Jill Bolte Taylor Interview on Oprah!

Quick note:

Check out Oprah’s show today or go to her website for the interview with Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor along with Dr. Mehmet Oz: http://www.oprah.com

(See the SpaceSuit Yoga archive of this site for note on Taylor’s talk at TED 2008)

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7 Responses to “Jill Bolte Taylor Interview on Oprah!”

  1. Trevor Says:

    Wasn’t Dr. Taylor’s talk on Oprah fantastic!!

  2. spacesuityoga Says:

    Trevor, thanks for your comment! I agree, Dr. Taylor is a generous speaker and bringing her on with Dr. Oz helps to make clear in people’s minds, how critical it is to recognize the signs of stroke and means of recovery.

    As I noted in my TED review of her presentation, I maintain a somewhat critical view of Taylor’s reductionist handling of right-left brain functions, but am in awe of how much she’s done in creating a brain aware community and touching people’s hearts and minds when it comes to the mystery of being human!

    I salute Taylor for her leadership in the field of public health education and for daring to connect the dots between dire illness and the illuminated uncanny!

    Thanks for writing.

    Dr. G.

  3. JohnQPublic Says:

    I have read about Dr. Bolte Taylor and saw her on Oprah yesterday. I believe her story to be absolutely fascinating. I plan on buying her book today. I, like many, I’m sure, find it interesting how her impaired condition mirrors what many believe is a spiritual state. That thought raises some questions regarding her conclusion about how one should lead their life. While I completely agree with her observation that people need that contact and validation for healing and that it is generally simply a superior way to relate to others, I believe she is at the same time downplaying the importance and significant service that left-minded activity produces. Perhaps the cost of significant service to others is stress and anger. Looking at it as cost/benefit, is it not worth it?

    1) Dr. Bolte Taylor points out at one point that because of the availability of certain medical care, that early treatment can be critical to avoiding the damaging effects of a stroke. Specifically, she mentioned medicine and equipment. Yet, her own experience has encouraged her to live a less stressful life, leave her high-powered career, and largely attend more to her right-brain needs. Isn’t it true that the medical treatment exists precisely because of the activities of the hundreds of stressed out left-minded individuals involved in producing that medicine and equipment? That is, isn’t the cost of becoming more blissful a reduction in what can be done for others to save lives? Do we not need all those stressed out, angry, left-minded individuals and what they produce? It seems that the blissful state she described is a state of helplessness that lacks an ability to reach out to others. While it is a perceptive state, she observed that others had to reach in to her as she could not reach out externally.

    2) If one is spiritual and believes that this blissful state occurs after death, shouldn’t one spend their earthly time then engaged in mostly left-minded activities since we will all achieve that blissful state anyway?

    I realize I am oversimplifying left- and right-mindedness, but their colloquial connotations are appropriate for my point. In conclusion, it seems to me that a right-minded world is actually a world where individuals are well-meaning and content but lack the necessary levels of motivation to solve large-scale problems. Is internal bliss really in the best interest of all?

  4. spacesuityoga Says:

    John Q. P.

    Thanks for your rigorous analysis.

    Below are my thoughts:

    1) I get your point about the unfortunate dualistic way that Taylor reduces stress to the sole function of the left hemisphere. Turning to the annals of neuroscience, research is being conducted to assess hemisphere dominance during stress states. See the National Institute of Health website as one example.

    However, it seems Taylor is pointing specifically to the stressful intellectual activities particular to left brain dominance, e.g., linguistic, analytical functions. But should one assume that intellectual activity, such that leads to medical research and discovery, is, by definition, anger producing and stressful? Should we not separate the act of research from the politics of research — the sort that goes on at high powered Ivy League universities?

    2) Again, the split brain theory leads to unfortunate false binaries of human experience. Pattern recognition and regulation of rest and digest functions — both executed by right brain dominant functions — are also particular to creative activity (Think Art and Think Craft!) and to meditative practice. If one considers new neuroscience literature — like those I’ve mentioned on this site — one might wonder why it has taken us so long to learn what ancient cultures have recognized long ago: “Enjoy the Beauty of Nature. Balance rest with work. And let’s use our collective energy to figure out how to carry clean water to our home.”

    Bliss, in other words, is part and parcel of the collective brain states that offer respite from the dynamic operations of day to day, hour by hour problem-solving. Given her “stroke of insight” Taylor realizes that bliss and associated states of flow and rest need to be recognized as legitimate brain states and that we must entrain ourselves for the betterment of the Planet and humankind.

    In sum, I support your effort to question the complete abandonment of struggle in the name of seeking internal bliss. Is this not what the great wisdom traditions and vanguard neuroscience question? Is that not what Captain Kirk posed as a fundamental query into the human condition? From my education, I’ve learned the following: After the ecstasy comes the work: Do the Mitzvahs. Chop Wood, Carry Water.

    Seems these days, Taylor, the new media celebrity, is working very very hard.

    Again, thanks for raising key issues!

    Dr. G.

  5. dhconcerts Says:

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  6. Daullyfuh Says:

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  7. jcseitz Says:

    I am an autistic adult. I was born with classic autism (head banging type child) because of this I know about families wrapping themselves around a disability. Stroke, like autism is a family affair. I am also a bit of a savant, my gift understanding the human body.
    4 years ago, a doctor asked me if I would apply my skills to a patient of his, Dick Clark who was reaching the six month point in his recovery. You can read the rest of the story from the cover story Stroke Connection Magazine. I work everyday with stroke survivors. My disability is my gift and my compassion comes from my own dealing with the rest of the world around the disabled individual.

    Here is a youtube video of what I do.

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