I remember only a very long nightmare I couldn't wake from. One bad dream after another. Normally I can wake myself from those types of dreams but this was permanent. Later I had to go to therapy to try to rid myself from those memories or at least learn to live with them. The therapist told me there was no way to tell if I had that experience during coma or during the time the - just short of od doses - drugs were withdrawn.
My waking experience was like swimming up to the surface of a clear blue ocean from very deep below. I remember hearing a tiny voice asking me to squeeze a finger and made a very small movement and remember a lot of shouting and stuff. Wife tells me everyone who visited me did the same thing every day but this one day I moved when she went through the ritual. When I became fully awake after all the drugs had worn off I realized I could barely speak and couldn't move my arms or legs. Months of rehab to follow. I still rage at movies and TV where a coma victim wakes and it's like nothing ever happened.
This was 10 years ago and as you can see it still effects me deeply.
Two things seem to be permanent though. I used to be very heat sensitive, preferring the winter to summer etc. Now it's the opposite. The other thing is I developed blood flow problems to both of my hips which the doctors tell me is probably due to the massive amounts of testosterone I was administered while in the coma. I think it's a fair trade off for a second chance.
His family never gave up on him.
He was non-responsive for more than 11 years.
For most of that time, he could hear and understand.
Because he couldn't communicate, his life was a joyless experience.
Sometimes his carers were careless with him, hurting him. He couldn't respond. One nurse abused him. He couldn't respond.
After many years, his mother told him she wished he would die.
He learned how to disengage from his thoughts. Just go to black. He became good at that. It was joyless. "A very dark place to find yourself because in a sense you are allowing yourself to vanish."
After years in this very dark place, one day he decided he'd had enough.
He began to re-engage with his thoughts. Over months, he learned to tell the time by tracking the angle of the sun's rays in the room over the day.
Still, he couldn't move his body.
They'd sit him in front of the TV to watch Barney. He hated Barney.
One day he heard Whitney Houston on the radio, singing The Greatest Love of All. When she sang "No matter what they take from me, they can't take away my dig-ni-ty" he thought to himself, "Wanna bet?"
He embraced darkness and endured his own thoughts, moving through them, gaining self-understanding.
Then, after a while, something changed and he could blink his eyes. I don't know how long that took, or what the moment was like when he first made contact again. The podcast doesn't detail that moment. It just skips to when he could squeeze hands.
His mother bought him a joystick. It took him a year to learn how to use it.
He asked for coffee and forged ahead. Within two years he got a job with the government. A nurse told him she had a problem with her computer. He fixed the computer. Soon, he quit his job and started a web design company. He met a woman over Skype. They hit it off and got married when he was 32 years old.
His face hurts from smiling so much.
There's also another good article, just recently published with a few extra details:
> The podcast doesn't detail that moment. It just skips to when he could squeeze hands.
"That all changed when one of his carers, Virna van der Walt, noticed that he could use very small eye movements to respond to things she said."
> He met a woman over Skype.
"In 2008, Pistorius met his wife, Joanna. She was his sister’s flatmate; they were introduced to each other over Skype."
Then he recovered and lived another ~10 years.
I don't know anything about the cost.
add this man to 'patience' in the dictionnary
Which one? I'd like to give it a listen. Thanks.
> To hear how Martin returned to life, listen to Invisibilia, NPR's newest program. The program debuts this weekend on many public radio stations, and the podcast is available for download at NPR.org and on iTunes.
Edit, because this is still floating near the top: It's an older article, and has been released in text transcript form after all:
To some extent all of us are in a similar state. Each of us is far more than what we have been able to do for others. Much of what we are and can be is invisible to most people around us. The reverse is also unquestionably true.
Recognizing and internalizing that, we can also appreciate that our efforts - to make it possible for more and more people to express themselves as Michael has done - are very important to very many. Including ourselves.
This video is one of those things you could watch every year for a number of different reasons -- all of them important ones.
Not everyone experiences information the same!
I talk fast, and type exceptionally fast. I wonder how insanely fast a neuralink would be, without the limits of flesh, rendering concepts to a data stream of some sort.
Then transmitting that to another person. I'm sure there will be a new language, but... imagine conveying 10 minutes of talk in 12 seconds.
How would you ever communicate normally again?
