Building Your Brain for Success with Legendary Neuroscientist V.S. Ramachandran | Impact Theory

Building Your Brain for Success with Legendary Neuroscientist V.S. Ramachandran | Impact Theory


Tom Bilyeu: Hey everybody, welcome to Impact
Theory. You are here, my friends, because you believe
that human potential is nearly limitless, but you know as I do that having potential
is not the same as actually doing something with it. Our goal with this show and company is to
introduce you to the people and ideas that will help you execute on your dreams. All right, I am freakishly excited about today’s
guest. He’s one of the most respected minds in all
of neuroscience, and his name is often uttered in the same breath as some of the most enduring
names in the history of science. His insightful and, quite frankly, bad ass
experiments coupled with his ability to boil the insanely complex down to the super simple
has made him one of the most sought after lecturers living today. He’s done multiple TED Talks, and additionally,
he was the Gifford lecturer of 2012, an honor reserved for history’s brightest minds that
dates back to the 1800’s, and has included such legendary figures as Niels Bohr, Roger
Penrose, Werner Heisenberg, and Carl Sagan. He obtained his PhD from Trinity College at
Cambridge, received two additional honorary doctorates as well as the Henry Dale medal,
and Richard Dawkins once called him the Macro Polo of neuroscience. Please help me in welcoming the best-selling
author of The Tell-Tale Brain, Phantoms in the Brain, and A Brief Tour of Human Consciousness,
the man two created the astonishing mirror box, and taught me more about the mind than
anyone else, V.S. Ramachandran. Yes, thank you so much for coming to my show. I really appreciate it. Please, take a seat. Welcome! VS Ramachandran: Thank you. Tom Bilyeu: So this is a long time coming
for me as somebody who really felt a victim to circumstance, a victim to my own mind. My journey really began with learning about
the brain, and thankfully that journey began with you and reading The Tell-Tale Brain was
the first one that I read, but I think the one that impacted me the most is probably
Phantoms in the Brain, which was just utterly revelatory in terms of the way that the brain
impacts us. One of the most interesting things that I
found in your books are the profound ways in which the brain is malleable and we can
make changes. How much do you think, and God this will be
interesting depending on what you say, but how much do you think that we can really rewire,
consciously rewire, our own brains? VS Ramachandran: It may be a while, but we’re
headed in the right direction, I think. The old view of the brain when I was a medical
student, one of the things I learned is that the brain consists of isolated modules. This is a caricature, but roughly people believed
that isolated modules specialized for different functions. The modules don’t talk to each other. There’s a vision one, and the touch one, or
the hearing one. There’s a foresight one. There’s a wisdom one. There’s a memory … They hardly interact. They’re all hardwired, laid down at birth
by the genome, and that was it. You study each module [inaudible 00:03:03]. Now we’re saying the exact opposite is true. Our research has shown patients with phantom
limbs, for example, that first of all these so-called modules are not hardwired. They’re constantly interacting with the environment
they’re immersed in and with other people. There’s a sort of dynamic interplay of signals
back-and-forth between the environment and the module in the brain. The module and the skin and bones, as I’ll
explain in a minute, and each module is talking to, interacting powerfully, with modules of
other people’s brains. Not only is it interacting within the brain,
but it’s crossing over to other brains using mirror neurons. This gives you a very dynamic picture of brain
function embedded in society, embedded in social interaction, embedded in your physical
body, physical flesh, anchored in the physical flesh of the body. It’s a very dynamic picture of the brain which
is highly malleable even though the basic scaffolding is laid down at birth. This was very, very radical view of looking
at the brain. Tom Bilyeu: I want to get back to mirror neurons
because you have a really fascinating view about how mirror neurons are essentially the
thing that allowed us to rapidly progress as a species by essentially giving birth to
culture. VS Ramachandran: One of them, right. Tom Bilyeu: One of the things, yes. Not to over-simplify the brain, but what I
want to go a little bit deeper first on- … VS Ramachandran: Plasticity. Tom Bilyeu: Yeah, plasticity and how it’s
usable. One, have you used it in your own life? If so, how? And if not, how have you seen it with patients? VS Ramachandran: I’ll give you a couple of
striking examples. If you amputate somebody, he develops a phantom
arm. You amputate the arm, he develops a phantom
arm in more than 98% of cases. A very vivid experience of the fingers, of
the palm, of the wrist right there, but he doesn’t see it obviously. He knows it’s not there. He’s not delusional, but he experiences this
phantom. He can reach out and grab a cup, or answer
the phone, or wave good-bye, a very vivid sense of experience. Major turning point in my career was when
I saw a patient about 20 years ago who was sitting there … He had a phantom limb, phantom
