Mostly because it seems to imply that those of us with two fully-functional hemispheres are somehow deeply unhappy people, incapable of peaceful quiet.
Also, she appears to have made some reasonably large leaps in terms of what damage to one hemisphere has done to her personality and behaviour. A lot of those traits are whole-brain processes. It seems rather reductionist to suggest that the left hemisphere is some sort of ball-and-chain holding us all away from enlightenment and bliss.
And really, if the goal is to convince us to relinquish the control that our left hemispheres have over us, then why frame in neo-spiritualist terms that are so utterly unappealing to most left-hemisphere-dominant people?
The lack of left-hemisphere dominance is known to greatly increase your chances for depression and for emotional and mental problems, all of which plague the right-hemisphere dominant left-handers.
I'm left-handed, so's my wife, and so are several of my extended family and several of my friends. I know left-handers who are deeply spiritual, and personally I'm deeply sceptical. We have all the same problems as everyone else, and then high prevalences of bipolar, schizophrenia and everything else to boot.
What she appears to be reasoning is that the loss of the analytical, logical, numerical verbal and certain language centres of your brain will remove all of life's problems. I'm sure it will when you're rolling in the money and your memoirs are being features in the NY times, but for everyone else I'm sure being unable to think analytically, logically or losing your grammar and vocabulary centres of your brain will only cause more problems, like the complete inability to be employed and probably the complete inability to concentrate on filling out welfare forms.
Seriously, if you're right-handed (left-hemisphere) dominant, feel lucky. Just remember that being righties, you might want to take a break more often than you think you do. Have a margaritas or two, I'm sure it'll get you to euphoria faster and safer than having a stroke!
I find Dr Taylor's views and attitude easy to appreciate, since I've had similar experiences and turning points, though not through such dramatic circumstances. I believe she makes excellent points, worth hearing - but I don't feel like any less of a materialist or believer in the utility of logic and scientific method.
Astrologers believe in something you don't, and it's very ignorant to say they're deficient in basic mental processes. I'm sure many hippies are, but that's called drug abuse. Scientists can be equally as misled as any astrologer to facts, just read up on the amazing work done by many of our cold-fusion scientists who ignore fundamental scientific concepts like the conservation of mass and energy. Personally, I think astrologers are a lot smarter than any cold-fusion/free energy scientist out there, and those scientists somehow got their hands onto Ph.D's.
I'm right-hemisphere dominant, I'm extremely logical, sceptical and I have a high IQ. I scored amazingly in math and science, I'm completely non-religious to the point that I find atheists disturbingly religious in their activities, and I've also worked as a writer. Your brain works the way it works, the way your genes and life have designed it to work. I'm somehow right-hemisphere dominant and out-perform nearly every left-hemisphere dominant people I know at tasks they're supposed to be good at. That's the irony of life.
I find Dr Taylor's views to be psycho crackpot work and I give them less credence than my horoscope. She's claiming a lack of left-hemisphere dominance is good, which I'm sorry but personally I really like writing (as anyone can tell from my comments, including this one) and losing the left-hemisphere kind of ruins that whole fun, also talking.
She apparently had a stroke, probably lost very minor functioning in her brain and had a religious experience, just like thousands of other people do every year when they have a heart attack, stroke, cancer, hit by a car, girlfriend kicked them in the crotch . . . okay I added the last one, but religious experiences don't necessarily come in the same form. She likely wasn't very religious, so when she had hers she didn't attribute it to god.
The whole process of near-death usually helps people not worry about the mundane problems, like your boss being a jerk. At least for a few months.
Ever since Carl Sagan proposed that people with NDE are perhaps re-experiencing their birth, I am more awed with neuro-science. The highly logical hacker in me is always looking for a physical explanation where either my left or right brain remains open and agnostic!
The beauty of the article is that it comes from a person in the field, but so was Teller and he was duped by Uri Geller.
I never got any sort of satisfactory explanation for what exactly was going on, but it almost seems to be some sort of neurochemical boot up process related to consciousness.
Try this experiment. Try to think of driving to the store buy some food, come back home cook it and have dinner. Can you do that without language just images?
The first stage was full on dreamworld. The majority of it was nonsense I forgot immediately, but I do have scattered memories of very intricate and bizarre almost Proustian sorts of scenes playing out in my mind involving whoever was around at the time. Like sleeping dreams the amount of elapsed time in the dream did not seem to be bounded by external time.
