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Charles Bonnet said it 250 years ago.

April 8, 2010

“How the theater of the mind could be generated by the machinery of the brain”

Charles Bonnet (1720-1793)

I’ve always been interested in medicine and fascinated by the brain specifically. So several times a week I check ted.com to see if there are any new interesting talks. Today I stumbled upon a talk by Oliver Sacks, a British physician, professor of neurology ad psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center and author of a few of my favorite non-fiction books. He spoke of hallucinations and what they can tell about our mind.

The quote refers to Charles Bonnet, who lived 250 years ago, and described a condition in which people who are visually impaired, suddenly start “seeing” things. Nowadays this condition is known as Charles Bonnet Syndrome. He first documented it in his 87 year old grandfather who started seeing all kinds of things. Now 250 years later, neurologists can finally get a glimpse of the machinery (Brain), that is providing the theater (mind) with visualizations (hallucinations) even though someone is visually impaired. The quote struck me as a very elegant metaphor for separating ones mind and brain.

Now the talk itself was very interesting too, since Prof. Sacks always includes case histories and talks about his patients with so much empathy. Therefore I’ll post the Youtube version of this Ted-talk  too, since I can’t download nor seem to embed the ted.com version. It takes about 19 minutes, but it is well worth the time.

And as an extra on hallucinations I found this DIY natural hallucinogen movie;

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From → Medicine

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