Oliver Sacks giving a lecture

Remembering Oliver Sacks

Today we remember Oliver Sacks. A naturalist, a writer, a psychonaut, but first and foremost a physician and explorer of the human condition. July 9, 1933 – August 30, 2015.

In this clip from a lecture he gave at Vanderbilt University in 1999, he talks about how many different “ways of being” there are.

Transcription: “There is no standard way of being, or knowing, or perceiving. Although one has to talk about normality or mean or average or deviation or standard deviations in a sort of statistical sense, in the biological sense, variation is of the essence. There are an infinite number of ways of being and doing and knowing and remembering. And there are an infinite number of ways of being healthy. And I think health needs to be defined in terms of identity and singularity not in terms of some normative judgement.”

Feedback from social media followers

“Inspiring words from Oliver Sacks on the multiplicity of ways to exist and to perceive.”

“I believe this and have seen it. Now I’d like to help make a society that allows for and encourages neurodiversity.”

“It’s incredible how he was able to summarize in a few words the extremely complex debate between medicine, statistics, neuroscience and philosophy of the last 200 years. Truly a phenomenal person.”