Charles Clanton Rogers

Reflections based on poetry, music, visual art, book reviews, history of science, first-person history, philosophical essays and International Blogging



A Review: Musicophilia:  Oliver Sacks,

Physician, Teacher, Author, Humanitarian, Renaissance Man

“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’ compassionate, compelling tales of people struggling to adapt to different neurological conditions have fundamentally changed the way we think of our brains, and of the human experience. In Musicophilia, he examines the powers of music through the individual experiences of patients, musicians, and everyday people. He explores how catchy tunes can subject us to hours of mental replay, and how a surprising number of people acquire nonstop musical hallucinations that assault them night and day.
Yet far more frequently, music goes right: Sacks describes how music can animate people with Parkinson’s disease who cannot otherwise move, give words to stroke patients who cannot otherwise speak, and calm and organize people whose memories are ravaged by Alzheimer’s or amnesia.”   [Publisher’s Summary]
Music is irresistible, haunting, and unforgettable, and in Musicophilia, Oliver Sacks tells us why.
©2007 Oliver Sacks; (P)2007 Books on Tape

Oliver Sacks was a Doctor’s Doctor; Teacher’s Teacher; Author’s Author.

In my retirement, I read a lot!    Some  of my other Author’s Authors,:

Ernest Hemingway  Kazuo Ishiguro    Mary Doria Russell   Val McDermid    Lewis Thomas                       Yuval Noah Harari     E.L. Doctorow  Herman Wouk  Bill Bryson,

14 thoughts on “Oliver Sacks: Music: Communication and Therapy –

  1. bbnewsab says:

    Yes, the power of music is great. Music can be used to unite people. Cf. using drummer boys in battle fields formerly.

    In fact, life is in many ways built on rhythms. I myself believe that our sense for rhythm paved the way for our ancestors’ acquisition of language. And, of course, “full-fledged” music (of the kind we know of today).

    BTW, here’s an article you’ll no doubt appreciate, Kung Karl a.k.a. “The Great Music Lover”: . About the origin of music.

    I guess music must be much older than language itself. I consider language to be a specific kind of music (think of prosody, rhyme etc.), i.e. without intonation it’s much harder to diversify a spoken message.

    More information of the intriguing relationship between music and language can be found in this Wikipedia overview: .


  2. bbnewsab says:

    Forgot to comment on your list of authors whose books you enjoy reading.

    In short. I believe your list can be summarized in these two words: GOOD TASTE.

    Why not also make a list of your most “cherished” non-fiction writers?

    Do you think this book can hit your list? How Many Friends Does One Person Need? Dunbar’s Number and Other Evolutionary Quirks (Harvard University Press Cambridge, Massachusetts 2010). By Robin Dunbar

    I found the table of contents on the web (see: )

    1 In the Beginning 3

    2 The Monogamous Brain 11

    3 Dunbar’s Number 21

    4 Kith and Kin 35

    5 The Ancestors that Still Haunt Us 47

    6 Bonds that Bind 61

    7 Why Gossip is Good for You 73

    8 Scars of Evolution 85

    9 Who’d Mess with Evolution? 99

    10 The Darwin Wars 113

    11 So Near, and Yet So Far 127

    12 Farewell, Cousins 143

    13 Stone Age Psychology 161

    14 Natural Minds 175

    15 How to Join the Culture Club 191

    16 Be Smart . . . Live Longer 203

    17 Beautiful Science 215

    18 Are You Lonesome Tonight? 227

    19 Eskimos Rub Noses 243

    20 Your Cheating Heart 253

    21 Morality on the Brain 267

    22 How Evolution Found God 279

    Index 293

    Maybe you’ve already read it?

    Anyhow, the last chapter sounds especially interesting to my atheist brain. It reminds me of this book, The evolution of God, by Robert Wright. For details, see: .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. clanton1934 says:

      I read “The Evolution of God”, probably 20 years ago. Yes, that was a land-mark publication! I have known “How many friends does one need? I must find that one. Thanks for the introduction. Karl


  3. bbnewsab says:

    With regard to your list of good authors (seen above, in which you mention writers like Oliver Sacks, Ernest Hemingway, Kazuo Ishiguro, Mary Doria Russell, Val McDermid, Lewis Thomas, Yuval Noah Harari, E.L. Doctorow Herman Wouk, and Bill Bryson), what about your giving a short motivation for why and how they are worth reading? For example, is it how they use and handle the the words, how they create excitemen, awe, thrill, or is it about the topics, inter-relational questions they introduce and/or personalities they choose to depict?

