Photo shows Corporal Yukio Araki (age 17 years old) holding a puppy with four other young men (age 18 and 19 years old) of the 72nd Shinbu Corps. An Asahi Shimbun cameraman took this photo on the day before the departure of the 72nd Shinbu Corps from Bansei Air Base for their kamikaze mission in Okinawa.
Yukio Araki became the youngest kamikaze pilot during the Second World War when, at the age of seventeen, he took off from the Bansei Airfield, Kagoshima in a Tachikawa Ki-54 twin-engine training aircraft on 27 May 1945. It has been speculated that his plane was one of two that struck the destroyer USS Braine (DD-630), killing 66 of its crew; however, the ship did not sink. Araki had been home in April 1945, and left letters for his family, to be opened upon the news of his death. The letter to his parents noted: “Please find pleasure in your desire for my loyalty to the Emperor and devotion to parents. I have no regrets. I just go forward on my path”.
Ceremonies were carried out before kamikaze pilots departed on their final mission. The Kamikaze shared ceremonial cups of sake or water known as “mizu no sakazuki”. Many Army officer Kamikaze took their swords with them, while the Navy pilots (as a general rule) did not carry swords in their planes. The kamikaze, like all Japanese aviators flying over unfriendly territory, were issued (or purchased, if they were officers) a Nambu pistol with which to end their lives if they risked being captured. Like all Army and Navy servicemen, the Kamikaze would wear their senninbari, a “belt of a thousand stitches” given to them by their mothers. They also composed and read a death poem, a tradition stemming from the samurai, who did it before committing seppuku. Pilots carried prayers from their families and were given military decorations. The Kamikaze were escorted by other pilots whose function was to protect the Kamikaze to their destination and report on the results.
According to a U.S Air Force, approximately 2,800 Kamikaze attackers sank 34 Navy ships, damaged 368 others, killed 4,900 sailors, and wounded over 4,800. Despite radar detection and cuing, airborne interception, attrition, and massive anti-aircraft barrages, 14 percent of Kamikazes survived to score a hit on a ship; nearly 8.5 percent of all ships hit by Kamikazes sank.
今天学习的是 Meryl Streep 2010年在 Columbia University 做的毕业演讲：
Mary Louise "Meryl" Streep (born June 22, 1949) is an American actress. Cited in the media as the "best actress of her generation", Streep is particularly known for her versatility in her roles, transformation into the characters she plays, and her accent adaptation. Streep is one of only six actors to have won three or more competitive Academy Awards for acting. Streep has also received 29 Golden Globe nominations, winning eight—more nominations, and more competitive (non-honorary) wins than any other actor (male or female) in the history of the award.
Thank you, all. Thank you, President Spar, Ms. Golden, President Tilghman, Members of the Board of Trustees, distinguished faculty, proud swelling parents and family, and gorgeous class of 2010.
If you are all really, really lucky and if you continue to work super hard, and you remember your thank you notes and everybody’s name and you follow through on every task that’s asked of you and also somehow anticipate problems before they even arise and you somehow sidestep disaster and score big, if you get great scores on your LSATS, or MSATS, or ERSATS or whatever and you get into your dream grad school or internship which leads to a super job with a paycheck commensurate with the responsibilities of leadership or if you somehow get that documentary on a shoe-string budget and it gets accepted at Sundance and then maybe it wins Sundance and then you go on to be nominated for an Oscar and then you win the Oscar or if that money-making website that you designed with your friends somehow suddenly attracts investors and advertisers and becomes the go-to site for whatever it is you’re selling, blogging, sharing, or net-casting and success shinning, hoped-for but never really anticipated success comes your way I guarantee you someone you know or love come to you and say, “Will you address the graduates at my college?” You’ll say, “Yeah sure, when is it?” “May 2010.” “2010?” Yeah sure, that’s months away and then the nightmare begins. The nightmare we’ve all had and I assure you, you’ll continue to have even after graduation, 40 years after graduation. About a week before the due date, you wake up in the middle of the night, “Huh, I have a paper due and I haven’t done the reading, Oh my god!”
