Oliver Sacks Quotes
55 Sourced Quotes
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.
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.
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.
When I was fourteen or fifteen […] the Yom Kippur service ended in an unforgettable way, for Schechter, who always put great effort into the blowing of the shofar—he would go red in the face with exertion—produced a long, seemingly endless note of unearthly beauty, and then dropped dead before us on the bema, the raised platform where he would sing. I had the feeling that God had killed Schechter, sent a thunderbolt, stricken him. The shock of this for everyone was tempered by the reflection that if there was ever a moment in which a soul was pure, forgiven, relieved of all sin, it was at this moment, when the shofar was blown in conclusion of the fast […].