Oliver Sacks on ripe bananas

6 minutes

How the ‘Island of the Colourblind’ made Oliver Sacks rethink ‘normal’

In 1993, inspired by H G Wells’s short story ‘The Country of the Blind’ (1904), the renowned neurologist and writer Oliver Sacks set out to study life on Pingelap – a small Micronesian island where an estimated tenth of the population has achromatopsia, a rare genetic disorder that leaves people close to or entirely colourblind. The results of Sacks’s investigation, compiled in his book The Island of the Colorblind (1996) and explored in this brief animation featuring audio excerpted from a 1998 radio interview, attests to the brain’s – and societies’ – astonishing ability to adapt to changing circumstances.

Animator: Patrick Smith

Producer: Amy Drozdowska, David Gerlach

Website: Blank on Blank

Get Aeon straight
to your inbox
Join our newsletter Sign up
Follow us on
Facebook
Like
Essay/
Social Psychology
In extremis

As Hannah Arendt argued, there is one common thread which connects individuals drawn to all kinds of extremist ideologies

Nabeelah Jaffer

Essay/
Love & Friendship
Love your frenemy

Envy is the dark side of love, but love is the luminous side of envy. Is there a way to harness envy wisely, for growth?

Sara Protasi