If you have been touched by the success fairy, people think you know why. People think success breeds enlightenment and you are duty bound to spread it around like manure. Fertilize those young minds. Let them in on the secret, what is it that you know that no one else knows? The self-examination begins, one looks inward, one opens an interior door. Cobwebs, black, the lights bulbs burned out, and the airless dank refrigerator of an insanely over-scheduled, unexamined life that usually just gets take-out. Where is my writer friend, Anna Quindlen when I need her, on another book tour?
Hello I’m Meryl Streep, and today, Class of 2010 and I am really, I am very honored, and I humbled to be asked to pass on tips and inspiration to you for achieving success in this next part of your lives. President Spar, when I consider the other distinguished medal recipients and venerable Board of Trustees, the many accomplished faculty and family members, people who’ve actually done things, produced things, while I have pretended to do things, I can think about 3,800 people who should have been on this list before me and you know since my success has depended wholly on my putting things over on people. So I’m not sure parents think I’m that great a role model anyway.
I am however an expert in pretending to be an expert in various areas. So just randomly like everything else in this speech, I am or I was an expert in kissing on stage and on screen. How did I prepare for this? Well, most of my preparation for this took place in my suburban high school or rather behind my suburban high school in New Jersey. One is obliged to do great deal of kissing in my line of work. Air kissing, ass-kissing, kissing up and of course actual kissing, much like hookers, actors have to do it with people we may not like or even know. We may have to do it with friends, which is, believe it or not, particularly awkward. For people of my generation, it’s awkward.
My other areas of faux expertise, river rafting, miming the effects of radiation poisoning, knowing which shoes go with which bag, coffee plantation, Turkish, Polish, German, French, Italian, that’s Iowa-Italian from the bridges of Madison county, bit of the Bronx, Aramaic, Yiddish, Irish clog dancing, cooking, singing, riding horses, knitting, playing the violin, and simulating steamy sexual encounters, these are some of the areas in which I have pretended quite proficiently to be successful, or the other way around. As have many women here, I’m sure.
Women, I feel I can say this authoritatively, especially at Barnard where they can’t hear us, what am I talking about? They professionally can’t hear us. Women are better at acting than men. Why? Because we have to be. If successfully convincing someone bigger than you are of something he doesn’t know is a survival skill, this is how women have survived through the millennia. Pretending is not just play. Pretending is imagined possibility. Pretending or acting is a very valuable life skill and we all do it. All the time, we don’t want to be caught doing it but nevertheless it’s part of the adaptations of our species. We change who we are to fit the exigencies of our time and not just strategically, or to our own advantage, sometimes sympathetically, without our even knowing it for the betterment of the whole group.
I remember very clearly my own first conscious attempt at acting. I was six placing my mother’s half-slip over my head in preparation to play the Virgin Mary in our living room. As I swaddled my Betsy Wetsy doll I felt quieted, holy, actually, and my transfigured face and very changed demeanor captured on super-8 by my dad pulled my little brothers Harry to play Joseph and Dana too, a barnyard animal, into the trance. They were actually pulled into this nativity scene by the intensity of my focus. In my usual technique for getting them to do what I want, yelling at them would never ever have achieved and I learned something on that day.
Later when I was nine, I remember taking my mother’s eyebrow pencil and carefully drawing lines all over my face, replicating the wrinkles that I had memorized on the face of my grandmother whom I adored and made my mother take my picture and I look at it now and of course, I look like myself now and my grandmother then but I do really remember in my bones, how it was possible on that day to feel her age. I stooped, I felt weighted down but cheerful. You know I felt like her.
