Oliver Sacks-Reflections on Change: How Can We Adapt and Not Alter the Essence of Who We Are?

Oliver Sacks died in 2015, but an article that he wrote just before he died is in the February 11, 2019, issue of The New Yorker. It is a treat to read new reflections from this exceptional thinker from a stage of his life that we can only imagine. Dr. Sacks was a remarkable observer with an unparalleled ability to tell people’s stories. The importance of these stories is not how strange they are, but how they help us understand how we function normally and how precious and precarious the balance is which enables most of us to be “normal.”

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We cannot stop change. Change is, change has been, and change will continue. Pronouncements about change can be valuable by bringing it to our attention so we make conscious decisions about what we will do. How can we and society adapt to change without changing that which is essential to our humanity? Change started to accelerate a few hundred years ago with the advent of the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution. The essence of who we are has been a topic for religion and philosophers for thousands of years. We can refer to what they have said, but the answer to this question is very personal.

Read the article here:

The Machine Stops-Oliver Sacks


More posts including Oliver Sacks:

Mapping the Wilds of Mortality and Fatherhood

Narrative Medicine

Memory Book

The River of Consciousness

The Mind’s Eye: Oliver Sacks



Vision: It’s Development in Infant and Child


I have reviewed the differences in education across cultures in The Smartest Kids in the World and How They Got that Way  and in The Learning Gap . There are also differences within our own culture in child rearing, education, socialization, and remediation which have taken place over the past few generations; some due to philosophy and some due to technology. Continue reading

Superforecasting The Art and Science of Prediction

Philip E. Tetlock and Dan Gardner

We cannot avoid forecasting. Everything that we do is based on what we expect the outcome to be. Some forecasting is short-term and primarily preconscious such as planning a movement while taking into consideration the positions and movements of others around you. We have been making these kinds of predictions for millions of years and we apply the same processes to skills for which we have not evolved such as driving. Continue reading

Risk Savvy: How to Make Good Decisions

Gerd Gigenerzer


We make many decisions every day. There is no data for most of the decisions that we make and when there is, there is a good chance that we interpret them incorrectly. Because important decisions about health and healthcare are made based on statistics, it is important to understand relative and absolute risks and what the numbers really mean. Here is what the author has to say…. Continue reading


A Dizzying Journey Through the Science

Of Our Most Delicate Sense

Carol Svec

Balance usually works so well that people don’t think about it until we get older. After over eighteen months of research, interviews, being an experimental subject, and writing, Carol Svec concludes, “We don’t have a sense of balance. We are balance. Balance gives us our place and space in the world, but it also contributes to our sense of self.”pensioners-2399602_960_720 Continue reading