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The Bacchae and Catharsis

Listening to Jill Bolte-Taylor - Part 2 When Jill Bolte-Taylor was thrown into right-brain mode by the artery exploding in her left brain, she described her new state as a timeless, Nirvanic present. With her left brain shutting down, she felt intimately connected to the ever-shifting field of experience, like a wave moving through a body of water. In her former left-brain mode, Bolte-Taylor described feeling separate from all else and continuous in time - like a particle traversing a solitary path from past into future. Those as intrigued as I am by modern science might foresee the wild, speculative leap I'm about to make - the right-left division of our brains reflects the basic split at the foundation of the material world between … [Read more...]

Catharsis and the Brain

Listening to Jill Bolte-Taylor – Part 1 Suddenly everyone is talking about Jill Bolte-Taylor. Bolte-Taylor is the brain scientist who observed her own stroke in real time as it happened, and then recovered sufficiently in order to make her insights public. Taking a shower one day in 1996 a blood vessel exploded in the left half of her brain. Language swiftly departed, along with basic cognition. She was barely able to reach the phone to call for help. Years later, linguistic abilities restored, she wrote a book about the experience, My Stroke of Insight. It’s a fascinating read, but the most direct way to get a sense of Jill Bolte-Taylor is to check out her TED talk. According to Bolte-Taylor the two lobes of our brain are … [Read more...]