In a neuroscience class of mine this past fall semester, a teacher posted a link to a TED talk held by brain scientist Jill Bolte Taylor. In this talk, she speaks of her experience of having a stroke, and leads the conversation down a different road entirely. But I'd like you guys to watch the video and tell me what you think about it.
Here's the link:
http://www.ted.com/talks/jill_bolte_tay … sight.html
I love Ted Talks. My family loves them too, if it's alright with you, Ill look it up on Netflix so we can all watch it together then come back and comment.
Certainly explains a lot. I've had similar, yet not as profound experiences throughout my life, usually when I was ill. It also may explain why keeping life in the "now" makes one happy, which is most likely why people like playing sports that focus us in the "now".
Fascinating. Though I haven't the faintest idea how I'm supposed to step into the right side of my brain.
Just turn of the thinking part or have a stroke, I recommend the former.
It's hard for me because I've become so accustomed to operating from the left brain. But it's not impossible.
Love TED talks. This one is fascinating. Thanks for posting it. For me it's all about how perception filters reality. It suggests that changing someone's perception, changes their reality, or more accurately allows a different "view" of reality as happened to Dr. Bolte. It's not that objective reality doesn't exist, but what we consider reality is actually just a view of reality, one of many.
It was also interesting how Bolte communicated her experience. Her language was reminiscent of someone recounting a religious experience, and she was at times moved to tears. Taken out of context her her comments could easily be dismissed as new-age mysticism, yet she is a respected neuroscientist who knows the science behind the experience. I think there is a lesson there for both theists and atheists.
Notice she able to explain how and why she was having what can be likened to a spiritual experience or a near death experience. While some have similar experiences and attribute them to God she attributed them to the brain. But I suppose anything you or others experience can't be explained in the same way?
Personally, I kept thinking how similar her perceptions were to what drugs can produce. When the brain doesn't work right, nearly anything can be "perceived".
I also caught that she was able to understand that what she was perceiving was "wrong" somehow; she knew something was wrong and that she needed help to set it right again.
I didn't get the impression she felt her perception was "wrong". I got the impression that she as an individual (encapsulated by the left hemisphere of her brain) realized she needed help, but as a neurologist, considered the experience "cool" and an opportunity for analysis. Her later comments imply that she believes the alternate perception (what she calls "la la land") is a better view of reality than our typical perception, or at least can positively impact our typical perception of the world.
Wrong all the way through.
She clearly recognized that she could not function on only the right side of her brain and needed help to "get fixed". That would mean she recognized that her perceptions of the world were incorrect.
She did NOT say her alternate perception gave a better view of reality: she said that her alternate perception made her feel good. It was fun, it was easy, it was pleasant. None of which make it correct - she already knows it does not give a correct perception of reality because if it did she would not want the left side back.
She clearly says (as can be seen in the transcript of the video) ". . . my mind was now suspended between two very opposite planes of reality". She obviously does not consider her "la la land" (she later calls it Nirvana) perception to be incorrect, but rather to be simply a different "plane of reality".
Re-read my comment and you'll see I never said that she stated her alternate view of reality gave a better view of reality. I said her later comments "imply that she believes the alternate perception . . . is a better view of reality than our typical perception, or at least can positively impact our typical perception of the world." Those later comments were:
"Right here, right now, I can step into the consciousness of my right hemisphere, where we are. I am the life-force power of the universe. I am the life-force power of the 50 trillion beautiful molecular geniuses that make up my form, at one with all that is. Or, I can choose to step into the consciousness of my left hemisphere, where I become a single individual, a solid. Separate from the flow, separate from you. I am Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor: intellectual, neuroanatomist. These are the "we" inside of me. Which would you choose? Which do you choose? And when? I believe that the more time we spend choosing to run the deep inner-peace circuitry of our right hemispheres, the more peace we will project into the world, and the more peaceful our planet will be."
She clearly states that she believes moving further towards that alternate perception, "the deep inner-peace circuitry of our right hemispheres", will make the world more peaceful. In doing so she is implying that the alternate perception is either better, or at least positively impacts our typical (left hemisphere) perception, which is what I said originally.
I think it's likely that she wanted the left side of her brain back because of the functionality associated with it, i.e. walking, speech, reading and understanding verbal language etc, not because she believes the perception of the right side of her brain is incorrect. That suggestion is inconsistent with comments throughout the rest of her talk.
She does wax poetic, doesn't she? As in being the "life force of the universe" or "beautiful molecular geniuses"? Of course both phrases are free from any real sense; she is not the life force of the universe and no molecule is of genius level of cogitation.
She DOES say that that the right side perception gives a deep inner-peace, but of course that does not make it real. Just peaceful - this is what I said.
The right hand perception may be "better", but "better" is a subjective value and does not reflect truth at all. What is good for her may be peace, not reality.
She wanted the left side back because she cannot survive without it. The right side alone cannot give a perception that correlates with reality; she cannot survive with only the view it gives.
Yes she does have a rather poetic turn of phrase. The fact she said ". . . my mind was now suspended between two very opposite planes of reality" suggests she believes the left and right sides of her brain are both seeing reality, but in different ways. She does not say that one correlates with reality and the other doesn't. The choice she suggests at the end is not peace vs an accurate perception of reality. It is perception through the right side of the brain (peaceful) or perception through the left side of the brain (less peaceful). If she believed one correlated less with reality, I think it's likely she would have said. Neither does she say that functions associated with the left side make left-centric perception more accurate. That would not make sense. Motor skills, speech etc. are integral to human survival, but they are not integral to reality. In other words, the perception of someone who cannot walk is no less accurate than the perception of someone who can.
I think we can credit Dr. Bolte with knowing that shutting down the left side of the brain entirely would be problematic, as her experience demonstrated. I don't think she is suggesting that. I think she is suggesting that we try to tap-in to a more right-centric perception, or as she calls it "nirvana", so we can benefit from the insight it gives us; an insight she has personal experience of.
Dr. Bolte has clearly been affected by her experience. Not just in the sense that she had to recover from a serious illness, but also in the sense that it has profoundly influenced her worldview. That is evident in her closing remarks. She cannot fully relate her experience of "la la land", and she cannot demonstrate what she experienced objectively. Yet she believes she experienced a different view of reality, which she implies is preferable to our typical view of reality. I think this is an example of how an individual's belief can be grounded in their experience, and that what we believe we "know" is not based only on what we can provide empirical evidence for. Dr. Bolte "knows" she experienced "la la land" even though she cannot prove it. By the standards of evidentialism (so often applied to theists) continued belief in something that is not based on objective evidence is irrational, delusional and dysfunctional. Do you believe Dr. Bolt's continued belief that she glimpsed a different view of reality, is irrational, delusional and dysfunctional?
I think you are missing the point. She experience life through a traumatized brain. She certainly was having problems with reality as she was dying and unable to call for help. Her experience didn't change reality at all, just her perception of reality. Her experience was real, but it nothing to do with reality. Similarly, your and my experiences were real experiences but may have nothing to do with reality.
If you re-read my comment you'll see I didn't say her experience changed reality. I said it seems she experienced "a different view of reality". I also said in my first comment "It's not that objective reality doesn't exist, but what we consider reality is actually just a view of reality, one of many". This is what the comments in her TED talk imply. So my question stands, do you think Dr. Bolt's continued belief that she glimpsed a different view of reality, is irrational, delusional and dysfunctional? To clarify, I'm not asking whether her experience was the result of a dysfunction. It clearly was, as growing a tumor is not part of the typical function of the brain. I am asking whether you think the belief she has formed based on that experience is irrational, delusional and dysfunctional.
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