Empathy is at the heart of the actor’s art. In high school, another form of acting took hold of me. I wanted to learn how to be appealing. So I studied the character I imagined I wanted to be that of the generically pretty high school girl. I researched her deeply, that is to say shallowly, in Vogue, in Seventeen, and in Mademoiselle Magazines. I tried to imitate her hair, her lipstick, her lashes, the clothes of the lithesome, beautiful and generically appealing high school girls that I saw in those pages. I ate an apple a day, period. I peroxided my hair, ironed it straight. I demanded brand name clothes. My mother shut me down on that one. I did, I worked harder on this characterization really than anyone I think I’ve ever done since. I worked on my giggle, I lightened it because I liked it when it went, kind of “ehuh” and the end, “eheeh” “ehaeaahaha” because I thought it sounded childlike, and cute. This was all about appealing to boys and at the same time being accepted by the girls, a very tricky negotiation. Often success in one area precludes succeeding in the other.
Along with all my other exterior choices, I worked on my, what actors call, my interior adjustment. I adjusted my natural temperament which tends to be slightly bossy, a little opinionated, loud, a little loud, full of pronouncements and high spirits, and I willfully cultivated softness, agreeableness, a breezy, natural sort of sweetness even shyness, if you will, which was very, very, very effective on the boys. The girls didn’t buy it. They didn’t like me; they sniffed it out, the acting. They were probably right, but I was committed, this was absolutely not a cynical exercise. This was a vestigial survival courtship skill I was developing. I reached a point senior year, when my adjustment felt like me. I had actually convinced myself that I was this person and she, me, pretty, talented, but not stuck-up. You know, a girl who laughed a lot at every stupid thing every boy said and who lowered her eyes at the right moment and deferred, who learned to defer when the boys took over the conversation. I really remember this so clearly and I could tell it was working, I was much less annoying to the guys than I had been, they liked me better and I liked that. This was conscious but it was at the same time motivated and fully-felt this was real, real acting.
I got to Vassar which 43 years ago was a single-sex institution, like all the colleges in what they call the Seven Sisters, the female Ivy League and I made some quick but lifelong and challenging friends. With their help outside of any competition for boys my brain woke up. I got up and I got outside myself and I found myself again. I didn’t have to pretend. I could be goofy, vehement, aggressive, and slovenly and open and funny and tough and my friends let me. I didn’t wash my hair for three weeks once. They accepted me like the Velveteen Rabbit. I became real instead of an imaginary stuffed bunny but I stockpiled that character from high school and I breathed life into her again some years later as Linda in the “Deer Hunter.”
There is probably not one of you graduates who has ever seen this film but the “Deer Hunter” it won best picture in 1978. Robert De Niro, Chris Walken, it was not funny at all. I played Linda, a small town girl in a working class background, a lovely, quiet, hapless girl, who waited for the boy she loved to come back from the war in Vietnam. Often men my age, President Clinton, by the way, when I met him said, “Men my age mention that character as their favorite of all the women I’ve played.” I have my own secret understanding of why that is and it confirms every decision I made in high school. This is not to denigrate that girl by the way or the men who are drawn to her in anyway because she’s still part of me and I’m part of her. She wasn’t acting but she was just behaving in a way that cowed girls, submissive girls, beaten up girls with very few ways out have behaved forever and still do in many worlds.
Now as a measure of how the world has changed, the character most men mention as their favorite is Miranda Priestly, the beleaguered totalitarian at the head of Runway magazine in Devil Wears Prada. To my mind this represents such an optimistic shift. They relate to Miranda. They wanted to date Linda. They felt sorry for Linda but they feel like Miranda. They can relate to her issues, the high standards she sets for herself and others and the thanklessness of the leadership position, the “Nobody understands me” thing, and the loneliness. They stand outside one character and they pity her and they kind of fall in love with her but they look through the eyes of this other character.
