Oliver Sacks Quotes & Wallpapers

Oliver Sacks
Total Quotes: 135


The power of music, whether joyous or cathartic must steal on one unawares, come spontaneously as a blessing or a grace- Oliver Sacks
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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. Oliver Sacks
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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. Oliver Sacks
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I often feel that life is about to begin, only to realize it is almost over. Oliver Sacks
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There is among doctors, in acute hospitals at least, a presumption of stupidity in their patients. Oliver Sacks
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I am now face to face with dying. But I am not finished with living. Oliver Sacks
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Music has a bonding power, it's primal social cement Oliver Sacks
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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. Oliver Sacks
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The power of music, narrative and drama is of the greatest practical and theoretical importance. ... We see how the retarded, unable to perform fairly simple tasks involving perhaps four or five movements or procedures in sequence, can do these perfectly if they work to music. Oliver Sacks
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We have five senses in which we glory and which we recognize and celebrate, senses that constitute the sensible world for us. But there are other senses - secret senses, sixth senses, if you will - equally vital, but unrecognized, and unlauded. Oliver Sacks
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We have five senses in which we glory and which we recognize and celebrate, senses that constitute the sensible world for us. But there are other senses - secret senses, sixth senses, if you will - equally vital, but unrecognized, and unlauded ... unconscious, automatic. Oliver Sacks
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We have, each of us, a life story, whose continuity, whose sense, is our lives. Oliver Sacks
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Some people with Tourette's have flinging tics- sudden, seemingly motiveless urges or compulsions to throw objects..... (I see somewhat similar flinging behaviors- though not tics- in my two year old godson, now in a stage of primal antinomianism and anarchy) Oliver Sacks
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Studies by Andrew Newberg and others have shown that long-term practice of meditation produces significant alterations in cerebral blood flow in parts of the brain related to attention, emotion, and some autonomic functions. Oliver Sacks
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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. Oliver Sacks
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Memory is dialogic and arises not only from direct experience but from the intercourse of many minds. Oliver Sacks
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My impression is that a sense of rhythm, which has no analog in language, is unique and that its correlation with movement is unique to human beings. Why else would children start to dance when they're two or three? Chimpanzees don't dance. Oliver Sacks
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It really is a very odd business that all of us, to varying degrees, have music in our heads. Oliver Sacks
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I was fascinated that one could have such perceptual changes, and also that they went with a certain feeling of significance, an almost numinous feeling. I'm strongly atheist by disposition, but nonetheless when this happened, I couldn't help thinking, 'That must be what the hand of God is like.' Oliver Sacks
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he wanted to do, to be, to feel- and could not; he wanted sense, he wanted purpose- in Freud's words, 'Work and Love'. Oliver Sacks
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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. Oliver Sacks
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Darwin speculated that "music tones and rhythms were used by our half-human ancestors, during the season of courtship, when animals of all kinds are excited not only by love, but by strong passions of jealousy, rivalry, and triumph" and that speech arose, secondarily, from this primal music. Oliver Sacks
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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. Oliver Sacks
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I had never thought about what it might mean to be deaf, to be deprived of language, or to have a remarkable language (and community and culture) of one's own. Up to this point, I had mostly thought and written about the problems of individuals-here I was to encounter an entire community. Oliver Sacks
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I cannot pretend i am not without fear... Oliver Sacks
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I feel a sudden clear focus and perspective. There is no time for anything inessential. Oliver Sacks
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Hydrogen selenide, I decided, was perhaps the worst smell in the world. But hydrogen telluride came close, was also a smell from hell. An up-to-date hell, I decided, would have not just rivers of fiery brimstone, but lakes of boiling selenium and tellurium, too. Oliver Sacks
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I think there's probably always been visions and voices, and these were variously ascribed to the divine or demonic or the muses. I think many poets still feel they depend on an inner voice, or a voice which tells them what to do. Oliver Sacks
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Who cared if there was really any Being to pray to? What mattered was the sense of giving thanks and praise, the feeling of a humble and grateful heart. Oliver Sacks
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With any hallucinations, if you can do functional brain imagery while theyre going on, you will find that the parts of the brain usually involved in seeing or hearing - in perception - have become super active by themselves. And this is an autonomous activity; this does not happen with imagination. Oliver Sacks
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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
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There is certainly a universal and unconscious propensity to impose a rhythm even when one hears a series of identical sounds at constant intervals... We tend to hear the sound of a digital clock, for example, as "tick-tock, tick-tock" - even though it is actually "tick tick, tick tick. Oliver Sacks
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We speak not only to tell other people what we think, but to tell ourselves what we think. Speech is a part of thought. Oliver Sacks
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The same areas which are active in listening to music are also active when you imagine music, and this includes the motor areas, too. That explains why earlier, even though I was only thinking of the mazurka, I was thinking in terms of movement. Oliver Sacks
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Psychotic hallucinations, whether they are visual or vocal, they address you. They accuse you. They seduce you. They humiliate you. They jeer at you. You interact with them. Oliver Sacks