arm, and he had come to see me because he knew of my interest in neurology and brain
function. He said he has a phantom that moves around,
and reaches out and grabs objects and the telephone when it rings. On a whim, I brought a cup of coffee in front
of him, an empty cup. I said, “Can you reach and grab that cup of
coffee with your phantom?” He smiled at me and said, “Sure.” As he was reaching for it, I grabbed it and
pulled it away. My question was very simple, will the phantom
then shoot out like that rubber hand in that movie with what’s his name, Jim Carrey? Tom Bilyeu: Yeah, yeah, yeah. VS Ramachandran: Will it shoot out? Because why should the physical limits of
the flesh apply to a phantom? It was kind of a silly question if you think
about it, but that’s not what happened. When I pulled it he said, “Ouch!” I said, “What do you mean?” He said, “Ouch, it’s painful!” I said, “What do you mean?” He said, “I already grabbed the handle when
you pulled it.” Tom Bilyeu: Wow. VS Ramachandran: I said, “There’s no handle,
there’s cup, there’s no arm, there’s no fingers. What the hell is going on here?” The brain is vastly more mysterious than we
realize. Here’s a phantom hand, reaching out, grabbing
a cup … That in itself is surprising. When I pull the cup away from the phantom,
and he feels phantom pain and yelps and screams. Tom Bilyeu: That’s so interesting. I know you’re obvious approaching it as a
researcher, as a neurologist. I approach that exact same phenomenon as an
entrepreneur. There was a period in my life where I was
… Ah God, I didn’t feel like I was depressed as the time, but as I describe the symptoms
now, we’ll call it bordering on depression. I was laying on the floor, my face mashed
into the carpet, just feeling hopeless and feeling like, “What can I do?” It was researching the brain that allowed
me to get out of that state because I realized if the brain is that powerful, that an arm
I do not have can experience pain based on you pulling a cup away from it, what’s it
doing to me now? That’s not real, right? But how much of my situation right now, this
feeling of hopelessness … I actually have the chills thinking about it … This feeling
of hopelessness, is it real? VS Ramachandran: Which you’ve triumphed over. Tom Bilyeu: Right, like can I do something,
can I change it? If there’s a mechanism at play, whether it’s
mapping or whatever, and you’ve been referred to as the mapper of the brain, so if this
is … That particular things doesn’t necessarily have to be mapping, and if I could begin to
understand these things and how they were being used against me, essentially, could
I flip it and use it for me? VS Ramachandran: Anything we study, we have
three agendas. One is, is it real? Second question, what’s going on in the brain? Why does this happen in some individuals? Third question, who cares? Tom Bilyeu: Why is it important, yeah. VS Ramachandran: Why is it important? Can you put it in a broader context? We did that with phantom limbs. We do have a cure for it, which we can return
to later if you want. Then we did this with synesthesia, for example. Synesthesia is a condition where people see
colors when they see numbers. Black and white numbers, I can give you a
number five and you don’t see black and white. These people say, “I see red,” or see green
or blue, different numbers elicit different colors, it’s stable throughout your life passed
on from generation to generation, so your parents are all synesthetes, so it’s a genetic
basis. What causes it? We discovered that there’s an area of the
brain for colors, the fusiform gyrus in the temporal lobe. There’s an area for numbers, visual appearance
of numbers, and these are sitting right next to each other in this huge brain. What’s the likelihood that some people have
this quirk, they see numbers as color, and the number area and color area are sitting
right next to each other in the brain. We said in these people, maybe there’s a cross-wiring,
and accidental cross-wiring so when they see the number five, number five lights up in
the brain, and cross activates the cross-wiring red color. For someone it might be green color. Again you might say, “Dr. Ramachandran, you
showed that the neurons of the brain and the number area would fire and activate the color
area in V4, this cross-wiring, so these people have this weird phenomenon. They see colored numbers. Why should I care?” It turns out that synesthesia is eight times
more common among artists, poets, and novelists. That’s why we should care. That gives you the clue. Why should it be eight times more common in
artists, poets, and novelists? First we need to ask why does it run in families,
synesthesia? And why is there this cross-wiring? You don’t’ see cross-wiring in normal people. When you see five, you just see five in black
and white. You don’t see color. These people are cross-wired to see color. That’s because all our brains are cross-wired
when you’re a fetus, when you’re an infant. Everything is connected to everything, and
as the child evolves, as the child grows up, the excess connections are pruned away, and
what you’re left with is a characteristic modularity of the adult brain with a different
specialized area for color, number, alphabets, so on and so forth. If the pruning gene which causes this pruning
to occur in ruining all the excess connections mutates, then you get defective pruning, so
