Sunday, September 22, 2019

The Divided Brain Divides Me

CBC's Documentary channel sent me a video link to a new 78-minute documentary The Divided Brain.
My left brain said no but my right brain said take a shot and since I'm an impulsive guy I watched and found it tremendously fascinating.
You can check it out on Documentary Sunday Sept. 22 at 9 p.m.
I think there'll be other showings during the next few weeks.
Dr. Iain Gilchrist is our fascinating hosts and he doesn't just stay in a classroom and read from his lecture notes.
We go on a dizzying wild ride from visits with various stroke victims to a fancy rehab centre high in the Swiss mountains to a guest appearance from John Cleese who helps explain why comics are heavily dependent on their right cortex.
For a documentary about such a complex subject the pace is very fast moving from the Egyptian pyramids to physicians who've battled their own brain problems to little kids who rely more on their right brain in early childhood.
Gilchrist originally taught English Lit at Cambridge University and it was there that he first realized our modern world is trapped in some dangerous imbalances.
We go to Maudsley hospital, constructed for Great War veterans, to see how people with strokes cope
We're told in the modern world that left and right hemispheres are constantly in conflict with each other.
I finally learned how my pet pigeon could differentiate between pebbles and grain kernels --so much for the term "bird brands".
Cleese trained as a lawyer but was only able to utilize his right cortex when he switched to comedy.
I feared this might degenerate into "talking heads" documentary but exactly the opposite is true.
The images are truly astonishing although I strongly suspect Gilchrist sometimes romanticizes the past.
In modern society he sees evidence of "a fix" favouring left brain accomplishments.
What he wishes for us all is more a sense of balance instead of our acquiescence in unlimited material growth.
I found the segment with a brain expert who suffered an aneurysm most fascinating--as her brain started to shit down she felt a kind of thrill at witnessing this first hand.
Talking to a group of New York graduate students Gilchrist is himself called out but he handles the dissension with verve.
The theme --our brain is not as mechanical as clockwork--is in itself revolutionary.
The human brain has remained the same in modern times but visits to people in Tahiti and the Amazon show how some peoples have not succumbed to theme to the left.
And talking to a Blackfoot chief Gilchrist sees that almost everything in that culture is animate --cuture produces these biological differences.
This outstanding production was made by Matter Of Fact Media --Vanessa Dylyn produced and the director is Manfred Baker.
I'' try to find out other airdates, I promise.


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