I feel a sudden clear focus and perspective

Oliver-Sachs-1

Oliver Sacks: My Own Life. Learning of Terminal Cancer

…It is up to me now to choose how to live out the months that remain to me. I have to live in the richest, deepest, most productive way I can…

…While I have enjoyed loving relationships and friendships and have no real enmities, I cannot say (nor would anyone who knows me say) that I am a man of mild dispositions. On the contrary, I am a man of vehement disposition, with violent enthusiasms, and extreme immoderation in all my passions.

I feel a sudden clear focus and perspective. There is no time for anything inessential. I must focus on myself, my work and my friends. I shall no longer look at “NewsHour” every night…

I have been increasingly conscious, for the last 10 years or so, of deaths among my contemporaries. My generation is on the way out, and each death I have felt as an abruption, a tearing away of part of myself. 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.

…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.

Don’t miss reading the full essay by Oliver Sachs: My Own Life. Learning of Terminal Cancer


Notes:

Comments

  1. I am SUCH a fan of his, such an admirer of his thought process and genius. This news left me so very sad…and I admire his ability to be so articulate in the face of this knowledge. Yet, somehow it doesn’t surprise me..

    Liked by 1 person

  2. so clear.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am seven years in remission post “about a year” prognosis – mysterious, aggressive cancer cells with no primary tumor. Sack’s thoughts and feelings are so beautifully written, so exquisitely expressed from the very heart and soul of our common life force.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marta, thanks for sharing. 7 years…here’s to 57 more…Unless you are 17, in which case, let’s extend that.

      Yes, his thoughts are beautifully shared…and have stuck with me since reading his piece.

      Like

  4. A powerful essay. And sad news. I wish it would be easier for us gain such insights earlier in life.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have been following him for the longest to hear his thoughts on death since death is they say the new living.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. As Tiny said. How sad it is that even those of us who know this to be so, refuse to act upon this way of living until it is so very very late. I’ve lost so many dear friends and relatives over the last few years, I know so well that what counts most is how we live upon this earth, the nature of our human connections and above all, how well we love, and yet, and yet I persist in over-working, in over-extending myself in an attempt to meet impossible goals, in working well past ‘retirement age’ (whatever than means) and all this far away from dearest friends and family. Why does it take such crisis to impel us to act on that which we know?
    I’m so moved and so saddened by this. I’m also re-inspired. And deeply grateful for his legacy. Thank you for this, David.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Reblogged this on Makere's Blog and commented:
    How sad it is that even those of us who know this to be so, refuse to act upon this way of living until it is so very very late. Why does it take such crisis to impel us to act on that which we know?
    I’m so moved and so saddened by this. And yet I’m also re-inspired. And deeply grateful for his legacy and his courage.

    Liked by 1 person

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