these connections are left behind from infancy, so every time you see the number five you
see the color red. This is the basis of synesthesia which we
proposed, and to this date has been confirmed in many labs. It’s not the only thing that’s going on, but
it’s one of the things that’s going on. Tom Bilyeu: I don’t know how to take control
of it yet, but I find synesthesia so fascinating from a creative standpoint. Do you know Nabokov? VS Ramachandran: Yes. Tom Bilyeu: All right, so supposedly a synesthete. VS Ramachandran: Absolutely. Tom Bilyeu: He wrote, I think it was, Lolita
in English and it was his fifth language or something. I thought, “Wait a second. This guy wrote a book in his fifth language
better than I can write in my first.” It’s crazy to think that … the reason it’s
important to me to develop the theory of how I can leverage this in my own life is obviously
gaining control of the brain. To anybody watching, guys, the whole point
of learning about the brain, the whole point of that is to really begin to understand the
things that you can use in your own life to empower you, to pick a direction, to know
what you’re going after, so when I think about Nabokov, and I think about here’s a guy that
found truly his calling. His calling was to deal with language because
there was so much crossover either between metaphor, emotion- …
VS Ramachandran: That’s true. Tom Bilyeu: Something, right? I know that you’ve talked very powerfully
about how metaphor is sort of on this spectrum of synesthesia. Walk us though that. Walk us through, is there a way for me to
… as somebody who’s not a synesthete … Are there ways to train my brain do draw more
of these connections? VS Ramachandran: It’s a fascinating question,
and we haven’t quite got that yet, but we’re getting there I think. Synesthesia, so there’s this gene that causes
excess connections. There are what are called transcription factors,
which allow the gene to be expressed selectively in one region. If it’s expressed selectively in the fusiform
gyrus where the number area and color area … they get cross-wiring, and you get color/number
synesthesia. That’s no big deal. It helps them remember phone numbers. Unlike us, they see a spectrum of color in
front of them. Tom Bilyeu: Not very useful these days with
cell phones. VS Ramachandran: Exactly, but it turns out
that if the gene is expressed diffusely, which can happen, then you get more cross-wiring
throughout the brain. That, I claim, is the basis of creativity
and metaphor. When The Bard Shakespeare said, “It is the
east, and Juliet is the sun,” you don’t go, “Juliet is the sun. Does that mean she was a radiant fireball?” Actually, that’s not a bad metaphor. He meant she was radiant, she was nurturing,
she was warm, she rises in bed like the sun rises in the east. You can make any number of connections you
want. She’s the center of my solar system like the
sun is the center of the solar system. Shakespeare was a master of doing this. I bet Shakespeare might have been a synesthete. I’m not sure, but could’ve been a synesthete. Synesthetes have more connections throughout
the brain, and therefore concepts and ideas like sun and Juliet are enshrined in different
neural architecture and different parts of the brain, even far regions of the brain,
ideas and concepts. The excess connections across the brain creates
a greater propensity to link seemingly unrelated ideas and concepts. That’s the basis of metaphor and creativity. Now you can get to he molecular basis, you
can clone the gene, look at the brain connections, molecular basis, neural basis of esoteric
abilities like creativity for the first time the history of neuroscience and brain research. How you can tap into it? That’s a big question and I’ll get to that. Tom Bilyeu: No, no please, jump in. VS Ramachandran: I was gonna say there, we
still just scratched the surface. We don’t know quite how to harness this ability
as far as genetic engineering or something, but I would say in schools, and in fact in
your own life, poetry has a tremendous role. I think we should all try to become poets. Tom Bilyeu: Wow, that’s interesting. VS Ramachandran: Yeah, because poetry, and
laughter, and humor, because humor involves unusual juxtaposition of ideas, so there’s
a lot in common with creativity. Not surprisingly, many very creative people
have a great sense of humor. The only exception would be Germans. Tom Bilyeu: Any Germans in the house? VS Ramachandran: Are exceptionally creative
as you know. This sounds frivolous, but having courses
on humor and laughter in school- … Tom Bilyeu: Let me derail us for a second. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a stand-up
comic, so I would spend every day … Every day! … Monday through Friday at lunch doing standup
routines for my table. Not like in front of the whole school or anything,
but for my table. I practiced, practiced, practiced day after
day, after day, after day, so when people asked me, because my verbal skill is something
that people would say … I don’t claim to be smart. I’ve worked my ass off to get educated. I don’t claim to be smart. People say, “Yeah, but you have such an easy
time talking,” and I always point to the time that I spent every day practicing, and that
just using the sheer number of words, especially because I was still developing at that time,
I’m sure I impacted the size of the verbal centers of my brain, but it’s interesting
that … Because in writing, one of the things that
