In May we ran one of Studs’ interviews from 1985 with famed neurologist and author Oliver Sacks. His work with a rare form of sleeping sickness in the 1960’s became the basis for his book, and the movie Awakenings starring Robin Williams and Robert De Niro. Although the interview was supposed to center on his newest publication The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat, in true Studs fashion the interview soon became a conversation about much, much more. In honor of the remarkable life of Oliver Sacks, who passed away today at the age of 82, we once again present this wonderful and enlightening conversation between two giants in their fields.
Oliver Sacks, renowned neurologist, has written a new book and he’s finally telling it like it is by recounting how his life inspired his work. On The Move: A Life chronicles Sacks’ life from his childhood obsession with motorcycles, early medical practice and substance abuse in California to dealing with an unknown chronic illness in New York. In addition to Awakenings, which was turned into a movie starring Robin Williams and Robert DeNiro, Sacks has written extensively about the mysteries of the human mind.
In 1990, Studs and Sacks sat down to discuss his new book Seeing Voices: A Journey Into the World of the Deaf. Their conversation ranges from the history of sign language to his study of how learning to sign opens up the world of anyone who has the privilege of learning it. Whether they are hearing impaired or not the symbolic nature of sign language offers new ways of thinking and expression for everyone as revealed in their lively interview. This quote upon learning he has terminal cancer perfectly sums up his life and work. “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.” *