This is a huge deal because as people in the movie business know the absolute hardest thing in the whole world is to persuade a straight male audience to identify with a woman protagonist to feel themselves embodied by her. This more than any other factor explains why we get the movies we get and the paucity of the roles where women drive the film. It’s much easier for the female audience because we were all grown up, brought up identifying with male characters from Shakespeare to Salinger. We have less trouble following Hamlet’s dilemma viscerally or Romeo’s or Tybalt’s or Huck Finn or Peter Pan, I remember holding that sword up to Hook. I felt like him. But it is much much much harder for heterosexual boys to identify with Juliet or Desdemona, or Wendy in Peter Pan or Joe in Little Women or the Little Mermaid or Pocohontas. Why? I don’t know, but it just is. There has always been a resistance to imaginatively assume a persona, if that persona is a she.
Things are changing now and it’s in your generation we’re seeing this. Men are adapting, about time, they are adapting consciously and also without consciously and without realizing it for the better of the whole group. They are changing their deepest prejudices to regard as normal the things that their fathers would have found very very difficult and their grandfathers would have abhorred. The door to this emotional shift is empathy. As Jung said, “emotion is the chief source of becoming conscious. There can be no transforming of lightness into dark of apathy into movement without emotion.” or as Leonard Cohen says, “pay attention to the cracks because that’s where the light gets in.”
You, young women of Barnard have not had to squeeze yourself into the corset of being cute or to muffle your opinions but you haven’t left campus yet. I’m just kidding. What you have had is the privilege of a very specific education. You are people who may able to draw on a completely different perspective to imagine a different possibility than women and men who went to coed schools.
How this difference is going to serve you it’s hard to quantify now, it may take you forty years like it did me to analyze your advantage but today is about looking forward into a world where so-called women’s issues, human issues of gender inequality live at the very crux of global problems from poverty to the AIDS crisis to the rise in violent fundamentalist juntas, human trafficking and human rights abuses. You’re going to have the opportunity and the obligation, by virtue of your providence, to speed progress in all those areas. This is a place where the need is very great, the news is too. This is your time and it feels normal to you but really there is no normal. There’s only change, and resistance to it and then more change.
Never before in the history or country have most of the advanced degrees been awarded to women but now they are. Since the dawn of man, it’s hardly more than 100 years since we were even allowed into these buildings except to clean them but soon most of the law and medical degrees will probably also go to women. Around the world poor women now own property who used to be property and according to Economist magazine, for the last two decades, the increase of female employment in the rich world has been the main driving force of growth. Those women have contributed more to global GDP growth than have either new technology or the new giants India or China. “Cracks in the ceiling, cracks in the door, cracks in the Court and on the Senate floor.”
You know, I gave a speech at Vassar 27 years ago. It was a really big hit. Everybody loved it, really. Tom Brokaw said it was the very best commencement speech he had ever heard and of course I believed this. It was much easier to construct than this one. It came out pretty easily because back then I knew so much. I was a new mother. I had two academy awards and it was all coming together so nicely. I was smart and I understood boiler plate and what sounded good and because I had been on the squad in high school, earnest full-throated cheerleading was my specialty so that’s what I did but now I feel like I know about 1/16th of what that young woman knew. Things don’t seem as certain today. Now I’m 60. I have four adult children who are all facing the same challenges that you are. How it makes things tough for your family and whether being famous matters in the end, really, in the whole flux of time. I know I was invited here because of how famous I am and how many awards I’ve won. While I am overweeningly proud of the work I’ve done, believe me, not on my own, I can assure you that awards have very little bearing on my own personal happiness, my own sense of wellbeing and purpose in the world. That comes from studying the world, feeling the world with empathy in my work. It comes from staying alert and alive and involved in the lives of the people that I love and the people in the wider world who need my help. No matter what you see me or hear me saying when I’m on your TV holding a statuette spewing, that’s acting.
Being a celebrity has taught me to hide but being an actor has opened my soul.
Being here today has forced me to look around inside there for something useful that I can share with you and I’m really grateful you gave me the chance.
You know you don’t have to be famous. You just have to make your mother and father proud of you and you already have. Bravo to you. Congratulations.
