Oliver Sacks on What Hallucination Reveals About Our Minds (Watch Ted Talk)
Neurologist and author Oliver Sacks brings our attention to Charles Bonnett syndrome — when visually impaired people experience lucid hallucinations. He describes the experiences of his patients in heartwarming detail and walks us through the biology of this under-reported phenomenon.
Since Awakenings first stormed the bestseller lists (and the silver screen), Oliver Sacks has become an unlikely household name, single-handedly inventing the genre of neurological anthropology.
Oliver Sacks is a ground-breaking neurologist — and a gifted storyteller, who has enriched our knowledge of the infinite variations of human psychology. After his pioneering work with “sleepy sickness” patients (who were in fact survivors of an early-20th-century pandemic), Sacks went on to study the connections between music and the brain, as well as disorders such as Tourette’s syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, and many other little-understood disorders that often count Sacks as one of their first chroniclers.
Sacks is well known as a writer of such best-selling case histories as The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, An Anthropologist on Mars, and his memoir of his early work, Awakenings, all of which have breathed new life into the dusty 19th-century tradition of the clinical anecdote. Sacks’ writing, compassion, and wide-ranging knowledge catapults the genre into the 21st century and brings the far frontiers of neurological experience into the view of millions of readers worldwide. He maintains a small practice in New York City.
“Sacks’s writerly form is now its own literary genre. It’s easy to take his originality for granted, to forget how unlikely it is that a book about neurological disorders would become a bestseller, or that a bearded neurologist would become a cultural icon.”
Jonah Lehrer, seedmagazine.com
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