35 Motivational Oliver Sacks Quotes For Success In Life

Oliver Wolf Sacks, CBE FRCP was a British neurologist, naturalist, historian of science, and author. Born in Britain, and mostly educated there, he spent his career in the United States. He believed that the brain is the “most incredible thing in the universe”. These Oliver Sacks quotes will motivate you.

Best Oliver Sacks Quotes

  1. 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. ~ Oliver Sacks
  2. Music can move us to the heights or depths of emotion. It can persuade us to buy something or remind us of our first date. It can lift us out of depression when nothing else can. It can get us dancing to its beat. But the power of music goes much, much further. Indeed, music occupies more areas of our brain than language does-humans are a musical species. ~ Oliver Sacks
  3. In examining disease, we gain wisdom about anatomy and physiology, and biology. In examining the person with disease, we gain wisdom about life. ~ Oliver Sacks
  4. To live on a day-to-day basis is insufficient; we need to transcend, transport, escape; we need meaning, understanding, and explanation; we need to see over-all patterns in our lives. We need hope, the sense of a future; the freedom to get beyond ourselves…in states of mind that allow us to rise above our immediate surroundings and see the beauty and value of the world we live in. ~ Oliver Sacks
  5. The power of music to integrate and cure. . . is quite fundamental. It is the profoundest nonchemical medication. ~ Oliver Sacks

  6. If we wish to know about a man, we ask ‘what is his story–his real, inmost story?’–for each of us is a biography, a story. Each of us is a singular narrative, which is constructed, continually, unconsciously, by, through, and in us–through our perceptions, our feelings, our thoughts, our actions; and, not least, our discourse, our spoken narrations. Biologically, physiologically, we are not so different from each other; historically, as narratives–we are each of us unique. ~ Oliver Sacks
  7. 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. ~ Oliver Sacks
  8. We see with the eyes, but we see with the brain as well. And seeing with the brain is often called imagination.
    Every act of perception, is to some degree an act of creation, and every act of memory is to some degree an act of imagination. ~ Oliver Sacks
  9. My religion is nature. That’s what arouses those feelings of wonder and mysticism and gratitude in me. ~ Oliver Sacks

  10. People will make a life in their own terms, whether they are deaf or colorblind or autistic or whatever. And their world will be quite as rich and interesting and full as our world. ~ Oliver Sacks
  11. The brain is more than an assemblage of autonomous modules, each crucial for a specific mental function. ~ Oliver Sacks
  12. Every one of these functionally specialized areas must interact with dozens or hundreds of others, their total integration creating something like a vastly complicated orchestra with thousands of instruments, an orchestra that conducts itself, with an ever-changing score and repertoire. ~ Oliver Sacks Quotes
  13. Music can lift us out of depression or move us to tears – it is a remedy, a tonic, orange juice for the ear. But for many of my neurological patients, music is even more – it can provide access, even when no medication can, to movement, to speech, to life. For them, music is not a luxury, but a necessity. ~ Oliver Sacks
  14. Much more of the brain is devoted to movement than to language. Language is only a little thing sitting on top of this huge ocean of movement. ~ Oliver Sacks
  15. We speak not only to tell other people what we think but to tell ourselves what we think. Speech is a part of thought. ~ Oliver Sacks

  16. If a man has lost a leg or an eye, he knows he has lost a leg or an eye; but if he has lost a self—himself—he cannot know it, because he is no longer there to know it. ~ Oliver Sacks
  17. Creativity…involves the power to originate, to break away from the existing ways of looking at things, to move freely in the realm of the imagination, to create and recreate worlds fully in one’s mind-while supervising all this with a critical inner eye. ~ Oliver Sacks
  18. We now know that memories are not fixed or frozen, like Proust’s jars of preserves in a larder, but are transformed, disassembled, reassembled, and recategorized with every act of recollection. ~ Oliver Sacks
  19. I cannot pretend I am without fear. But my predominant feeling is one of gratitude. I have loved and been loved; I have been given much and I have given something in return; I have read and traveled and thought and written. I have had an intercourse with the world, the special intercourse of writers and readers. ~ Oliver Sacks
  20. To be ourselves we must have ourselves – possess, if need be re-possess, our life-stories. We must “recollect” ourselves, recollect the inner drama, the narrative, of ourselves. A man needs such a narrative, a continuous inner narrative, to maintain his identity, his self. ~ Oliver Sacks
  21. Music is…a fundamental way of expressing our humanity – and it is often our best medicine. ~ Oliver Sacks
  22. Music, uniquely among the arts, is both completely abstract and profoundly emotional. It has no power to represent anything particular or external, but it has a unique power to express inner states or feelings. Music can pierce the heart directly; it needs no mediation. ~ Oliver Sacks
  23. Waking consciousness is dreaming – but dreaming constrained by external reality. ~ Oliver Sacks

