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Drug episodes in Hallucinations


'Perhaps it's more important to love than be loved'
Oliver Sacks Scientist
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If it’s not a human being, if love with a human being is too dangerous, love an animal, love a plant. I think New York is full of alienated people who are... who are kept sane by... by having dogs which they love. This means that the sidewalks of New York are continually stained and soiled and stinking, however, that may be a reasonable price to pay to keep melancholy people alive and relatively happy.

When I am at my lowest, I still water or fondle my ferns, I don’t know that they can love me back. But... but it’s important to love, perhaps even more important to love than to be loved. And of course, this love can go for... one can love mathematics, or philosophy. One must love. Love is the essence of... of connection.

Oliver Sacks (1933-2015) was born in England. Having obtained his medical degree at Oxford University, he moved to the USA. There he worked as a consultant neurologist at Beth Abraham Hospital where in 1966, he encountered a group of survivors of the global sleepy sickness of 1916-1927. Sacks treated these patients with the then-experimental drug L-Dopa producing astounding results which he described in his book Awakenings. Further cases of neurological disorders were described by Sacks with exceptional sympathy in another major book entitled The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat which became an instant best seller on its publication in 1985. His other books drew on his rich experiences as a neurologist gleaned over almost five decades of professional practice. Sacks's work was recognized by prestigious institutions which awarded him numerous honours and prizes. These included the Lewis Thomas Prize given by Rockefeller University, which recognizes the scientist as poet. He was an honorary fellow of both the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and held honorary degrees from many universities, including Oxford, the Karolinska Institute, Georgetown, Bard, Gallaudet, Tufts, and the Catholic University of Peru.

Listeners: Kate Edgar

Kate Edgar, previously Managing Editor at the Summit Books division of Simon and Schuster, began working with Oliver Sacks in 1983. She has served as editor and researcher on all of his books, and has been closely involved with various films and adaptations based on his work. As friend, assistant, and collaborator, she has accompanied Dr Sacks on many adventures around the world, clinical and otherwise.

Tags: New York

Duration: 1 minute, 18 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2011

Date story went live: 02 October 2012