今天学习的 TED 是 Jill Bolte Taylor 的 《My stroke of insight》
Jill Bolte Taylor (/ˈbɒlti/; born May 4, 1959) is an American neuroanatomist, author, and inspirational public speaker.
Her personal experience with a massive stroke, experienced in 1996 at the age of 37, and her subsequent eight-year recovery, influenced her work as a scientist and speaker. It is the subject of her 2006 book My Stroke of Insight, A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey.
I grew up to study the brain because I have a brother who has been diagnosed with a brain disorder, schizophrenia. And as a sister and later, as a scientist, I wanted to understand, why is it that I can take my dreams, I can connect them to my reality, and I can make my dreams come true? What is it about my brother's brain and his schizophrenia that he cannot connect his dreams to a common and shared reality, so they instead become delusion?
So I dedicated my career to research into the severe mental illnesses. And I moved from my home state of Indiana to Boston, where I was working in the lab of Dr. Francine Benes, in the Harvard Department of Psychiatry. And in the lab, we were asking the question, "What are the biological differences between the brains of individuals who would be diagnosed as normal control, as compared with the brains of individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia, schizoaffective or bipolar disorder?"
So we were essentially mapping the microcircuitry of the brain: which cells are communicating with which cells, with which chemicals, and then in what quantities of those chemicals? So there was a lot of meaning in my life because I was performing this type of research during the day, but then in the evenings and on the weekends, I traveled as an advocate for NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
But on the morning of December 10, 1996, I woke up to discover that I had a brain disorder of my own. A blood vessel exploded in the left half of my brain. And 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. I essentially became an infant in a woman's body.
If you've ever seen a human brain, it's obvious that the two hemispheres are completely separate from one another. And I have brought for you a real human brain.
So this is a real human brain. This is the front of the brain, the back of brain with the spinal cord hanging down, and this is how it would be positioned inside of my head. And when you look at the brain, it's obvious that the two cerebral cortices are completely separate from one another.
For those of you who understand computers, our right hemisphere functions like a parallel processor, while our left hemisphere functions like a serial processor. The two hemispheres do communicate with one another through the corpus callosum, which is made up of some 300 million axonal fibers. But other than that, the two hemispheres are completely separate. Because they process information differently, each of our hemispheres think about different things, they care about different things, and, dare I say, they have very different personalities. Excuse me. Thank you. It's been a joy.
Assistant: It has been.
Our right human hemisphere is all about this present moment. It's all about "right here, right now." Our right hemisphere, it thinks in pictures and it learns kinesthetically through the movement of our bodies. Information, in the form of energy, streams in simultaneously through all of our sensory systems and then it explodes into this enormous collage of what this present moment looks like, what this present moment smells like and tastes like, what it feels like and what it sounds like. I am an energy-being connected to the energy all around me through the consciousness of my right hemisphere. We are energy-beings connected to one another through the consciousness of our right hemispheres as one human family. And right here, right now, we are brothers and sisters on this planet, here to make the world a better place. And in this moment we are perfect, we are whole and we are beautiful.
My left hemisphere, our left hemisphere, is a very different place. Our left hemisphere thinks linearly and methodically. Our left hemisphere is all about the past and it's all about the future. Our left hemisphere is designed to take that enormous collage of the present moment and start picking out details, and more details about those details. It then categorizes and organizes all that information, associates it with everything in the past we've ever learned, and projects into the future all of our possibilities. And our left hemisphere thinks in language. It's that ongoing brain chatter that connects me and my internal world to my external world. It's that little voice that says to me, "Hey, you've got to remember to pick up bananas on your way home. I need them in the morning." It's that calculating intelligence that reminds me when I have to do my laundry. But perhaps most important, it's that little voice that says to me, "I am. I am."
And as soon as my left hemisphere says to me "I am," I become separate. I become a single solid individual, separate from the energy flow around me and separate from you. And this was the portion of my brain that I lost on the morning of my stroke.
