Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Not to Be Missed!!

Yes, Karen Armstrong’s TED talk was an interesting intellectual presentation around religious issues. It didn’t, however, blow me away or move me out of my head into my heart. But if I could command people to listen to one of the TED presentations, it would be the one given by neuroanatomist Jill Taylor. It’s a talk that’s not to be missed, whether a person is interested in neurobiology or not. Not only does she do a better job of explaining how the two cognitive minds of the two sides of our brain present different views of our world, but she’s also one of the best teachers I’ve ever heard, engaging her listeners in a blend of information presentation, storytelling (she’s a dynamic storyteller, sharing the details of what it was like for her to have a stroke), and visuals. The audience present at the talk was laughing and learning throughout the talk. While my interest in brain science is next to nothing, I found myself engaged and reacting in the same way, even across the internet. The ramifications of her talk for all who deal with psychology and mental illness (all mental illness, not just those who work with people like her schizophrenic brother) and for those interested in spirituality (since she’s better at picturing and explaining the feelings and peace of the right hemisphere than any preacher, theologian, or spiritual teacher I’ve ever run across.) Ultimately, she begins to capture what it means to be human and the daily struggle each of us goes through between living as individuals and as part of a larger whole. As she concluded, I found myself with tears in my eyes, speechless, at both the journey through the experience of a stroke that she’d taken us on and especially what she’d learned from the experience.

Here's the talk for those of you who might have missed it:

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