I find easiest is metaphor, to make disparate connections, and I have this concept that
I call “thinkitating” which is … VS Ramachandran: Very interesting, yeah. Tom Bilyeu: Which is a reference to meditating,
so I start by getting in a meditative state, which I’ll define as an alpha-wave state in
my brain. I feel very relaxed, very creative, and I
find that I’ll make really interesting connections at that time. I’ll put two things together that I wouldn’t
otherwise put, but I have to put my mind to it. I have to pick a problem and say, “This is
what I’m gonna think about in this alpha-wave state.” Then I just find that, whoa, really far reaching
things will come together and … VS Ramachandran: Connect, yeah. Tom Bilyeu: Reconnect, which I never thought
of as being on that spectrum, but it’s interesting that I don’t know if there is a tie with my
early obsession with comedy and my ability to do that or not, but its interesting. VS Ramachandran: That’s fascinating, and it
seems to me that the strength of your approach is, instead of conventional science where
you objectively, quote unquote, sombeody’s behavior or sombeody’s perception, you’re
doing introspective experiments on your own mind by trial and error. To me, its’ very fascinating. The real question is does the creativity and
humor, seeing analogies, grasping analogies, seeing connections which can be funny at times
but not always, whether that spills over into other domains, or do you just become a really
funny guy? This question has not been adequately answered. If I introduce you into the school curriculum
a lot of humor, different styles of humor, is it going to make them creative, or is it
just going to end up a lot of comedians? Tom Bilyeu: Can I tell you what it feels like? I ended up doing standup comedy quite a bit
at one point, sort of right towards the end of my high school, beginning of college, and
then I stopped. I wanted to take myself very seriously during
college, so I complete stopped it. Study, study, study, but about two years out
of college I decided, hey, I want to go back to it. When I started practicing again, just trying
to find the funny moments in life, doing the routines in the mirror, like getting back
into being funny, I could literally feel my brain speed up. That’s what it felt like. I don’t know if that’s just how it feels as
you begin trying to make these other connections, if some part of your brain is sort of lobbing
random things into your mind I don’t know, but very much the subjective experience is
the sense of … I always likened it to an engine where you feel it turning over, and
then it just gets very, very fast. If I couldn’t get my mind into that space
where I could feel it going quickly, I couldn’t be funny, but once I got in there and then
I was able to make those random connections, make them quickly because obviously timing
is a big part of comedy … VS Ramachandran: Yes, something like that. Tom Bilyeu: That’s very interesting. VS Ramachandran: That’s fascinating, and similarly
poetry, I think that the people who are, quote unquote, poetry blind … and I don’t know
if that’s congenital, or even if it is, can you modify it? Can you educate people with poetry and the
beauty and impact of poetry, does that that help them in other ways, or do they just become
poets? These are open questions that need to be investigated,
but what I’m hearing you say is that there is a tremendous change in the brain which
you can experience, and it might spill over into other domains although you evolved it
for humor, obviously. Tom Bilyeu: That’s really interesting. I want to go back to mirror neurons for a
second. You had a great quote, and I’m gonna paraphrase
it but it went, “The only thing standing between me and true connectedness is my bloody skin.” I found that really interesting. What do you think that says about human relationships
as people try to stop the separatism, and feel this sense of unity, to know that truly
from an experiential standpoint that can be verified in the lab, the only thing that stands
between you and actually experiencing someone else’s circumstance is a null signal. Is it usable? What do we do with it? VS Ramachandran: Evolution has seen it fit
that for rapid action, and for its purposes perpetuating genes in new lineage, you need
to take short cuts. A simplifying assumption is to say, “Your
consciousness stops here at your skin to protect.” That’s a different present- … but as far
as the neurons are concerned, the mirror neurons, they’re firing away and empathizing with another
person, it’s all one big connected network which includes other people’s brains and not
just your own brain. It includes the skin too. As it told you, it turns out there’s a condition
called RSD … if you don’t mind my going off on a tangent here for a second …
Tom Bilyeu: No, please. VS Ramachandran: Normally, if you have an
injury to metacarpal bone … Tom Bilyeu: RSD is like the swelling, the
red, yeah. VS Ramachandran: So you see a tiny fracture. Normally the finger swells up, and it becomes
red, it becomes warm, inflamed, painful … classic signs of inflammation. Then the bone starts healing for a couple
of weeks, and then the changes in the skin and flesh reverse. It’s called healing, everything is fine. In about 1% of people the fracture heals,
but the finger remains swollen, red, painful, and immobilized. You can’t move that finger. Whole hand becomes immobilized, red, painful,
