Oliver Sacks is a professor of neurology at New York University School of Medicine and author of the memoir “On the Move.” He has recently been faced with a terminal diagnosis of metastatic cancer. In the last months of his life he finds comfort in the world of science, specifically with metals and their innate connection to the natural world. He has turned to the physical sciences for an outlet from reality in both life and death. He finds comfort in the idea that metals and minerals represent a kind of eternal life that no human can achieve. It’s an interesting and unique way to look at metals and their origins in the midst of buying, selling and using them as merely a product and commodity in our everyday business.
As people who are surrounded by warehouses full of copper, zinc, brass, nickel, tin and countless other metals each day, we see our stocks as assets rather than appreciating the other valuable aspect of the business. Sacks gives us the opportunity to appreciate how metal is an eternal substance in this world. It has been around since the beginning and will be around forever. The metals we have in stock in our warehouse today were here on earth well before all our ancestors and will be here long after future generations. We work in a special industry, unlike any other, in this way. It is rare that we truly see and admire metal for what it actually is. Eternal.