A thinking animal

The great Oliver Sacks describes himself thusly in his last months of life: “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.”

The man who made his name writing about medical anomalies is suffering from one himself, a rare metastases of the prior cancer that left him blind in one eye.

He was unsparing in an Op-Ed piece about his own time on earth, who he was (immoderate, with “violent” enthusiasms) and how he felt about leaving: 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.

Can anyone hope for more than that?


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