Friday, March 28, 2008

Who are we?

This film clip of a talk given by Jill Taylor at TED is gripping! It describes the personal experience of a female neuroscientist who lost the entire left half of her brain and who could then depict clearly her ‘right brain experience’. It describes the instant when she thought she was in transition between life and death and how that felt. She suggests we can choose between being left and right brain beings (and the hemisphere she prefers).

Find a time when you have 18 minutes to watch it. Your response is of interest.


Mark Richardson said...

Harry, thanks for the link. It was certainly worth watching.

My response? I couldn't help thinking as I watched that there are older human traditions of trying to quieten the left side of the brain in order to experience life in a more connected way. Perhaps zen is one of the best known, though there are Western traditions too.

I think Jill Taylor's right that people would live better, but I think she's veering toward utopianism to believe that you're going to get world peace.

Anonymous said...

this is interesting for its first hand account of the stroke but I found myself going 'bah humbug' a lot. too much romanticisation of what was a very serious temporary impairment. maybe I'm just too left brained :-)


TerjeP (say tay-a) said...


Nice video - a fascinating story which was nicely told.

Many years ago I did formal meditation courses and loved it. I'm hardly a guru but these days I still on occasion take time out to block out thoughts about the past and future as a way of stilling the mind and focusing on the moment. If I've had a hard week and I want to recentre myself I might restrict my Saturday thoughts to "today" only and not think about events either side of the two midnights that contain it. Personally I find that this process can help re-establish a lot of inner peace if lifes difficulties are getting me down. It is good to be able to find that place and as such I suppose I'm asking the left brain to go slow for a while. Its a good trick that anybody can do.

However I don't think the road to personal inner peace is the same as the road to world peace. Killing eachother might in fact be quite euphoric. I'm not convinced that our left brain is the source of all the worlds trouble.

As such I think Mark Richardson in his comment above is pretty much spot on.

Anonymous said...

She's a bit over the top, harry. Imagine being married to her? She'd talk you to death.

I couldn't quite get what she was on about when she kept referring to this mystical light and being one with other atoms.

That made me think she hasn't fully recovered as yet.


Anonymous said...

"I couldn't quite get what she was on about when she kept referring to being one with other atoms."

She was recognizing personally (perhaps ever sensing in ways we cannot imagine) the scientific reality that our bodies exist in the same quantum reality as everything else. The idea of "separateness" is only a reality when our perception is limited.

Buddha noted it. Jung talked about it. Even Jesus hinted at it (Jn17), along with just about every mystic and sage of the last 2000 years.