Comparing Messages: Norman Doide MD, The Brain That Changes Itself

thebrainthatchanges

Comparing Messages: Norman Doide MD,
The Brain That Changes Itself

By Nathan Batalion, PhD, Naturopath, Triathlete

(Healingtalks) Norman Doidge, MD, in his The Brain That Changes Itself,offers a spellbinding and triumphant account of several individuals whose “brain plasticity” helped them overcame their seemingly permanent brain disabilities. His lucid storytelling style, along with his rich and heartwarming dialogues, brings home Doidge’s main theme, namely, the plasticity or changeability of our brains’ functioning. Doidge also illustrates how this applies to the brains of young and old when overcoming a host of different limitations, including sensory, memory, IQ, cognitive, and language skill impairments. He admirably supports the notion that our brains and the rest of our bodies do not function mechanically; that their aliveness allows for near miraculous adaptability. He further extends this notion of brain plasticity to the impacts on our and other entire cultures as adapting to new and challenging collective conditions.

Critique

Though Doidge covers a broad range of brain-related topics, sprinkled with inspirational stories, one disappointment is that his book’s conclusion offers too little of integrative, pulling-together insights. Amidst his repeatedly emphasizing each of our brain‘s overall plasticity or changeability, I was looking for much more of a detailed message. Thus I would have liked to see him explore the degree and variability, for example, of plasticity for different functions, ages and ethnic groups.

Comparison

In my own writings, I take a stab at detailed as well as holistic and integrated understanding of our brain hemispherical functions, and not just that they are alive and changeable. As with Stanislav Grof’s Beyond the Brain, the emphasis in my writings is also on more than just the physical brain’s characteristics, where the main polarized split between right and left brain functions, for example, is seen as reflective of a larger split in consciousness itself which the brain channels. The gathering of such further insights remains my main focus and to help understand the larger experience of life and the cosmos which the brain mediates.

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