The second phase begins as you wake up from that dream and consists of auditory & visual 'hallucinations.' I scare-quote that because it's probably not the most precise characterization. The best way I can describe the sound is as the sound of crashing waves at the ocean, but they quickly go from very loud to to sort of a dull ringing that almost seems to physically hurt your ears. (I associate this with high blood pressure for some reason, but I don't think that's valid, particularly in this case.) The visuals consist of an almost cinematic gradual fade-in from black.
The third and final stage is where things become more familiar. This generally kicks in a minute or so after you regain consciousness. This is where you are aware of your surroundings but very muddled. If you're in a medical situation, people will be talking to you but it will just seem like gibberish. This fades pretty quickly back into a sort-of normalcy that you gradually adapt to. Sometimes this would be accompanied by nausea, and at this point you are still susceptible to re-starting the process if you aren't careful.
I am not sure I could really do it in practice, but as a thought experiment, I don't have a huge problem with visualizing that sequence without language, but then again, I am a symbolic/visual person in terms of my learning and thought process.
I am disappointed at the dismissive comments; perhaps those skimming he article failed to note Taylor's comment that 'religion is a story the left brain tells the right brain', and that she is capable enough to teach neuroanatomy at Indiana University's medical school - if she is not up to or interested in performing as much academic research, she has hardly become an anti-scientist.
It's quite possible to be a good materialist and still enjoy a spiritual dimension to life without evoking immaterial agencies or phenomena to do so; the different cerebration that seems to take place in the subordinate (usually right) hemisphere doesn't indicate less 'processing power' or 'buggy software'; it just processes incoming information differently, and the idea that there is nothing worthwhile to be learned this way is arguably foolish.
Indeed, there's a faulty syllogism at work here:
Scatterbrained mystics make unscientific claims about the right brain.
Taylor makes positive reports of improved mental state, following a temporary, documented inhibition of her left hemisphere.
Therefore, Taylor is a scatterbrained mystic whose claims are unscientific.
I don't see Taylor making any claims about immaterial causes or phenomena, either in this article or on her website, any more than the literature of Zen does, or any of the serious research into psychotropic drugs.
That does not mean that there is any relevance to your 'untethered' experience. Similar things happen to people that are subjected to sensory deprivation, such as being immersed in tanks with salt water for extended periods.
It usually does not take very long before hallucinations begin.
"""All the mystics advise dissociation (wherein painful reality is transformed into a bad dream) as being the most effective means to deal with all the wars and murders and rapes and tortures and domestic violence and child abuse and sadness and loneliness and grief and depression and suicides and the such-like. Just as a traumatised victim of an horrific and terrifying event makes the experience unreal in order to cope with the ordeal, all the Gurus and the God-Men, the Masters and the Messiahs, the Avatars and the Saviours and the Saints and the Sages have desperately done precisely this thing (during what is sometimes called ‘the dark night of the soul’). Mystics have been transmogrifying the real world ‘reality’ into an unreal ‘True Reality’ via the epiphenomenal imaginative/intuitive facility born of the psyche (which is formed by the instinctual passions genetically endowed by blind nature for survival purposes) for millennia."""
Which will, ironically, prove her point.
EDIT: What I mean is that we are (myself included) mostly left brain people. Otherwise we probably wouldn't be here.
It's hard for us to relate to this kind of experiences. It's easier to dismiss them and go back to our own so very important projects and our endless elucubrations.
We already have a method of sidestepping the left hemisphere: religion. But in all seriousness, I think she's right. You can achieve this so called nirvana without resorting to religion, which is an invention by us to satisfy our spiritual needs. Also I think the stroke damaged her left side enough to open her mind to this point. So I do not think she is delusional, just more open minded. Too much logic and reasoning results in more narrow minded thinking, but too little results in more unrealistic thinking. She happened to hit the perfect balance after the stroke.
What a trade...
Ischemic stroke is caused by a blood clot that could come from as far south as your legs. Hemorrhagic stroke is caused by a burst blood vessel that blocks blood getting to your brain. In both cases, stroke is the lack of oxygen to your brain.
It is largely caused by cardiovascular disease.