Sacks Draws on Own Hallucinations to Make Case

Winnipeg Free Press, November 10, 2012 | Go to article overview

Sacks Draws on Own Hallucinations to Make Case


HALLUCINATE anything interesting lately? In a compelling book arguing for the importance of hallucinations to human experience, British neurologist and author Oliver Sacks examines an assortment of hallucinatory experiences, many of them his own.

While some of the hallucinations he describes are terrifying, some are very beautiful and some can be described as, at best, humdrum. Compiled and analyzed by Sacks, they reveal a great deal about the functioning of the human brain and about the role of misperception in shaping cultural practices and spiritual beliefs.

Sacks, a New York-based professor of neurology and psychiatry, is well known for his work as a prolific popularizer of neuroscience. Now in his early 80s, he is the author of 10 books, most notably The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat (1985) and Awakenings (1973), which was adapted into movie starring Robin Williams.

As with other books by Sacks, Hallucinations draws on decades of clinical experience. While Sacks shares his knowledge of individual cases and of recent developments in the field of neuroscience, he also makes excellent use of 19th-century scientific writing.

Interested in the work of earlier generations, of the pioneers of neurological research, he quotes extensively from Victorian commentators and in doing so shares some compelling insights as well as some wonderfully poetic scientific writing.

Sacks' most interesting source is, however, his extensive personal experience with hallucination, the product of weekends devoted to self-experimentation while a resident in UCLA's neurology department in the early 1960s. Drawing on memories of time spent under the influence of what he refers to as "a pharmacologic launch pad," Sacks describes making breakfast for visiting friends only to discover that he had hallucinated their presence.

He also recalls a conversation on "rather technical matters of analytical philosophy" that he had with a friendly and surprisingly well-informed spider. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Sacks Draws on Own Hallucinations to Make Case
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.