Everything In Its Place was written by Oliver Sacks. As a neurologist and author, Sacks’s collection of essays looks to highlight the things he found both joyful and challenging throughout his life. Therefore, quotes pulled from his essays are meant to highlight life in a realistic way.
The first essay, “Water Babies,” tells of the author's early life in the water.
Swimming is instinctive at this age, so, for better or worse, we never ‘learned’ to swim.
This quote speaks to the importance of immersion in things at a young age. Given that he was “introduced” to water at a week old, his love for water was almost intuitive. This allows readers to see the importance of creating behaviors which are meant to become second nature. As Sacks was introduced to water at such a young age, it (figuratively) became a part of him. As learners, when we submerge ourselves into most things, we come to find the challenges associated with them as less stressful given how accustomed we are to the thing itself. Sacks goes on to discuss the lack of fear associated with behaviors and skills that have been embedded in one’s identity. Essentially, sometimes the thing which we do not formally learn are the things which we tend to be the best at.
In another essay, “Remembering South Kensington,” Sacks discusses the importance of museums in his life.
They [museums] have played a central role in my life in stimulating the imagination and showing me the order of the world in vivid, concrete form.
This quote illustrates the importance of both memory and the natural state of things. Sacks states that books only provide us with words, unlike museums, which provide “exemplars of nature.” Mirroring the earlier quote, this quote speaks to the importance of immersion into important things early in life. As a teacher, I find numerous students who claim to have no imagination. They state that they cannot read a book and “see” what is happening. On the other hand, a museum offers “vivid” images to inspire. Sacks seems to have...
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