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Should discussions about transformative liberation experiences be relegated to the realm of personal conceit?

Jill Bolte Taylor's adroit & momentous presentation draws a great deal of criticism and aspersion from those who relegate her retelling as bringing some modicum of rank spiritualism to TED Talks. They couldn't be more wrong, and their reaction typifies the naive materialist eschewal of anything they might construe as religious. JBT's presentation does not belie a spiritual materialism by any measure.

The salient point here is not that an honest recounting of a harrowing experience serves in defense of artifacts of self and ego, but rather it points the way to the liberation from them.

Even Christopher Hitchens, in his most notoriously antitheistic polemics, pointed out that the noumenal realm deserves to be liberated from the superstitious - from the vainglories of vicarious social position, doctrine & dualistic orthodoxy.

The way forward is not in foisting dialectics into the discussion, but to begin a nuanced examination of how neuroscience's incipient forays into the abeyance of ego, of the illusion of self, can work in concert with the emerging non-dual movements in mindfulness therapy & 4th wave cognitive behaviorism.

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    Feb 4 2013: Lee,
    Your topic question seems rather confusing to me, and I agree with TED Lover and depends on how the conversation evolves with each and every individual. In my perception, Jill is simply sharing her personal story, and as a neuroscientist, has the ability to explain her experience on several different levels. I do not perceive her to be advocating any particular way in which her talk "should" be used. There is some criticism of Jill's talk and experience. However, I think if you scroll through the 2000 (or something like that) comments, you will discover more praise and agreement than criticism, as Fritzie points out:>)
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      Feb 4 2013: I have looked at more comments now, and the response to her talk was overwhelmingly positive.

      Some people would have prefered a more traditional, scientific exposition, as she is a neuroscientist and scholar. Many shared similar experiences reached through traumatic health incidents, meditation, hallucinagens, and so forth. Some people worried about whether one person's experiences could be construed as revealing something universal.

      The bottom line, as I gathered it, is that large numbers of people, whether by accident or through their own experiments and devices, have experienced what sometimes is called 'altered states of consciousness." This has included people from all walks of life and both Eastern and Western.

      People who responded, and likely those who didn't, have personal preferences as to whether they describe such experiences to others, with whom they would share their recollections of them, how "real" they conclude their visions were or what they mean, and how they share what happened to them with those with whom they share.

      Many people believe scientists or scholars would never have, or admit to having, such experiences. Jill's presentation is just one example that that assumption is not true.
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    • Feb 6 2013: It;s much safer to explore this phenomena safely at will and in a measured progressive way with the use of psychedelic substances. Don't wait for a stroke and don't believe the bs about these beneficial gifts from nature. Much more interesting and less dangerous than alcohol or tobacco. Plus all psychedelics are anti cancer agents. You'll experience everything except the pain, the danger and the setbacks
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    Feb 3 2013: You might get broader participation in your discussion if you define 4th wave cogntive behaviorism so people do not need to look it up in order to participate.

    I just took a peek at comments on Jill's talk, and the most recent couple dozen were highly positive. I did not look through them all.
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    Gail .

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    Feb 3 2013: I agree with George It depends on the discussion.
  • Feb 3 2013: it depends on the discussion.
  • Feb 14 2013: Understandable that science has a hard time when one of its own has experiences like this. It's very hard to measure these experiences. But let's start doing it. As a minister, I obviously resonate big time with what she is saying. And I do agree with her that one of the ways to peace is to live more from our right brain experience. It's hardly conceit, as the question poses. She's among the most sincere speakers I've encountered. Emotional yes, but who wouldn't be after such a powerful experience. Eben Alexander's experience speaks to this as well. So instead of criticize, let's measure it.