The Arrow

There are no answers; only choices.

Stroke of Insight

Posted by thearrow on April 2, 2008

Or left brain vs. right brain.

Neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor had an opportunity few brain scientists would wish for: One morning, she realized she was having a massive stroke. As it happened — as she felt her brain functions slip away one by one, speech, movement, understanding — she studied and remembered every moment. This is a powerful story about how our brains define us and connect us to the world and to one another.

And, I would add, a powerful argument as to why we should seek a common ground and compassion instead of conflict. I don’t know much about Buddhism, but I keep being amazed by how science confirms time and again what this philosophy and what common sense have taught us since time immemorial.

Initially found on Shekhar Kapur’s blog and then on (video is 20-minute long).


5 Responses to “Stroke of Insight”

  1. Ionuka said

    Very interesting… although I have a few doubts about her memory being so accurate about this experience. And other things such as… she was not able to identiy numbers, but she was able to retrieve the concept of a “Golden Retreiver.” hahaha… that’s my left brain over-analyzing. I asked some neuroscience friends about this – maybe they can explain how that’s possible.

  2. thearrow said

    Hm… good point. I don’t know; maybe she attached the “golden retriever” label to the conversation after the fact. How the brain works is an endless source of fascination for me :).

  3. k. said

    only now did I watch this. it’s amazing how I kept saying to myself – do you have to teach people to use their right hemisphere??? really. and if that was the message, ‘use your right h.”, then I kept picturing people looking for this kind of service and asking how much they charge. HAHA. the irony of it.

  4. thearrow said

    Yes, I think we’re inclined to put a lot more value on what the left hemisphere produces (logic, ego) and have to make conscious efforts to bring the right one in the game. Would be nice to be able to pay someone else to do this for us, eh? 🙂 But darn, we have to do this ourselves.

  5. k. said

    I do it in 2 to 20 seconds. I am starting to teach myself to use the left h. :))

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