Category Archives: Arts & Culture

The God part of the brain

Stroke of Insight, is a TED talk (and who can resist a TED talk? Not I.) You can find a transcript of the talk also. Here’s the ending.

When I awoke 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 is 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 expensive, like a genie just liberated from her bottle. And my spirit soared free like a great whale gliding through the sea of silent euphoria. Harmonic. 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 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.” I picture 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 my 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’s 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, and 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.

Cinci roundup

A few items, in between watching the candidates speak to medical marijuana and decriminalization.

At The Nation, Engaging Youth, For Real. Originally published by Wiretap, a national magazine for a new generation of progressive ideas and action. (Lori Roddy).

T]he last of a ten-part series produced by the All Ages Movement Project, in which the leaders of community-based youth organizations share tips and tricks of their trade. All stories are researched and written by members of organizations using independent music–punk, hip-hop, rock, noise, electronic and more–as a vehicle for social change.

The summer of 2001 in Cincinnati, Ohio, the year of its infamous race riots. (April 2001, a police officer shot and killed 19-year-old Timothy Thomas; explosive riots ensued.):

In a community called Over-the-Rhine–a largely marginalized, poverty-stricken neighborhood–several leaders including Life Allah, Islord Allah, Dureka Bonds, and Gavin Leonard decided to take what had been their regular discussions in a barbershop about housing, drugs and police issues and turn them into a community organizing effort.

That summer, a mix of community folks who cared about police accountability founded CopWatch, a neighborhood organization charged to monitor police-citizen interactions. In 2003, volunteer-driven CopWatch became a nonprofit called Citizens Organizing Neighborhoods to Regain Our Liberation (CONTROL). CONTROL decided to found Elementz, a hip-hop youth center, as a way to ensure the young people in Over-the-Rhine were provided with the necessary resources to gather, build community, and promote change.

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The local paper publishes a DUI checkpoint planned for tonight? Well, thanks and all, but doesn’t that sort of miss the point?

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UrbanCincy laments the in/famous Mark Twain quote about Cincinnati, i.e. “When the end of the world comes, I want to be in Cincinnati because it’s always twenty years behind the times.” (Which, by the way, is attributed to Twain, but not ever verified, as far as my uninspired Google search takes me.) But, come on, Uncle Rando, think about it, at the same time, we’ve got the paper publishing a story on the Go Green Challenge. “Save-the-Earth fervor spreads in businesses, governments,” is the story’s name. Fervor? Fervor! This is 2008, and these few places are just now talking about how to recycle?

I think if Twain (or whoever’s responsible for the quote) were around today, he would perhaps rethink this. (While undergoing chemo for pancreatic cancer or dragging his oxygen tank along.)