  24. Creativity involves the depth of a mind and many, many depths of unconsciousness. ~ Oliver Sacks, Oliver Sacks quotes on creativity
  25. I regard music therapy as a tool of great power in many neurological disorders — Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s — because of its unique capacity to organize or reorganize cerebral function when it has been damaged. ~ Oliver Sacks
  26. A disease is never a mere loss or excess. There is always a reaction on the part of the organism or individual to restore, replace, or compensate for and to preserve its identity, however strange the means maybe. ~ Oliver Sacks
  27. There is only one cardinal rule: One must always listen to the patient. ~ Oliver Sacks
  28. Language, that most human invention, can enable what, in principle, should not be possible. It can allow all of us, even the congenitally blind, to see with another person’s eyes. ~ Oliver Sacks
  29. I am a man of vehement disposition, with violent enthusiasm, and extreme immoderation in all my passions. ~ Oliver Sacks

  30. Thus the feeling I sometimes have – which all of us who work closely with aphasics have – that one cannot lie to aphasia. He cannot grasp your words, and cannot be deceived by them; but what he grasps he grasps with infallible precision, namely the expression that goes with the words, the total, spontaneous, involuntary expressiveness which can never be simulated or faked, as words alone can, too easily. ~ Oliver Sacks
  31. Biologically, physiologically, we are not so different from each other; historically, as narratives – we are each of us unique. ~ Oliver Sacks
  32. In terms of brain development, musical performance is every bit as important educationally as reading or writing. ~ Oliver Sacks
  33. There is no one part of the brain which recognizes or responds emotionally to music. Instead, there are many different parts responding to different aspects of music: to pitch, to frequency, to timbre, to tonal intervals, to consonance, to dissonance, to rhythm, to melodic contour, to harmony. ~ Oliver Sacks
  34. I often feel that life is about to begin, only to realize it is almost over. ~ Oliver Sacks

  35. Music evokes emotion and emotion can bring it’s memory. ~ Oliver Sacks
  36. And I often dream of chemistry at night, dreams that conflate the past and the present, the grid of the periodic table transformed to the grid of Manhattan. Sometimes, too, I dream of the indecipherable language of tin (a confused memory, perhaps, of its plaintive “cry”). But my favorite dream is of going to the opera (I am Hafnium), sharing a box at the Met with the other heavy transition metals my old and valued friends Tantalum, Rhenium, Osmium, Iridium, Platinum, Gold, and Tungsten. ~ Oliver Sacks
  37. I am now face to face with dying. But I am not finished with living. ~ Oliver Sacks

  38. If a man with a dog sits quietly enjoying music and smiling, his dog might sit down beside him and smile, too. ~ Oliver Sacks
  39. But who knows whether the dog is having a comparable experience or whether the dog is simply happy that his master is happy. ~ Oliver Sacks
  40. It is up to me now to choose how to live out the months that remain to me. ~ Oliver Sacks
  41. And so was Luria, whose words now came back to me: ‘A man does not consist of memory alone. He has feeling, will, sensibility, moral being … It is here … you may touch him, and see a profound change.’ Memory, mental activity, mind alone, could not hold him; but moral attention and action could hold him completely. ~ Oliver Sacks
  42. My own first love was biology. I spent a great part of my adolescence in the Natural History Museum in London (and I still go to the Botanic Garden almost every day, and to the Zoo every Monday). The sense of diversity of the wonder of innumerable forms of life has always thrilled me beyond anything else. ~ Oliver Sacks
  43. Music can lift us out of depression or move us to tears – it is a remedy, a tonic, orange juice for the ear. ~ Oliver Sacks
  44. I have to live in the richest, deepest, most productive way I can ~ Oliver Sacks
  45. Music is part of being human. ~ Oliver Sacks, Oliver Sacks quotes on music

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