swollen, and warm … the entire arm. You’re stuck with this for life typically,
for decades. There are 30 treatments, none of which work
adequately. The one treatment seems to be the ganglion
block which helps somewhat. We developed a trick which is now widely known
and used for phantom limb pain, but we suggested it could be used for this on the grounds that
when the brain had a small injury and it sent a command to move, it’s getting a pain signal. It’s like, “Ow! Don’t move it, it’s painful!” This results in a pseudo paralysis, so the
brain gives up attempting to move the hand because it’s terrified. If I try to move it, its painful, so it’s
called learned pain. Now you put a mirror here, hide the dystrophic
arm, swollen arm, painful arm. Put your normal hand on the other side, I’m
the patient. I look in the mirror and I move my normal
arm like that. My dystrophic arm looks like it’s moving,
but it’s not. It’s just lying still. I’m sending commands to both hands. Only this hand is moving. This hand is not moving. It looks like it’s moving, but there’s no
pain because you’re not moving the left hand. You get me so far? Tom Bilyeu: Yeah, yeah. VS Ramachandran: The brain says, “Look, your
left hand is moving fine and it’s not painful. Go ahead and move it.” You unlearn the learned pain. Soon afterwards the experiments were tried
on about nine patients, and astonishingly, about half of the patients online … They
have this for months or years, and you watch the normal hand’s reflection in the mirror
so the dystrophic painful hand looks like it’s moving with impunity. It starts moving. Not only does the inflammation and the pain
subside, but the hand starts moving, paralysis goes away, the redness changes, the color
changes, and the hand stops swelling. You get the temperature change, you can’t
fake that with your mind. Visual input is going and affecting the temperature
of the skin as you watch with a mirror. Tom Bilyeu: Rama, doesn’t this stuff freak
you out? Like, do you not go home and see what else
you can put in the mirror box? Like, “What can I do with this stuff?” VS Ramachandran: Absolutely, you can go home
and play with mirrors and discover all kinds of things. If I put two mirrors at a right angles and
position my nose correctly so it looks like a normal face, one half on each side of the
mirror. If I blink, you know what happens? Tom Bilyeu: Yeah. VS Ramachandran: Mirror image blinks. If I blink my right eye, it blinks its right
eye, and it spooks you out. You say, “My God, what’s it doing,” unless
you know the optics. You do the same thing. Go home and try it. It’s beautiful. Now comes the fun part. I simply ask you to look at this gizmo, and
I say, “First look at a normal mirror and move your head around like this, circumduction.” You say, “Fine,” and you do it. Yeah, I’m doing it. You look at your eyes, it’s important. Look at the bridge of your nose. Easy, right? Okay, now you put two mirrors like this, look
in the center, do the same thing. You can’t. You can’t move your head, or you do this. Tom Bilyeu: Why? VS Ramachandran: With some practice you’ll
start doing it very slowly. Because the feedback is wrong. What you get in a normal mirror, you use the
feedback of the head to guide your head. This is what they don’t realize that the brain
doesn’t function in isolation. It’s constantly monitoring sensory input. So when you attempt a correction, the head
moves the wrong direction, so you then correct again the other way, then again it goes the
wrong direction. You’re getting this feedback loop and you
get a pseudo paralysis of the head. Who would’ve thought that I could purl ut
two mirrors in front of you at right angles like a book, ask you look inside it, ask you
to move your head, and you would say, “I can’t move my head.” Tom Bilyeu: This stuff to me is so powerful
and so important. When you start thinking about the duality
of the brain, the corpus callosum, and what happens when you sever the corpus callosum
and you get what you’ll talk about in a second, the atheist and the theist. It’s so fascinating, but what I hear in all
this stuff is there are things that I can do right now to beginning to develop my brain
in a way that I want. There’s some guys here just off-camera, and
they were asking me before you got here like, “Hey, you used to visualize …” because my
wife and I used to drive up into Beverly Hills and look at nice houses. When we were poor, that’s how we stayed motivated,
and as they’re asking about this, I get what they’re really trying to do, which is they
want to know on those days when they feel insanely lazy and they don’t want to do anything,
what tricks can they do to motivate themselves? People write in and ask that kind of thing
all the time. The real question that they’re asking is,
“How do I take control of my brain?” Because your brain is fucking with you. Your brain is lying to you. Your brain is making things up. Your brain has multiple voices, and the only
thing that keeps them moving in one line is a bit of tissue between them. When you find yourself arguing in your own
head, it’s because there really are two competing voices. There really is one that’s fearful, that doesn’t
even have language, talking to one that has language but is much less emotional, and trying
to balance those two out. When I hear stuff like the mirror box and
being able to have- … what are the initials? RFM … RD …?
