense of diversity of the wonder of innumerable forms of life has always thrilled me beyond anything else."

  • "Music can lift us out of depression or move us to tears - it is a remedy, a tonic, orange juice for the ear."

  • "A disease is never a mere loss or excess. There is always a reaction on the part of the organism or individual to restore, replace or compensate for and to preserve its identity, however strange the means may be."

  • "In terms of brain development, musical performance is every bit as important educationally as reading or writing."

  • "I am now face to face with dying. But I am not finished with living."

  • "I have to live in the richest, deepest, most productive way I can"

  • "Creativity involves the depth of a mind, and many, many depths of unconsciousness."

  • "The past which is not recoverable in any other way is embedded, as if in amber, in the music, and people can regain a sense of identity."

  • "One might say that science itself, and civilization and art, are all about different orderings of the world - to contain it, and to make it in some sense intelligible, communicable. And bearable."

  • "I often feel that life is about to begin, only to realize it is almost over."

  • "I regard music therapy as a tool of great power in many neurological disorders -- Parkinson's and Alzheimer's -- because of its unique capacity to organize or reorganize cerebral function when it has been damaged."

  • "Music has a bonding power, it's primal social cement"

  • "Very young children love and demand stories, and can understand complex matters presented as stories, when their powers of comprehending general concepts, paradigms, are almost nonexistent."

  • "Waking consciousness is dreaming – but dreaming constrained by external reality"

  • "Fascinating, Doidge's book is a remarkable and hopeful portrait of the endless adaptability of the human brain."

  • "Elements and birthdays have been intertwined for me since boyhood, when I learned about atomic numbers."

  • "Music evokes emotion and emotion can bring it's memory."

  • "There is only one cardinal rule: One must always listen to the patient."

  • "It is up to me now to choose how to live out the months that remain to me."

  • "To be ourselves we must have ourselves – possess, if need be re-possess, our life-stories. We must “recollect” ourselves, recollect the inner drama, the narrative, of ourselves. A man needs such a narrative, a continuous inner narrative, to maintain his identity, his self."

  • "My own first love was biology. I spent a great part of my adolescence in the Natural History museum in London (and I still go to the Botanic Garden almost every day, and to the Zoo every Monday). The sense of diversity of the wonder of innumerable forms of life has always thrilled me beyond anything else."

  • "Music can lift us out of depression or move us to tears - it is a remedy, a tonic, orange juice for the ear."

  • "A disease is never a mere loss or excess. There is always a reaction on the part of the organism or individual to restore, replace or compensate for and to preserve its identity, however strange the means may be."

  • "I am now face to face with dying. But I am not finished with living."

  • "Creativity involves the depth of a mind, and many, many depths of unconsciousness."

  • "The past which is not recoverable in any other way is embedded, as if in amber, in the music, and people can regain a sense of identity."

  • "One might say that science itself, and civilization and art, are all about different orderings of the world - to contain it, and to make it in some sense intelligible, communicable. And bearable."

  • "I often feel that life is about to begin, only to realize it is almost over."

  • "I regard music therapy as a tool of great power in many neurological disorders -- Parkinson's and Alzheimer's -- because of its unique capacity to organize or reorganize cerebral function when it has been damaged."

  • "Fascinating, Doidge's book is a remarkable and hopeful portrait of the endless adaptability of the human brain."

  • "Elements and birthdays have been intertwined for me since boyhood, when I learned about atomic numbers."

  • “If we have youth, beauty, blessed gifts, strength, if we find fame, fortune, favor, fulfillment, it is easy to be nice, to turn a warm heart to the world.”

 

 

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