Oliver Sacks, who is to neuroscience and psychiatry what Carl Sagan was to astronomy and astrophysics, is staring into the maw of death. Cancer has already taken over a third of his liver, and it is certain the disease spells the end for the famed neurologist, now 81, who took us on many a wondrous trip through the marvels and terrors of the human mind.
A prolific, consummate chronicler of other people’s states of minds, he’s now written about his own in what are literally his dying days.
Since hearing his prognosis, Sacks says,
I have been able to see my life as from a great altitude, as a sort of landscape, and with a deepening sense of the connection of all its parts. This does not mean I am finished with life.
On the contrary, 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.