    Oliver Sacks and Yuval Noah Harari (thanks, Karl for introducing Harari to me!) are both known for their abilities to popularize science by making scientific observations and research accessible also for laymen. So that might have been my motivation to have them on my own list of good authors.

    Here’s my own take in more generalistic “terms”:

    A truly great topic gets more amazing the more you think about it, not less.

    In fact, the appropriate response you should have to a scientific explanation and/or scientific unveiling of the hitherto unknown secrets hidden inside our universe is not disappointment. Neither should you feel any disillusionment.

    To see the many riddles of life getting disclosed should lead to amazement and awe.
    The better understanding, the more intensive is the awe you should feel.

    In short, understanding how something really is, and works, that’s IMHO awe. As much as it is awesome and breathtaking to look at a wonderful sunset or listen to music that makes you feel good.

    And that, dear Kung Karl, is why it every now and then is AWESOME to visit your blog and share your thoughts, your literary preferences, and your musical good taste and so on.

    Sometimes I “force” you to share my thoughts. And believe me, Karl, that’s also awesome (i.e. to have someone who takes his time to listen to and comment upon what others want to “tell the world”).

    Put simply, Kung Karl, for me you are the one who rules the entire blow world. I don’t care the least that I here on your blog can’t read anything about latest celebrities news or latest fashion trends. Those topics are not my cup of tea.

    BTW, here is music for you: All that is needed is a few changes in the lyrics. Listen to: .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. clanton1934 says:

      You my friend, are like “chicken-soup” for my soul! “Don’t!”-“Stop!”, “Don’t”- “Stop!”—“Don’t Stop!” Karl

      Liked by 1 person

      1. bbnewsab says:

        Why should I (stop)?

        Our relationship on the web is of the win/win kind.

        There’s a saying here in Sweden, “Never change a winning team!”

        What’s the American way of saying the same thing?


      2. clanton1934 says:

        We say, (1) “quitters never win; winners never quit.”
        2. Satchel page an old professional baseball plater, “Don’t look back; somebody may be gaining on you” and “Don’t change horses in mid-stream.” K

        Liked by 1 person

    2. clanton1934 says:

      As you wish, More book reviews coming your way. First up Mary Doria Russell. A recent author discovery; a complete master of historical-fiction. Its real history brightened with some fictional characters.


  4. bbnewsab says:

    Ooops, of course I mean “the entire blog world”, sorry for that typo.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. clanton1934 says:

      “World” should be an adequately sized stage for now. In three and a half hours is a blog post on why I admire Mary Doria Russell.
      Fortunately, I already had most of it written. It just required a little editing. There is a good deal of essential history in “Dreamers” & “Thread”! Dreamers explains how the a Western ” oil” people invented the countries of the Middle East and the geo-political present day mess. “Tread” is the story of displaced oppressed peoples of Italy by the Nazi/Fascists during the Second World War. Doc & Epitaph is history important only to middle America. The history of the remaining two books should be consumed of all World citizens. ccr

      Liked by 1 person

  5. bbnewsab says:

    BTW, here’s an article for Darwin and Einstein (the feline [re]incarnation versions):

    Unfortunately that article is behind a pay wall, but you can read the first part of that article for free.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. clanton1934 says:

      My Darwin & Einstein wish to you and the scientist noted in the article that you have the whole study backwards! Cats came first and have domesticated humans. The cats have us waiting on them! We buy and serve their food; keep their water bowl full of fresh water; buy them cat toys and cat perches; get up when they want the door open! Have you ever seen a cat bring a human food or drink?
      It is so obvious, Cats domesticated us; Darwin (cat) says: “Do you think we’re stupid?” K

      Liked by 1 person

      1. bbnewsab says:

        Darwin has a very good point there. :o)

        Like in 1492, the American Indians discovered Christopher Columbus.

        Changing of one’s point of view can sometimes be valuable to do, especially if you’re trying to find new solutions for old problems.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. clanton1934 says:

    About 24-36 hours ago, I tried to send you two rough drafts of proposed posts. I forwarded these by WordPess “help” option. If you didn’t receive them, I will e-mail them to you. I need your thoughts on them. K


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