For example, the path for "reading" is something like "vision -> deciphering squiggly lines/patterns -> words -> comprehension -> interpretation -> contextualization -> on and on."
And as you mention, there are many other processes in parallel, such as focus/attention, etc.
You could get tired at any of these points, yet the neuralink may bypass many of these steps! So one may literally be able to absorb greater info, without fatigue.
Of course, this is a far greater cause for concern than some realise, for example...
Right now, each of the above steps (and more, I'm just spewing a few examples as a 'path'), have built in, evolutionary derived 'filtering'. Your visual cortex, for example, filters and processes info. Deciphering 'random marks on paper' into patterns, and then words, with meaning? More filtering and processing.
All of our senses are filtered, processed, managed by portions of the brain, prior to being interpreted by our multi-layered, multi-faceted mind. What I fear is that a neuralink like device may bypass much of that filtering.
That processes to allow critical thought are even more complex than we think, and may reside in specific areas of the brain. I know that I walk away with differing levels of comprehension from something read, spoken, or watched.
I suspect that 'interpreting information' is highly source dependent, and that we learn to interpret, to 'tune' the same sight/sound/vision as the same event.
I guess my point here is simple ; bypass parts of the mind when inputting data, and the outcome is uncertain.
Imagine reading news articles, or watching a video, with some of your interpretive / critical thinking bypassed?
(I'm sure someone will point out "No, part $x of the brain does that job!". Sorry, I say NO, that's my whole point. Our brains are not a machine, with a CPU/GPU/NIC or what not. Just look at the insane complexity of the visual cortex.)
Human interaction is kind of slow yeah, but it gives you time to think.
There are exceptions: Pondercast is one where that takes the intimacy you’re alluding to an extreme. The spoken content is tied deeply to the pacing of the music so it would be ludicrous to listen to it that fast.
I wish my father had put an ounce of thought into whether he was a good father.
But seriously, can you explain what you mean by this?
But why would any of those many strangers love specifically you? One possible reason is that people reciprocate love. So your best strategy is to become a loving person yourself. And then, one of the people you meet, will return your feelings.
And in the meanwhile, being a loving person already feels better than being focused on your own misery, so this is a bonus. Actually, it would probably be better to simply focus on being a loving person and not worry too much about when people start to return your love. Just make sure you meet many people; and if the strategy doesn't work for a while, change your environment.
With so many good people out there, don't waste your time trying to squeeze some love out of the bad ones. The worst thing you can do to yourself is to remain in a bubble with the bad people, because then it seems like the entire universe is bad. (Oh, and if someone says "I may seem like a bad person to you, but trust me that the others are even worse", they are lying; don't argue with them, but go outside and try for yourself.)
Is the purpose of love to be reciprocated? Is it worth loving if it isn't?
Genuinely curious about your thoughts, and not trolling, but this prompted some interesting questions in my head and I was curious what you think.
Then again, there are differences among people with regards to their needs. Like, an introverted person would probably be satisfied with a smaller number of friends; but would probably still want more than zero.
To me it seems like it is important that some people reciprocate your feelings, and then it is not important that others don't. Like, if you love 20 people and 3 of them love you back, it's okay, but if you love 20 people and nobody loves you back, it's not okay. Of course the numbers are made up, may be different for different people, and it also matters a lot who loves you back and who doesn't, how specifically that love manifests, etc.
I would make an analogy that if you are a cook, and you prepare meals for hundreds of people, and then you eat one meal yourself, that can make you fully satisfied. If you cannot eat, you will starve, and it doesn't make it any different for you whether you have prepared meals for other people or you didn't. So while we can make a true argument that feeding hundreds of other people is a great thing, that one meal that goes back to the cook is also important.
Shortly, unreciprocated love can also make you happy, assuming that it is not all that you have. Feeling secure about being loved gives you the privilege that you can now be generous about the love you give, because you don't need anything more in return, and if something comes anyway, it's a nice bonus. Telling people who are currently not loved about how "loving others is better than being loved" is a bit like telling starving people to stop focusing on their hunger so much... the main message it delivers is that you actually don't give a fuck about their sufering.
(Then, there are also people who never feel loved enough, because their mental problems prevent them from having healthy relationships, and trying to give them more love doesn't improve things at all, it just all vanishes in a black hole... It's complicated.)
