Oliver Sacks published an editorial in the NY Times this morning about his recent diagnosis with terminal illness. I’ve always respected Oliver Sacks for his amazing ability to communicate science in his writing, for his commitment to publishing for a general audience (not just a scientific one), and for reconciling atheism with optimism.
There will be no one like us when we are gone, but then there is no one like anyone else, ever. When people die, they cannot be replaced. They leave holes that cannot be filled, for it is the fate — the genetic and neural fate — of every human being to be a unique individual, to find his own path, to live his own life, to die his own death.
-My Own Life, Oliver Sacks (NY Times, 2/19/15)
How can you not fall head over heels for this guy’s ideas? The emptiness caused by coming to terms with an atheist’s view of the afterlife can, in Sacks’ opinion, be overshadowed by the pride of ownership of a completely unique life.
Sacks, you’re a legend in my book. Thank you for the inspiration.