Oliver Sacks

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Oliver Wolf Sacks, (born 9 July 1933, London, England), is a British biologist, neurologist, psychologist, writer, and amateur chemist who has spent the major portion of his career in the United States. He lives in New York City, and is professor of neurology and psychiatry at Columbia University, where he also holds the position of "Columbia Artist". He previously spent many years on the clinical faculty of Yeshiva University's Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

  • "Sacks: Hume wondered whether one can imagine a color that one has never encountered. One day in 1964, I constructed a sort of pharmacological mountain, and at its peak, I said, "I want to see indigo, now!" As if thrown by a paintbrush, a huge, trembling drop of purest indigo appeared on the wall — the color of heaven. For months after that, I kept looking for that color. It was like the lost chord."
  • "Then I went to a concert at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In the first half, they played the Monteverdi Vespers, and I was transported. I felt a river of music 400 years long running from Monteverdi's mind into mine. Wandering around during the interval, I saw some lapis lazuli snuffboxes that were that same wonderful indigo, and I thought, "Good, the color exists in the external world." But in the second half I got restless, and when I saw the snuffboxes again, they were no longer indigo — they were blue, mauve, pink. I've never seen that color since.**
  • "It took a mountain of amphetamine, mescaline, and cannabis to launch me into that space. But Monteverdi did it too." -- National Review of Medicine april 2008 | Volume5 no. 4
  • Here Sacks talks about some of his drug-induced hallucinations, how his interest in neurology connects to his experimentation with drugs, and how one drug experience led to his writing career -- The New Yorker 20.08.2012
  • What I Learned from Hallucinogens