OK, now I am curious about your thoughts.
Your original response made me think of a few questions, but I think in the end it boiled down to asking what is the goal or purpose of love? Does it dovetail with a goal of maximizing happiness? (It seems to me no--that love can sometimes work towards our personal happiness and other times against it.)
We often use the word love in a multi-faceted way that would be better served by multiple words. The ancient Greeks had (at least?) four words for love that were roughly differentiated by familial love, friendship love, erotic love, and an unconditional love. They varied, I suppose, in goal, expectation, depth or quality of feeling, et c.
It seems like this last love was the sort that the father shows to his son. There is no real hope of reciprocation, nor yet a sort of surface-level happiness—indeed, it would be a very unhappy business for the most part. And yes, I think to your point there is probably some sustaining relationships there, too. At the same time, I expect there was pressure against him: remove life support, your kid's a vegetable, no hope here, et c. This isn't a love-nurturing environment exactly.
I guess what I'd say is that at least in some cases love seems to work against our personal best interest, not for it, and that our happiness sometimes realigns along different boundaries. I.e., that happiness is perhaps more flexible than we might assume at first, and love perhaps a little less flexible?
Again, just some ponderables. Thanks for the comment.
It would be nice if we just stopped using "love" as an emphasis for "enjoy". ("I love hamburgers" = I enjoy the taste of hamburgers.)
Getting this one out of the way, it seems to me that the common component in other forms of love is something like "your well-being makes me happy".
Mixing these two creates the greatest confusion, when "I love you" can mean "I wish that you be well" or "I enjoy being with you". Especially because these two do NOT have to be mutually exclusive: you can wish someone to be well AND enjoy their presence and interaction with you at the same time. But you can also enjoy interaction with someone, without caring about their well-being at all. This gives us three combinations of what one could mean by "loving" someone.
And the confusion goes like this: First, it takes some maturity to notice that some people enjoy the presence of other people (because they can get fun or sex or services or resources from them), but don't actually care about those people's well-being at all. (In other words, they "love" other people in exactly the same way they "love" their hamburgers.)
Then, the person who noticed this often over-reacts, and decides that if those two things are not exactly the same, then they certainly must be the exact opposites! It cannot be real love, if you derive any benefit whatsoever from the other person. If you are sexually attracted to them, it cannot be the true love! If you like it when they do something for you, or if they make you laugh and you enjoy that, it cannot be true love either! And even if you do something for them completely with no thought of reward, and you really get nothing in return, but then you suddenly notice that thinking about their happiness makes YOU happy... maybe deep down you were a horrible selfish monster all the time; you only pretended to love other people, but actually did this all only to give YOURSELF the happy feeling. Shame on you!
I wish this was a strawman, but see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altruism_(ethics) -- a few famous philosophers actually supported this pathological, poisonous idea. It can seriously hurt emotionally fragile people when you expose them to this insanity pretending to be deep wisdom.
"Wishing other people to be well" is a thing; "enjoying interaction with other people" is another thing; and when those two things happen to go together, there is nothing wrong with that. Nothing prevents you from genuinely loving people whose presence also makes you happy in other ways. It's actually easier than way, because one kind of positive emotion prepares the way for other kinds.
> four words for love that were roughly differentiated by familial love, friendship love, erotic love, and an unconditional love.
I'd say the last one is the unreciprocated love, and the first three include some kind of expectation (different kinds). Yes, even a father loving his son expects something in return; at the very least, that the son will not knowingly try to hurt him. But usually there is also some expectation of politeness, of possible cooperation in future when the son grows up, maybe of care for the father when he gets old.
Enough theory. I guess the practical advice is to love others, love yourself, and don't feel confused or guilty when the love is reciprocated.
I said this, because it's something I wish I had heard a long time ago.
Darkness imprisoning me
All that I see
I cannot live
I cannot die
Trapped in myself
Body my holding cell
The consciousness persists and the mind keeps on thinking, and it can't die - it's virtually immortal. That's the extra twist here. So, it's capable of surviving for millions of years, likely outliving all life on the planet etc., but at the same time deprived of all senses and cut off from the external world. Even an escape into insanity is impossible (since, I assume, there's no biochemistry that could get out of balance).