VS Ramachandran: RSD. Tom Bilyeu: RDS. VS Ramachandran: Reflex sympathetic dystrophy. Tom Bilyeu: All right, so if you look that
up on Google, it is so horrifying. It’s huge, and red, and nasty, and you’ve
got people living with that for 10 years. You put it in a mirror box that this man makes
for $2.00, and you can trick your brain into thinking that all is well to the point that
you’ll begin to see the swelling go down in real time. VS Ramachandran: In about half of the patients. Tom Bilyeu: That’s fucking crazy. The brain to me is ripe for … don’t take
this the wrong way, but manipulation on yourself to be able to create an improvement, to be
able to get yourself moving in a direction, and here, you guys watching the show, the
thing that I want to stand for personally is it doesn’t matter where you start, it doesn’t
matter who you are. Everyone’s a lump of flesh that can’t hold
its own head up and poops in its diapers. That’s where we all start, and we all learn
to do something over time. You can learn to do that, but man, you’ve
got to learn about the brain. If you’re not researching the brain and finding
the tricks that it is pulling on you so that you can reverse it and pull it back on the
brain, you’re missing a trick. VS Ramachandran: That’s fascinating, and the
point that you made about the corpus callosum and left and right hemisphere, studied extensively
by Roger Sperry, Gazzaniga, Joe Bogen, many others right here in Pasadena actually. [inaudible 00:26:21] is the right hemisphere
has its own language. Of course both hemispheres use the same language
of neuro impulses. There are tiny wisps of protoplasm, of jelly
called neurons, and they’re firing away 100 billion of these that is you and me, and then
you look at the world. How this all is happening is mysterious. Even more directly intriguing is that the
right hemisphere speaks a different language of emotions, introspection, whereas the left
hemisphere is conventional, what we refer to as language, spoken language. I think more fundamental than that, there’s
a translation barrier between these two hemispheres. The musical scale is extraordinarily beautiful. A flourish here, a flourish there, Mozart,
or in Indian classical music, [baraga narbadi kanada 00:27:08] or something like that, so
there’s improvisation going on and then this musical scale or melody. That says it all sometimes. To translate music into words is impossible
because there’s a barrier, and I think what happens is music itself is a bridge between
the right hemisphere’s emotional language which is hard to convey, and the left hemisphere’s
propositional language. This is just a far out idea. I don’t even know how to test it, but these
are the kinds of issues that we think about, or are starting to think about. Tom Bilyeu: Michael Strahan, I don’t know
if you know who that is, is one of the guys on Good Morning America, Hall of Fame NFL
football player, and he talks about how he’ll orchestrate his music depending on what he’s
trying to achieve. So as he prepares for going out onto the field,
about two hours out he’s actually listening to slower-tempo music, R&B, it’s very emotive,
and then as he gets closer to going out, he starts listening to very aggressive music,
things that create a brain-state change in his mind. The notion of changing brain states to me
is so important. Maybe there are just some people that, for
whatever reason, their wired to do XYZ, but take this show for me … This provokes tremendous
anxiety for me, and to be able to come on, and perform, and calm my nerves, it’s like
I have to go through this super fucking elaborate thing to change my brain state to get it where
I want. Tony Robbins talks about instant state changes
and things you can do to really hype yourself up. I find I can do an instant state change to
aggression, but I can’t do an instant state change to something more subtle than that. VS Ramachandran: You mean towards aggression? Tom Bilyeu: Yes. VS Ramachandran: In response to somebody’s
aggressive behavior? Tom Bilyeu: No, it doesn’t have to be that,
but let’s say that I wanted to … Michael Strahan, you’re about to go out onto the football
field, and you need to bring it and be a killer. You haven’t even seen anybody else yet, but
you know you have to walk on just totally amped up. I have a technique that I use that i think
a lot of people use, which is to hit yourself, to have physical contact with yourself. If I strike my chest really hard, in an instant
Rama, I can really get amped up, or I can put music on that exists in a … Like Jay
