Oliver Sacks (+ a bit about delusion & meat).

Taken from here
For those of you who do not know me well enough, I am obsessed (if not infatuated) with neurology. I think the brain and all the power it encompasses will never be truly surpassed by any other organ of the body (or perhaps any machine). The sheer ability and complexity of this mass of meat (more on this later) to comprehend it's own existence, the existence of other similar-meat-brains, the non-existence of things, and abstract thoughts that would never have been thought possible, never ceases to amaze me on a daily basis.

In this day and age, nothing of the sort has ever come close to matching the ability of the brain. No amount of machinery, computational device, or complex algorithm has ever synthesised something as brilliant as the brain itself. And to think that each and every one of us nurtures one of these inside of our skull is mind-blowing, if you pardon the pun.

Long story short, I think neurology is fucking amazing.

But do you know what really hooked me? What was it that triggered the moment when I realised that neurology is sheer beauty?

It was within the first Chapter of reading Oliver Sack's book, The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat.

Taken from here

I picked up this book at the local book-store around this time (August) in 2012. Three years ago, I started to explore my horizons and realise 'Hey, maybe science and neurology is something for me'. After reading a neurology textbook and finding it stimulating enough and being introduced to the world of the brain to a limited extent, I picked up this book because it had a curious title.

And my life changed.

I devoured the book. I developed this unreasonable love for books, reading, and neurology that still courses through my veins today. I couldn't get enough. I ran outside and bought even more books. More books than I could read in time. It was irrational, but I found something that truly captivated me.

And ironically, I never managed to finish 'The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat (TMWMHWFAH)' back then. I became so caught up in neurology and science and reading that I simply put Sacks' book aside as I became overwhelmed with the other books I had purchased and pursuing my newly-founded passions. Eventually, it sat at the bottom of a mounting pile of books that I had labelled 'To-read' -- it lay forgotten.

A year or so later I had slowed down the reading pace and was finally cleaning up the books in my room when I stumbled across the book. I tried reading it again, questioning why I hadn't finished it in the first place (the book-mark hanging half-heartedly about two-fifths through the book). 

And the same thing happened. 

I became so enveloped into the beauty that erupted from Sacks' clever arrangement of the twenty-six letters of our alphabet that I re-discovered my passion for reading and hustled to the book-store.

I promptly forgot about it, once more. This time making my way through a series of fiction and medical books. Sacks' book lay in my room, hidden away under the impressions of others. Though, might I just add (in a pitiful attempt to retain some achievement) I made it further than I did originally (about halfway!)

And you know what's ironic? After such stimulation, I went out and bought almost all his other books. Hallucinations, Awakenings, the sort. And read them (well, some of them). They were wonderful books, but none held the place in my heart as much as this one. But why had I struggled so hard to finish TMWMHWFAH? Perhaps a side of me didn't want to finish the book at all. More on this later.

This year, just a few months earlier, I found out that Oliver Sacks had been diagnosed with cancer. Metastatic lung cancer. As if 'cancer' doesn't have a poor-enough prognosis already, lung cancer naturally is one of the most fatal sub-categories of neoplasia out there. And let's not forget 'metastatic'.

It hit me hard. This man who I could thank so deeply for igniting not one, but two passions within me, was going to pass away in an unknown amount of time that was sure to arrive soon. I had to do something. His book had become so much.

Taken from here

So I searched deep and far, and combed through the house. Under a pile of comparatively-insignificant objects, I excavated it. I was determined to finish it this time. For those who keep up with my Snapchat, you would have evidently seen a determined MyStory post a while back proclaiming I was going to finally finish this.

I read one-third of it within the first night. That may not sound like much, but I am a notoriously slow reader (mostly due to my lack of spare-time), and I believe there are only a single-digit number of books that I have read with the hunger at which I gripped Oliver Sacks' book.

I fell in love, again.

Bit by bit, University started to come into play and I found myself ever-increasingly busy. Reading was diminishing but I kept at it. I also was reading 'The Enigma' and 'Is Your Neighbour a Zombie?' at the same time (yes, I'm a serial book-two-timer), but they slowly received less of my attention.

It took me around two weeks or so to read it. That's a poor effort, I admit, but for me, this was an achievement that had been three years in the making.

When I was reading the final chapter, feeling the ever-thinning pages remaining in my right hand, I felt conflicted. You know that moment you turn the last page and realise "Oh my god, it's the last page."? I wasn't sure how to feel. 

I wanted to keep reading, but at the same time, I didn't know if I wanted to finish the book.

For so long, this book had represented my love for reading and for neurology. It was what started my entire passion-train into motion. From 2012 I started to realise what I loved in life and began to follow that, and this book was what marked the beginning. I was afraid that if I finished this book, finally after so long, it would mark the end of my passions. It would be the closure that I never wanted to have.

But, of course, I kept reading. How could I refuse? There was no way I could stop now, and I was set on finishing what I had started (long overdue).

After reading his book, I was thrown into a flurry and reduced my reading load, but kept at it at a manageable pace. I was lucky enough to hear another author (Ranjana Srivastava) speak about Oliver Sacks and his writing, and how much of an inspiration he was to her. It was on that day that I was thrown head-first into a love for reading, once again, (and writing) that I have never known or felt before. In those moments you would never have seen me without a book near-by.

To this day I read on a daily basis. I haven't stopped and I don't plan on stopping. I still buy more books than I ought to, and my wallet is paying a heavy price, but these are the books that have changed me and shaped who I am.

Taken from here

So now it comes back to Oliver Sacks.

He is an inspiration. He was the first person that I learned about and I looked at and thought to myself 'I want to be like him.' He was the first person that taught me how to dream, and dream big, and showed me the wonders of neurology that I still believe in today.

And today I found out he died.

Taken from here

In memory of Oliver Sacks (9th July, 1933 - 30th August, 2015), a neurologist, writer, and a great man who achieved much in life. Most of all, he was an inspiration.

Before I finish this incredibly personal post, I just wanted to put two links here.

One is to a short-story that truly encapsulates the wonder I feel about the brain and our very consciousness (or existence). It is called 'They're made out of Meat' (written by Terry Bisson). It's won many, many awards and was originally published in a magazine in 1991. I feel that it's a short-story that everyone should read. It is brilliantly written and will only take about five minutes of your time. You can read it for free here.

The next link is a video. It's produced by Veritasium and I think it is also teaches a very important lesson. I thought it was so significant that I made a note of it on my phone to remind myself to post it on here one day. It's called 'Our Greatest Delusion'.

You never know what can change you. For me, one of them was a book that took me far too long to read, written by a man with a passion that he wanted to share.

And that is precisely why I stand here today, wanting to share my life through photos, videos, and writing. And that is also why I love to listen.

P.S. I'll be going under the radar for a bit, but promises of more later. Big changes in life are rolling in like a storm and I'm trying to roll with the punches. Take care, stay hydrated, and read more.

Taken from here


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Hello! I'm a student from Australia. I like photography, am aspiring to be a Doctor, have fallen in love with many things that life has to offer, and hope to see more of it. I've been blogging for a while and over the years what it means to me has changed. Currently still trying to figure that out, but here I am in a weird hybridisation of photography, film, blogging, and the confusion of a young adult, you'll find me here writing about my experiences and life. Or whatever tickles my fancy. Whether that's entertaining or not is yours to decide. Stay hydrated, kids.