Slo Mo: A Podcast with Mo Gawdat

SLO MO REWIND: Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor on Your Only Job as a Human Being

Dec. 31, 2022

In the second Slo Mo Rewind, I revisit my life changing chat with one of my heroes, Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor. She is a Harvard-trained and published neuroscientist. In 1996 she experienced a severe hemorrhage in the left hemisphere of her brain causing her to lose the ability to walk, talk, read, write, or recall any of her life. Her memoir, My Stroke of Insight, documenting her experience with stroke and eight-year recovery, spent 63 weeks on the New York Times nonfiction bestseller list and is still routinely the #1 book about strokes on Amazon.

In 2008 she gave the first TED talk that ever went viral on the Internet, which now has well over 26 million views. Also in 2008, Dr. Jill was chosen as one of Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World” and was the premiere guest on Oprah Winfrey’s “Soul Series” webcast.

In her newest book, Whole Brain Living: The Anatomy of Choice and the Four Characters That Drive Our Life, Dr. Jill debunks the myths that we use only 10% of our brain as well as the idea that our right brain hemisphere is our emotional brain, while our left brain houses our rational thinking.

Listen as we discuss:

  • What is 'Whole Brain Living'?
  • What she's learned since her hit TED talk.
  • The four characters of the brain:
  • Character 1: Left thinking tissue is the rational brain that defines the boundaries of ourselves as individuals, has language, and seeks material gain.
  • Character 2: Left emotional tissue that sounds the alarm to protect us against the unfamiliar.
  • Character 3: Right emotional tissue that lives to only experience in the present moment without comparison or time. 
  • No conflict can be solved by two Character 2's, and the present moment is perfect.
  • Character 4: Right thinking tissue that embodies the thinking consciousness of the universe, knows no boundaries, and exists only to love, be grateful, and experience blissful euphoria. Purely in awe and blissful euphoria.
  • Is love a thought or an emotion?
  • Our first job as human beings is to love one another. Period.
  • The left brain should not be the boss.
  • The B.R.A.I.N. Huddle
  • How Jill gave her TED talk because she wanted us to love and revere each other, not her.
  • Character 4 is who we are. The others are so noisy.
  • Her new book, Whole Brain Living, is her roadmap to accomplish her life's work - the reason why she recovered from her stroke.
  • Psychedelics can induce similar states that bring us to Character 4.
  • Character 2 is the one that needs to go into rehab in order to break addictions.
  • Is there a masculine and feminine divide, or is just a cultural construct?
  • Life knows that the present moment is fabulous.

Connect with Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor and her book, Whole Brain Living, here.

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