Z for me has … if I want to be cock-sure, I’ll put on Jay Z. It’s got this swagger. VS Ramachandran: Before you go. Tom Bilyeu: It depends on what I’m trying
to do, right? In fact in the early days when I first started
doing this show, back when it was Inside Quest, I had to put myself into a position of confidence
because I didn’t have the confidence to do the show, so I would listen to Jay Z. That’s all I would listen to for an hour leading
up to the show, I’d pace around and just listen to this music just to get myself in the right
mental state. The reason I bring that up is there’s so much
going on in the brain, but so much of it is controllable. What’s really interesting and we don’t have
time for it here, but you’ve talked so powerfully about what it means to be self-aware, and
how the self can contemplate the universe, and contemplate itself contemplating the universe. What does that mean? To me, once you realize that you can contemplate
yourself contemplating, you can control it. You can start to steer it. You can move it in different directions. One thing I want to ask is what is, for a
normal person, what’s something that they can control and would allow them a better
quality of life if they learned to control it? VS Ramachandran: The best answer to that is
creativity. Creativity, metaphor, poetry, and all of that. Tom Bilyeu: What do you think they could do
to practice that? VS Ramachandran: Well at the risk of sounding
frivolous, expose themselves to a lot of poetry, write a lot of poetry even if it’s bad stuff,
copy it maybe if you need to, change it, alter it, eventually write your own poetry. Write your own jokes if you can, and hang
around people who have a poetic mind and people who are passionate about what they do, who
think of life as a grand adventure. Hand around poets. It’s cliché, but that’s the key. Tom Bilyeu: It is cliché. VS Ramachandran: But in terms of actually
using the brain and tampering with it, we’re not there yet. That can be done maybe 100 years, 200 years
from now, but not any time soon. Tom Bilyeu: Well it’s bringing it a little
bit sooner. I know that your mirror box came from VR. You saw VR and thought, “Well I can’t afford
that,” because it was like 10 or 15 years ago, right? VS Ramachandran: It didn’t actually come from
VR, but the idea came from when I looked at this patient with the cup and then saying,
“Ouch.” It taught me the powerful role of vision and
modulating the pain, so if vision can cause pain, it can also maybe reduce pain. Let me find a way of correcting this. Then I saw a mirror somewhere in the basement,
and it must’ve clicked, because I’ve seen them in museums before. Virtual reality came later, because people
said you cannot use the mirror if you have two hands both amputated. Then they said you can start using virtual
reality to treat this, and based on the mirror box principle, instead using virtual reality. But you’re right, in terms of my initial thought
when I saw this patient doing this, and I said, “I need to give him visual feedback
from the hand to eliminate pain.” Not this patient, another patient. I need to give him visual feedback that the
hand is moving. That might eliminate the pain. The first thing I thought of was virtual reality. I said I could maybe get this constructed,
and then I realized it’s horrendously expensive, and then hit on using the museum mirror, yeah. Tom Bilyeu: Yeah, what do you think about
the coming VR revolution? Do you think that it’s going to be usable? VS Ramachandran: Absolutely, yeah. I think that you can develop virtual reality
tricks for things like anorexia nervosa is something we’ve been thinking about. Tom Bilyeu: That’s interesting. VS Ramachandran: When a patient looks at a
mirror image and then says, “She’s obese, she’s fat.” Here’s a skinny person looking at a massively
skinny reflection, their visual perception is being distorted. Now can you somehow change that by giving
them false feedback, or something like that by creating a virtual reality image of themselves,
then manipulate the image and give the brain some version of themselves which makes them
motivated to start eating again. It’s primarily a disorder not of feeding. People think of anorexia as a loss of appetite,
not true. Often, their appetite is good. It’s a body image issue. They think of themselves as fat and bloated,
and they need to lose weight, to keep losing weight, and sometimes it can be fatal in rare,
rare cases. It’s a serious disorder. We’ve been thinking about using virtual reality
for that. We’ve been thinking about it for things like
OCD. Another use of mirror neurons by the way is
