Every so often you have an experience that changes the way you see or understand the world in way you never thought possible. As an avid TED Talk viewer I explore many topics and find a lot of inspiration from people who are out there telling the world their message. A few years ago I came across a video by Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor. Now, you might have seen or heard of this particular talk since it’s one of the top 10 most viewed TED Talks of all time with over 15 million views now. I tend to believe that we all, at one time or another, wonder about the possibilities of something bigger than us. The human body has 5 senses that allow for us to perceive the world around us but to what extent? What might we not be seeing? Is the only way we can know anything through our local senses? We talk of gods, metaphysics and string theory or mediums and ghosts. But we have no real scientific evidence of any life after death or that our existence is eternal and the human experience is just a quick learning lesson.
Here at The Blue Dot Post we are firm believers in science being our best guide to a better world and always keep our minds open to breaking new boundaries and exploring the unknown. Albert Einstein said “I’m not a genius, I’m just very curious”. So, never rule anything out, just stay rational. Something is only “mystical” until we learn how it works through the application of science. One of the biggest untapped mysteries today is human consciousness. Have we even scratched the surface of understanding it?
Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor is a Harvard-trained and published neuroanatomist(brain scientist) who experienced a severe hemorrhage in the left hemisphere of her brain in 1996. In 2008, Dr. Jill gave a presentation at the TED Conference in Monterey, CA, which turned out to be the first TED talk to ever go viral through the internet. Her talk is profound, passionate and thought provoking. After I first saw it I was completely taken back and slightly humbled. It’s a scientist discussing what is unknown to science today. Her talk became so famous that Dr. Taylor was chosen as one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World for 2008. What are the odds of this happening to a neuroanatomist? It impacted her so much that she wrote a book and was willing to get on the world stage and share her story.
Her message is powerful and sparks that curiosity we are all born with. She is the author of the New York Times bestselling memoir My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey.
Hear Dr. Taylor’s Famous TED Talk
Oddly enough she is not the first brain scientist to have this type of experience. Dr. Eben Alexander, a neurosurgeon who has served on the medical staff at Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Boston Children’s Hospital, and Massachusetts General Hospital, and on the faculty of the Harvard Medical School, Duke University Medical Center, and the University of Massachusetts Medical School. On more than one occasion his patients would awake from the brain surgery he performed and speak of fairy tale visions and experiences. As a man of science he always explained how those things might happen and seem real but that they were a trick of the dying brain. This was being explained based on what he knew based on his understanding of the brain.
One day, Dr. Alexander suddenly came down with an unprecedented severe case of bacterial meningitis (an infection of the membranes (meninges) surrounding the brain and spinal cord). Until this day, nobody knows how he got it or survived it with a full recovery. During his 7 day coma he had an “experience” that changed his life forever. Again, what are the odds of a staunch brain scientist becoming ill with an unprecedented case of bacterial meningitis and having this profound experience?
Dr. Alexander has collected his fair share of skeptics over the claims he’s made in his New York Times bestseller, Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife. His book is an attempt to scientifically prove that our existence is eternal and that there is more beyond human life, a life more clear than this. The book is quite interesting and worth a read.
Hear Dr. Alexander discuss his thoughts on consciousness
This is all interesting information that is food for thought. Make of it what you will.