On the morning of the stroke, I woke up to a pounding pain behind my left eye. And it was the kind of caustic pain that you get when you bite into ice cream. And it just gripped me -- and then it released me. And then it just gripped me -- and then it released me. And it was very unusual for me to ever experience any kind of pain, so I thought, "OK, I'll just start my normal routine."
So I got up and I jumped onto my cardio glider, which is a full-body, full-exercise machine. And I'm jamming away on this thing, and I'm realizing that my hands look like primitive claws grasping onto the bar. And I thought, "That's very peculiar." And I looked down at my body and I thought, "Whoa, I'm a weird-looking thing." And it was as though my consciousness had shifted away from my normal perception of reality, where I'm the person on the machine having the experience, to some esoteric space where I'm witnessing myself having this experience.
And it was all very peculiar, and my headache was just getting worse. So I get off the machine, and I'm walking across my living room floor, and I realize that everything inside of my body has slowed way down. And every step is very rigid and very deliberate. There's no fluidity to my pace, and there's this constriction in my area of perception, so I'm just focused on internal systems. And I'm standing in my bathroom getting ready to step into the shower, and I could actually hear the dialogue inside of my body. I heard a little voice saying, "OK. You muscles, you've got to contract. You muscles, you relax."
And then I lost my balance, and I'm propped up against the wall. And I look down at my arm and I realize that I can no longer define the boundaries of my body. I can't define where I begin and where I end, because the atoms and the molecules of my arm blended with the atoms and molecules of the wall. And all I could detect was this energy -- energy.
And I'm asking myself, "What is wrong with me? What is going on?" And in that moment, my left hemisphere brain chatter went totally silent. Just like someone took a remote control and pushed the mute button. Total silence. And at first I was shocked to find myself inside of a silent mind. But then I was immediately captivated by the magnificence of the energy around me. And because I could no longer identify the boundaries of my body, I felt enormous and expansive. I felt at one with all the energy that was, and it was beautiful there.
Then all of a sudden my left hemisphere comes back online and it says to me, "Hey! We've got a problem! We've got to get some help." And I'm going, "Ahh! I've got a problem!"
So it's like, "OK, I've got a problem." But then I immediately drifted right back out into the consciousness -- and I affectionately refer to this space as La La Land. But it was beautiful there. Imagine what it would be like to be totally disconnected from your brain chatter that connects you to the external world.
So here I am in this space, and my job, and any stress related to my job -- it was gone. And I felt lighter in my body. And imagine all of the relationships in the external world and any stressors related to any of those -- they were gone. And I felt this sense of peacefulness. And imagine what it would feel like to lose 37 years of emotional baggage! Oh! I felt euphoria -- euphoria. It was beautiful.
And again, my left hemisphere comes online and it says, "Hey! You've got to pay attention. We've got to get help." And I'm thinking, "I've got to get help. I've got to focus." So I get out of the shower and I mechanically dress and I'm walking around my apartment, and I'm thinking, "I've got to get to work. Can I drive?"
And in that moment, my right arm went totally paralyzed by my side. Then I realized, "Oh my gosh! I'm having a stroke!" And the next thing my brain says to me is, Wow! This is so cool!
This is so cool! How many brain scientists have the opportunity to study their own brain from the inside out?"
And then it crosses my mind, "But I'm a very busy woman!"
"I don't have time for a stroke!" So I'm like, "OK, I can't stop the stroke from happening, so I'll do this for a week or two, and then I'll get back to my routine. OK. So I've got to call help. I've got to call work." I couldn't remember the number at work, so I remembered, in my office I had a business card with my number. So I go into my business room, I pull out a three-inch stack of business cards. And I'm looking at the card on top and even though I could see clearly in my mind's eye what my business card looked like, I couldn't tell if this was my card or not, because all I could see were pixels. And the pixels of the words blended with the pixels of the background and the pixels of the symbols, and I just couldn't tell. And then I would wait for what I call a wave of clarity. And in that moment, I would be able to reattach to normal reality and I could tell that's not the card... that's not the card. It took me 45 minutes to get one inch down inside of that stack of cards. In the meantime, for 45 minutes, the hemorrhage is getting bigger in my left hemisphere. I do not understand numbers, I do not understand the telephone, but it's the only plan I have.
