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UG#655 - Unite and Conquer 3 (Social and Personal Consciousness of Self & Other)

Robin Upton | 21.07.2013 15:13 | Analysis | Health | Sheffield | World

A successor show to episode 531, we wonder this week whether a suppressed half of human consciousness knows that we are inseparable from all of the rest of life? We begin with Jill Bolte Taylor's dramatic account of the stroke that shut down the left half of her brain, followed by Elisabet Sahtouris and Willis Harman on new paradigms in science, and author Gish Jen on cultural differences in ideas of the self.

ug655-hour1mix.mp3 - mp3 27M

ug655-hour2mix.mp3 - mp3 27M

We begin the show with brain researcher Jill Bolte Taylor's engaging description of the agony and ecstacy of the stroke she experienced. As her left brain was screaming in pain, she experinced a euphoria of her right brain taking over. Although she lost the left brain analytical skills that most of us take for granted (such as counting, reading and recognising people) she also lost a view of humanity as isolated individuals. Instead she connected instead with a right-hemisphere holistic view of reality in which everyone and everything are interconnected.

This first talk sets the scene for a 1997 discussion about emerging paradigms in science with Elisabet Sahtouris and Willis Harman. Was it just coincidence that the lifeless science of physics became dominant for centuries? How would our paradigms and technological developments be if biology had emerged instead as an overarching metaphor for reality? The machine like worldview is breaking down, argue Sahtouris and Harman.

Next we hear an interview with Gish Jen about different cultures' conceptions of the self. Jen suggests that there are two main conceptions: "the west and the rest". The "Western" view of humanity as a set of isolated individuals emerged from Northern Europe and is currently going global accompanying the spread of capitalism. This contrasts with a much older, more widespread view of humans as existing primarily in relationship to a larger whole.
We conclude with a resumption of chapter 5 of Walden, solitude, where we left off in episode 646. A reflective Henry David Thoreau questions the Western conception of the self as an isolated individual.
Music: You Are Free by Mates Of State and Great Bodies of Nature by Michael Holt

Thanks to TED for the talk from Jill Bolte Taylor, to Against The Grain for the Gish Jen interview and to Librivox for the Walden reading.

This show is a successor to UG#531

Robin Upton
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