quinta-feira, 21 de agosto de 2014

The power of our mind

By Daniele Garcia

I was a child when my grandfather, and my friend, passed away. Three days before his death, something awkward happened: he saw one of his daughters, my aunt Celma, passing in front of him. It was awkward for one single reason: my grandfather was totally blind. In that time, my family interpreted the episode as a symptom of death, which naturally could be it. My grandfather, a blind man, seeing clearly for a few seconds.

Twenty four years later, I was watching a lecture with a famous psychiatrist, Dr. Oliver Sacks, who talked about visual hallucinations. A special condition which can happen with visual impaired people; old ones, in many cases. Immediately I remembered my grandfather, his blindness and his hallucination. Maybe that episode was not a mind disease, even a dementia or a moment of madness. Maybe the vision of my grandpapa could be a “game” of his mind, accessing a specific area in his brain which made him see... with his mind.

The researches about this specific visual hallucination suggest that our brain has got powers which we have never thought. Our mind can scare us, it can surprise us, but it can save us as well.

Another psychiatrist, Dr. Eleanor Longden, was a victim of one of these powers of our mind. She started hearing voices inside her mind. A thing which frightened her, the schizophrenia diagnosis, in fact was a signal of her mind: a huge trauma. Some years later, she figured out that  the voices were a path which her mind used to alert her about a painful past: a past of sexual abuse, which was hidden from herself.

Another psychiatrist, Jill Taylor, had a stroke. Nevertheless, this stroke was not a simple thing. It was an hemorrhage in the left side of her brain. It is important to say that the left side of our brain is responsible for the language and logical thoughts. On the other hand, the right one is totally sensorial, visual and creative. So when the left side of her brain was dead because she had a stroke, she had a beautiful experience of euphoria, depersonalization and energy which was not possible without the stroke that had paralyzed her left side.

Our brain is able to do many things. Therefore, we are responsible to listen and understand its signals. We see the power of our mind in many occasions, like collective events. For example: we can experiment a kind of self-transcendence in a football match, even a war or even a religious manifestation, as the social scientist Jonathan Haidt explored in his research. It is possible to do many things in a collective way. Nevertheless, there is a thing that our brain can not explain: the faith. The faith is a certain in something or someone that we don’t see, but that we believe anyway.

Never, never forget that your brain is able to do giant things, and please, be opened to experiment it. But never, never forget that faith can be much powerful than your body. And when you have faith, and in the same time you are opened to the power of your brain, you can understand our world pretty much better.

Our Learner, Daniele, made this homework afeter studying specific TED lectures in order to improve her listening, writing and understanding of the English Language.

1. Jonathan Haidt: religion, evolution and the ecstasy of self-transcendence

2. My Stroke of Insight

3. Oliver Sacks
What hallucinations Reveals about Our Mind

4. Eleanor Longden: The Voices in my Head   

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