(This is the 9th edition of my Alpha Course reaction. For the first and all past posts, see the Alpha Page.)
After last week’s monster of a post, you’ll be glad to hear that this week’s will be shorter than usual. But first, a couple of semi-related things I’d meant to refer to in earlier posts but missed.
In the last post, I briefly discussed (due to the subject of “speaking in tongues,” or glossolalia), the concept of left and right brain hemispheres, and how one controls language and the other is the emotional center. Sometimes the emotion, to convey it to others or even to express it for one’s self, the language centers of one half of the brain need to be bypassed in order to “speak” directly to the emotional regions of the right-brain.
Well, here are a couple of absolutely fascinating videos which address this dual-brain dichotomy.
I Can Smell Your Spicy Brains!
The first is an excerpt from a show about the brain, and features Alan Alda interviewing a doctor and a patient who has had the connection allowing the two brains to communcate, severed. The results are fantastic:
There used to be a model of “understanding” the human, the personality, called dualism, that was the accepted and simply assumed model since Plato at least. Philosopher René Descartes did a lot of work on the subject, so we’ll often hear it refered to as “Cartesian dualism.” It’s basically this: The brain and the mind are two separate and distinct entities. The mind is a result of the spirit, or animae, and operates with the influence of, but apart from the physical brain. Of course, this belief, utterly philosophical (and religious) and not based on any hard evidence, makes sense to those who believe in the soul, spirits, ghosts, etc.
The problem is, we know without a doubt that everything about the person, behavior, personality, wants and desires, fears and memory, are all derived from the physicality of the brain. We know this because the brain can be manipulated, whether from internal damage (disease, stroke, etc.), by injury, and by experimentation (surgery, drugs, focused magnetic resonance), and any changes can create marked and stark changes in the “person.”