The horrified narrator considers it as the worst torment imaginable, whereas Decantor can't see it, as immortality - he points out - has always been humanity's most profound longing.
Basically a scientist makes a stargate type of device. Nonliving things that go through end up fine but living things like mice would either immediately just die or go absolute insane after exiting.
Long story short, the trip is instantaneous. But because they're traveling outside of our normal space time is perceived differently by conciousnes minds. So what seems like a split second to us on the outside things seem almost endless on the inside. Like anywhere from millions of years to the age of the universe. Endless time with nothing but their own thoughts. No body and just white light. Humans they test it out on either also die or end up going all Event Horizon when they exit.
They figured out a work around by knocking people out before putting then through.
Edit; found the Hitchcock one ; I will rewatch; I remember it as being very good.
From a comment at the top of that thread:
Here's a link to the full transcript: http://www.npr.org/2015/01/09/375928124/dark-thoughts and http://www.npr.org/2015/01/09/375928581/locked-in-man
There is video on YouTube where he is interviewed, he still can't speak though but other than that he appears fine. Well, maybe not great he is in a wheelchair too.
The options I had were:
1. agree to some lenghty tracking and ad terms, or;
2. decline and visit the plain text site.
There's no way to visit this article by substituting 'www.' for 'text.' in the URL, instead you get:
> NPR.org Text-Only (go to NPR.org graphical version)
> We're sorry, the page you requested is unavailable. Please go to our Contact page for more information.
But then they, as you say, the article I was looking for doesn't seem to be there!? Why do they even ask??
You can construct the text URL yourself from the www URL, I explained how to do this in a sibling comment: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24475995
Try sometimes to use links -g and you'll see how web can feel like browsing local resources, if you have a decent connection. Some sites will not work, but it kinda works as quality filter. If only links would support tabbed browsing.
I look at the pages that other people load, and those bouncing ads, videos, and whatnot.... I simply use a different Internet than others.
> And she didn't think her son was there to hear it.
> But he was.
I suppose the odds are it's not a large number, but still. Time to find out what kind of paperwork I need to file to stop this happening to me.
> Since all the world thought Martin was a vegetable, at the special care center where he spent his days he was often in front of the TV watching reruns of the children's cartoon hour after hour, day after day.
For a young adult with an intact mind... this sounds like hell on Earth.
> “Scott, are you in any pain? Do any of your body parts hurt right now? Please imagine playing tennis if the answer is no.”
Some stray phrases in the book led me to search some details of South African history that I didn't have a strong grasp on.
Somehow the various internet wide analytics decided this meant I should see this video:
It probably requires some context (/research) to understand the context on this. (I certainly did). But I found the implications of this video utterly fascinating. There are a really quite large number of layers to analyze in this.
> But occasionally there were things that elicited thoughts he could not ignore.
> Like Barney.
> "I cannot even express to you how much I hated Barney," Martin says.
But in the podcast they use the melody from the Barney & Friends kids TV show and now it makes sense. Before listening to to the podcast, after reading the article I was like "but who is Barney?"
Hating Barney was like a rite of passage for our generation. He coagulated out of the primordial sludge about the time our kids were getting old enough to want to see a purple dinosaur sing "I Love You".
and over again.
I liked the Barney mod for Doom though: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsvdMzfFNdQ
Barney Splat was a door game for BBSs back in the day.
If you would not like to be submitted to something yourself maybe you shouldn't do it to people who are in no position to protest?
He's got a website www.jhaendelrecovery.com and youtube https://www.youtube.com/c/JacobHaendelRecoveryChannel/.
It's super inspiring and he regularly provides updates on youtube on his recovery progress.
It's such a seemingly banal action, but so fundamentally human, in which we acknowledge one-another's humanity, and show appreciation for it and ours.
Smile folks. It doesn't cost anything, and it just might be the spark needed to light someone's life.
As far as I know, this story is not as well known in South Africa as one would perhaps expect.
But I think the real point of his story is his message about how important it is to communicate with others, how the depth and content of that communication with others is who we really are. I think a man who was alone with his thoughts for 15 years is very qualified to give us that advice.
But the possibility gives me joy.
This got a lot of attention on release. If it sounds familiar, you probably already read it.