Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Left Brain, Right Brain

Talk about gifts wrapped in shit! Here's one for the ages. In case readers missed it, I'd truly recommend clicking on this link to Jill Bolte Taylor's TED talk about her stroke, and the extraordinary gift she received as a result. It's an 18-minute video, but WELL WORTH the investment of time.

11 comments:

Laticia said...

I recommend Amazon as the place to get Jill Bolte Taylor's book MY STROKE OF INSIGHT because they have a wonderful interview with her on Amazon that offers new content I haven't seen anywhere else - that link is: http://www.amazon.com/My-Stroke-Insight-Scientists-Personal/dp/0670020745/ref=pd_bbs_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1211471755&sr=1-2

The book is an absolutely wonderful journey by a brain scientist who suffered a stroke. She recovered fully, back to teaching at Medical School no less (and she gives great tips on how and what to do to recover from a Stroke or help others recover).

Dr Taylor also learned to fully be present in the part of the brain/mind where we experience full inner peace and Nirvana. SHe teaches that too, and that's why everyone should read this book.

This story is as inspiring as The Last Lecture or Tuesdays with Morrie - and it has a Happy Ending!

Anonymous said...

I read "My Stroke of Insight" in one sitting - I couldn't put it down. I laughed. I cried. It was a fantastic book (I heard it's a NYTimes Bestseller and I can see why!), but I also think it will be the start of a new, transformative Movement! No one wants to have a stroke as Jill Bolte Taylor did, but her experience can teach us all how to live better lives. Her TED.com speech was one of the most incredibly moving, stimulating, wonderful videos I've ever seen. Her Oprah Soul Series interviews were fascinating. They should make a movie of her life so everyone sees it. This is the Real Deal and gives me hope for humanity.

Marian said...

Maybe it's because you can't force anyone to have insight - neither through involuntary "treatment" (the "mentally ill"), nor through a stroke - that Jill Bolte Taylor's insight doesn't go as far as to respect "mentally ill"-labelled people as equal human beings, but leaves her still judging an experience, she never had herself, and, as the president of a NAMI-affiliate, advocating for a "treatment", individuals in crisis themselves experience as extremely dehumanizing and oppressing on a psychological level, as well as extremely damaging to their health on a physical one.

Maybe you really have to go through the pain and suffering of an existential crisis yourself, or at least meet people who are going through that pain and suffering with an open mind, in order to be able to distance yourself from the mainstream, that judges these people's brain functioning as being physically defective and thus inferior to other human beings' (genes, brain structure, brain chemistry), although there is no scientific evidence for this to be true.

Compare Jill Bolte Taylor's statements on the matter, both at the Soul Series-interview, but especially in the beginning of her TED-talk, with Eckhart Tolle's and Wayne Dyer's acknowledgement of social/psychological factors to, at least, contribute a great deal to, if not being the basic cause for the development of emotional crises (so-called "mental illness"). Jill Bolte Taylor does not even mention the possibility of these factors to play a certain role. NAMI explicitly denies any other causes than physiological ones, consequently advocating for a "treatment", that by a vast number of individuals in crisis is experienced as extremely painful, "a trauma on top of a trauma", as one of these individuals once put it, and doing more harm than good.

Having experienced emotional suffering myself ("schizophrenia"), and having been so incredibly lucky as not to become subjected to the mainstream mental health system's "treatment", both the interview and the TED-talk left me rather disappointed and disillusioned. Taken the current situation of no scientific evidence in support of physiological causes to exist into account, to judge people mentally deficient and dysfunctional, and to advocate for these people to be, if necessary forcibly, subjected to extremely harmful "treatments", as NAMI and thus Jill Bolte Taylor do, in my opinion is not exactly a sign of deeper insight.

I asked Dr. Taylor to revise her position on this matter, to start and listen to people in crisis themselves, with an open mind and heart, and to, please, stop fighting them. I got no answer so far.

The documentary Someone Beside You shows a very different approach to emotional crisis than Jill Bolte Taylor's and NAMI's. The film is based on Edward Podvoll's/Lama Mingyur's (Buddhist psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, founder of Windhorse experiences with the help for people in emotional crisis, and lets these people, uncensored, speak for themselves.

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