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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.. Oliver Sacks
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Elements and birthdays have been intertwined for me since boyhood, when I learned about atomic numbers. Oliver Sacks
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In general, people are afraid to acknowledge hallucinations because they immediately see them as a sign of something awful happening to the brain, whereas in most cases they're not. Oliver Sacks
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I was always the youngest boy in my class at high school. I have retained this feeling of being the youngest, even though now I am almost the oldest person I know. Oliver Sacks
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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. Oliver Sacks
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The miracle is that, in most cases, he succeeds - for the powers of survival, of the will to survive, and to survive as a unique inalienable individual, are absolutely, the strongest in our being: stronger than any impulses, stronger than disease. Oliver Sacks
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Fascinating, Doidge's book is a remarkable and hopeful portrait of the endless adaptability of the human brain. Oliver Sacks
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I had never thought about what it might mean to be deaf, to be deprived of language, or to have a remarkable language (and community and culture) of one's own. Up to this point, I had mostly thought and written about the problems of individuals-here I was to encounter an entire community. Oliver Sacks
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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. Oliver Sacks
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I had never thought about what it might mean to be deaf, to be deprived of language, or to have a remarkable language (and community and culture) of one's own. Up to this point, I had mostly thought and written about the problems of individuals-here I was to encounter an entire community. Oliver Sacks
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I was set apart, we were set apart, we patients in white nightgowns, and avoided clearly, though unconsciously, like lepers. Oliver Sacks
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there are other senses - secret senses, sixth senses, if you will - equally vital, but unrecognized, and unlauded. Oliver Sacks
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There are, of course, inherent tendencies to repetition in music itself. Our poetry, our ballads, our songs are full of repetition; nursery rhymes and the little chants and songs we use to teach young children have choruses and refrains. We are attracted to repetition, even as adults; we want the stimulus and the reward again and again, and in music we get it. Perhaps, therefore, we should not be surprised, should not complain if the balance sometimes shifts too far and our musical sensitivity becomes a vulnerability. Oliver Sacks
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Dangerously well'- what an irony is this: it expresses precisely the doubleness, the paradox, of feeling 'too well Oliver Sacks
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Music evokes emotion and emotion can bring it's memory. Oliver Sacks
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I suspect that music has qualities both of speech and writing - partly built in, partly individually constructed - and this goes on all through one's life. Oliver Sacks
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The power of music and the plasticity of the brain go together very strikingly, especially in young people. Oliver Sacks
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Music originally had a social function. You were in church, in a concert hall, a marching band; you were dancing. I'm concerned that music could be too separated from its roots and just become a pleasure-giving experience, like a drug. Oliver Sacks
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I think there are dozens or hundreds of different forms of creativity. Pondering science and math problems for years is different from improvising jazz. Something which seems to me remarkable is how unconscious the creative process is. You encounter a problem, but can't solve it. Oliver Sacks
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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. Oliver Sacks
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Astounded-and indifferent-for he was a man who, in effect, had no "day before". Oliver Sacks
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And so was Luria, whose words now came back to me: "A man does not consist of memory alone. He has feeling, will, sensibility, moral being ... It is here ... you may touch him, and see a profound change." Memory, mental activity, mind alone, could not hold him; but moral attention and action could hold him completely. Oliver Sacks
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Music can lift us out of depression or move us to tears - it is a remedy, a tonic, orange juice for the ear. Oliver Sacks
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... the body, normally, is never in question: our bodies are beyond question, or perhaps beneath question - they are simply, unquestionably, there. This unquestionability of the body, is, for Wittgenstein, the start and basis of all knowledge and certainty. Oliver Sacks
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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. Oliver Sacks
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It seems that the brain always has to be active, and if the auditory parts of the brain are not getting sufficient input, then they may start to create hallucinatory sounds on their own. Although it is curious that they do not usually create noises or voices; they create music. Oliver Sacks
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Even when other powers have been lost and people may not even be able to understand language, they will nearly always recognize and respond to familiar tunes. And not only that. The tunes may carry them back and may give them memory of scenes and emotions otherwise unavailable for them. Oliver Sacks
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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. Oliver Sacks
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It is up to me now to choose how to live out the months that remain to me. Oliver Sacks
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Astounded-and indifferent-for he was a man who, in effect, had no 'day before'. Oliver Sacks
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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. Oliver Sacks
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Music is...a fundamental way of expressing our humanity - and it is often our best medicine. Oliver Sacks
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My religion is nature. That's what arouses those feelings of wonder and mysticism and gratitude in me. Oliver Sacks
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Waking consciousness is dreaming - but dreaming constrained by external reality Oliver Sacks
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Music is part of being human. Oliver Sacks
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