Thursday, March 27, 2008

Searching For the Cow While Riding the Cow

This is pretty amazing stuff. A brain researcher becomes her own patient and has to study--from the inside out--what's gone wrong...using as an investigative tool the very brain that's gone wrong:

In the course of four hours, I watched my brain completely deteriorate in its ability to process all information. On the morning of the hemorrhage, I could not walk, talk, read, write or recall any of my life.
If you happen to find brains endlessly mysterious and strange, as I do, the video is very much worth the 18 minutes. One of the things I find most interesting about her experience is that, with the left side of the brain's silence during her stroke, she experienced a radical loss of distinction: she couldn't tell where her body stopped and the world began; she couldn't tell the difference between words and background on a card. The world stopped being a million separate and discrete things and became, for a moment, one stunning wholeness.

If you take a look at the scrap of dialogue on the left hand side of this blog, you'll see a very similar sort of thing, from more of a Zen/religious perspective. And if you look at the very bottom of the page, you'll see a quote from Walt Whitman that hints at the same thing.

"Nirvana..." says our lecturer. "I found Nirvana...but I'm still alive..."

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