So I take the phone pad and I put it right here. I take the business card, I put it right here, and I'm matching the shape of the squiggles on the card to the shape of the squiggles on the phone pad. But then I would drift back out into La La Land, and not remember when I came back if I'd already dialed those numbers. So I had to wield my paralyzed arm like a stump and cover the numbers as I went along and pushed them, so that as I would come back to normal reality, I'd be able to tell, "Yes, I've already dialed that number."
Eventually, the whole number gets dialed and I'm listening to the phone, and my colleague picks up the phone and he says to me, "Woo woo woo woo."
And I think to myself, "Oh my gosh, he sounds like a Golden Retriever!"
And so I say to him -- clear in my mind, I say to him: "This is Jill! I need help!" And what comes out of my voice is, "Woo woo woo woo woo." I'm thinking, "Oh my gosh, I sound like a Golden Retriever." So I couldn't know -- I didn't know that I couldn't speak or understand language until I tried. So he recognizes that I need help and he gets me help.
And a little while later, I am riding in an ambulance from one hospital across Boston to [Massachusetts] General Hospital. And I curl up into a little fetal ball. And just like a balloon with the last bit of air, just right out of the balloon, I just felt my energy lift and just I felt my spirit surrender.
And in that moment, I knew that I was no longer the choreographer of my life. And either the doctors rescue my body and give me a second chance at life, or this was perhaps my moment of transition.
When I woke later that afternoon, I was shocked to discover that I was still alive. When I felt my spirit surrender, I said goodbye to my life. And my mind was now suspended between two very opposite planes of reality. Stimulation coming in through my sensory systems felt like pure pain. Light burned my brain like wildfire, and sounds were so loud and chaotic that I could not pick a voice out from the background noise, and I just wanted to escape. Because I could not identify the position of my body in space, I felt enormous and expansive, like a genie just liberated from her bottle. And my spirit soared free, like a great whale gliding through the sea of silent euphoria. Nirvana. I found Nirvana. And I remember thinking, there's no way I would ever be able to squeeze the enormousness of myself back inside this tiny little body.
But then I realized, "But I'm still alive! I'm still alive, and I have found Nirvana. And if I have found Nirvana and I'm still alive, then everyone who is alive can find Nirvana." And I pictured a world filled with beautiful, peaceful, compassionate, loving people who knew that they could come to this space at any time. And that they could purposely choose to step to the right of their left hemispheres -- and find this peace. And then I realized what a tremendous gift this experience could be, what a stroke of insight this could be to how we live our lives. And it motivated me to recover.
Two and a half weeks after the hemorrhage, the surgeons went in, and they removed a blood clot the size of a golf ball that was pushing on my language centers. Here I am with my mama, who is a true angel in my life. It took me eight years to completely recover.
So who are we? We are the life-force power of the universe, with manual dexterity and two cognitive minds. And we have the power to choose, moment by moment, who and how we want to be in the world. Right here, right now, I can step into the consciousness of my right hemisphere, where we are. I am the life-force power of the universe. I am the life-force power of the 50 trillion beautiful molecular geniuses that make up my form, at one with all that is. Or, I can choose to step into the consciousness of my left hemisphere, where I become a single individual, a solid. Separate from the flow, separate from you. I am Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor: intellectual, neuroanatomist. These are the "we" inside of me. Which would you choose? Which do you choose? And when? I believe that the more time we spend choosing to run the deep inner-peace circuitry of our right hemispheres, the more peace we will project into the world, and the more peaceful our planet will be. And I thought that was an idea worth spreading.