Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Mysterious World Of The Right Hemisphere Of Our Brains: Is This Where Jesus Lives?

As I blunder off to work today which means I probably won't post anything for the next three days or so, I thought I'd leave readers with a very challenging video.  I have written more than once that science is beginning to affirm mysticism.  The above video is about neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor who describes what it's like to be in the middle of a massive stroke effecting the left hemisphere of her brain.  She describes life as it's experienced by the right hemisphere, which is very very different and may not be the same reality at all.

Mysticism appears to be a right hemispheric function as do a number of other human attributes.  Enjoy watching this because it leaves one wondering about a whole host of different things, starting with why do we need two brains which experience life so differently? 


  1. Lots to ponder on here and it is a challenge. One is also speculating that Jill's experience is everyone's experience when they have a stroke? Or, is that assumed to be the reality for everyone, as in universal? Does it fit into our own sense or idea of reality?

    Excellent question "why do we need two brains which experience life so differently?" Maybe it has something to do with evolution or devolution? ... or maybe it has something to do with our creator?

    Maybe we are all just nuts, make too many presumptions and assumptions about so-called "reality" and how it IS experienced.

    There are many factors that contribute to one's ability to become someone like Jill too. Something from the right side of her brain had to be the cause for her compassion for her brother who had schizophrenia, enough so, for her to dedicate her life to try to understand what she and the world consider a "disorder" of the brain. As well, she had other means to support her ability to pursue and support her dreams becoming a reality. Perhaps even the stroke she had was part of that dream?


  2. I saw this video a while back and agree that Jill Bolte Taylor is a powerful speaker . The fact that her background is as a neuroscientist adds credibility to her message too.

    As a biologist I see what she says as part of our evolution and also the fact that early in our evolution the hunter gatherer and survival instinct of necessity possibly led to selection of left hemisphere dominance.

    Also in response to comments from "anonymous" When I did my training many years ago in Jungian psychology I always remember the lecturer who asked us to consider the question : Are you in the dream or is the dream in you ?
    It is a profound question and not easy to answer and when we consider the role of dreams in religion it makes it even more intriguing. Maybe prophets and poets are more attuned to their right hemisphere ? :-))

  3. This discussion reminds me of a book that advances a similar thesis , Julian Jaynes’ The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind. On another blog I read last year a commenter wrote "... Jaynes, a late Yale psychology prof, contends that many human beings before 2000 BCE possessed “bicameral” or schizophrenic minds. In his view, the dawn of intellectual abstraction and literary ability coincided with the gradual disappearance of bicameralism. The pre- or peri-literate bicameral mind resolved external conflict through neurologically generated “voices of the gods”. Jaynes suggests that ritual idols and their ritual narratives stimulated hallucination. Jaynes paints an peri-historical world of humanoid-automatons devoid of original thought..." The comment thread also mentioned earlier 20th century polymaths like Rudolf Steiner were ruminating on similar ideas.

    John Fremont

  4. Great question: "Are you in the dream or is the dream in you ? " Perhaps it is a little of both for the prophet and poet and to anyone with an imagination, as well as a dream.

    Perhaps more of the right brain was used in the past, then it shifted to a reliance on the left side of the brain for reasons of survival after a period of earthquakes sent people moving from familiar surroundings, as was indicated in the link by John Fremont. Trauma perhaps caused this dramatic shift from right brain to left brain dominance?

    Schizophrenic minds are sort of on overload in terms of visual and auditory experiences. Perhaps it is too extreme to think or believe that such an extreme was the norm for all. That is just my opinion and certainly not based on fact. Is there a biological test for schizophrenia?

    Mystics, to my understanding, hear, but not in a literal hearing, more as a consciousness hearing, as it was described by St Theresa of Avila, to my recollection. It is a different kind of hearing, to my knowledge anyway and from what I've read and/or encountered in my own experience with auditory perception.


  5. Some further thoughts on this subject. Trauma of the biological sort took place in Jill to a depletion of the left hemisphere to her total awareness of the right hemisphere. The right hemisphere without the balance of the left hemisphere is what she experienced.

    It seems apparent to me that both sides of the brain are needed and if one or the other is not used or cut off in some way, we can get into deep problems with discerning the bigger picture. That's what this all seems to be saying to me.