My own particular brain injury is cerebral palsy – the result of birth complications. It’s something I make light of. I have a picture in my mind’s eye of a doctor delivering me – one foot upon the bed, scarlet vains pulsing in his neck as he puts his weight behind him, leaning back with tight grip on ye olde forceps as he aids my passage into the world. It’s just a fanciful image – all a bit James Herriott.
And here I am, a few decades later, with a personal and professional take on the brain, what it is to be a human being, what it takes to be sensationally one’s own self.
More than that, what it takes to perceive one’s self as separate and i
ndividual. Even further, what it takes to have sympathy for fellow human beings. No, an even larger leap than that – to have empathy – the ability to sense another’s experience as they live it, almost to a point of becoming that other. And that other might not themselves, even be human.
Wow! Quite an achievement for something that’s been likened to a family sized portion of blancmange floating yet tethered inside an upturned goldfish bowl, don’t you think?
Well, actually, no. As I experience myself, I’m not some simple presentation of one solitary, autonomous part of my body working in isolation away from its fellows. THERE IS NO HIERACHY!!
My personality, my soul – brain, nervous system, stomach, heart etc. I feel as a gestalt whole.
The Oxford English Dictionary says a gestalt is “An organised whole that is perceived as more than the sum of its parts”. Is that not magical? That’s me. And you. And the rest of the animal kingdom.
All of us, equally magical in being someone. Whatever our abilities.
So again, a warm welcome to my blog. I hope you will find it a helpful, engaging and
entertaining place to visit.