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William C. Altreuter
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Monday, August 31, 2015

I will miss having Oliver Sacks in the world. He was a complicated guy. The one time I met him I came away with the sense that I'd never met anyone more engaged and interested in the world around him. I hope that impression was correct-- he seemed like a joyous  fellow, so to have learned that he spent a good part of his life closeted-- and taking crazy risks, perhaps as a form of compensation-- was an odd kind of shock for me.

Sacks was special not just because he had the sort of scientific intelligence that saw things that nobody else had seen quite the same way before-- like another of my heros, Richard Feynman he was able to convey his excitement about seeing things that way to lay readers. They were scientists the way that, say, Charles Mingus, or Ornette Coleman were musicians (or the way Cezanne was a visual artist...). The world was different for them, but they helped us learn to see it that way. In doing that they made life more exciting.

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