Monday, September 07, 2015

"An aliquot of gefilte fish every waking hour"

In his last days, Oliver Sacks rediscovered the pleasures of a food of his youth. (Via Becca.) Shades of Lear here: "Men must endure. Their going hence, even as their coming hither: Ripeness is all."

Also: Jerome Groopman on Sacks' autobiographical writings (with some especially interesting thoughts on what happened when one of Sacks's older mentors plagiarized extensively from his work on migraines after discouraging Sacks from publishing such "trash"):
Sacks attributes Friedman’s bad behavior to a role reversal of the “youthful son-in-science” outshining “the father.” I take a less generous view. Serving on grant review committees, I have observed senior researchers who are fair and well-intentioned, but also those who slam proposals from creative investigators, then steal their ideas. Similar fratricide occurs with submitted manuscripts, with reviewers denigrating competing research so it is not published. There is an ugly side to the scientific hierarchy that comes from unchecked lust for success and fame.
I have been thinking very strongly, over this last week or so, about the fact that while it is easy to descend into a swirling array of plans for self-improvement amidst lashings of self-criticism, I could really boil down my remaining life goals to one thing: to make sure that everything I write from now on aspires to whatever I can muster of the spirit and kind of Sacks's best writings!

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