my mirror neuron fires when you reach and grab that glass. My region grabs that glass and fires. We’re only talking about mirror neurons. In OCD, obsessive compulsive disorder, let’s
say I’m the patient. I have this constant compulsion to go wash
my hand like Lady Macbeth, and I touch a piece of wood, or touch a table, or I touch a bathroom
door knob. I will immediately go and scrub my hand until
it’s red, and inflamed, and skin’s peeling off for 20 minutes. Every hour I have to go back to the bathroom
because I touched something. This is extraordinarily distressing for the
patient in addition to the skin discoloration. We said, “Okay, when you get the urge to go
and …” was his hand and keep rubbing his hand. Why don’t you watch an app of somebody else
washing their hand? Maybe it’ll get to the very back in the neurons. A very simple idea. We tried this, Baland Jalal and I. We tried this. We don’t have experience in OCD, because there’s
a whole field devoted to that which they’ve been studying for years, but we just said
as an amateur, let’s just try it for fun. In three out of six patients, we found that
the patients- … The pain of OCD traits, not full-blown OCD. They said, “My urge goes away. I don’t need to go wash my hands anymore,”
by simply watching another guy- … Think about this. The patient said, “I didn’t even expect this. If I see somebody washing, I should get more
of an urge because it’s frustrating. He’s washing his hands. I’m not able to. But the opposite happens. I watch him wash his hand, relieves the urge
to wash my hand, and I don’t understand it.” Then we explain to them the mirror neuron
principle. Another example of tapping into mirror neuron’s
abilities to sure a seemingly incurable disease, but this is the early days. We’ve seen it only in about a couple of patients,
and we’re doing rigorous tests to establish it, but I just wanted to add that. Tom Bilyeu: Yeah, very interesting. Now in a time where people think all the sort
of easy, simple discoveries are already done, and now the only thing that’s gonna work is
really expensive lab equip, how have you been so successful in finding so many new discoveries? What’s that secret that other people seem
to be missing? VS Ramachandran: It’s a tough question to
answer. This is just a misconception. People think that the more difficult the problem,
the more difficult it is to solve. The more fundamental a problem, the more important
a problem is, the more difficult it is to solve, but there is no correlation. Sometimes there’s a simple solution staring
at you in the face, and you’re just missing it. To give you a classic example, Newton showed
that white light is made of seven colors. Everybody knows that, every school boy knows
that. Put a prism, have white light going through
this from a slide projector or whatever they’re using at that time, lo and behold you get
a rainbow. Newton said white light is made up of seven
wavelengths of different colors. They said, “Bologna!” There are about 20 critics of this that said
this is impurities in the glass that’s splitting the white color into a spectrum. Newton’s supporters said, “That’s nonsense. Newton can’t be wrong. Let’s get it right, so let’s polish the prism,
purify the glass.” Again, seven colors. The critics said, “You’ve not purified it
enough.” They went on and on and on, 15 years, 20 years,
no matter how much you purify, they’re going to always say there’s an impurity. Newton looked at the debate and he said, “It
takes 10 minutes to show this if they are right or wrong. Why do they keep attempting purifying the
glass? It’s not going to get them anywhere.” He took a second prism, put it upside down
in front of the seven colors, collected them, it became white again. If it’s impurities in the glass, it should
be more colorful. How come it’s becoming white again? So I’m right. These people spending 20 years grinding the
glass and removing impurities, they may not have done that. So the simple solution is staring at you in
the face, and you just miss it. Even today, hundreds of discoveries are waiting
to be made without high tech. The classic example is the cure for ulcers. I don’t know if you- …
Tom Bilyeu: H. Pylori, yeah. VS Ramachandran: This is the classic example
of people thinking that ulcers are caused by stress, and acid in your stomach, and give
them antacids, or do antrectomy, remove the stomach. People used to that when I was a medical student. Tom Bilyeu: Wow. VS Ramachandran: Now you don’t have to do
an antrectomy, or vagotomy, or any of that, the long prolonged diets, milk diets, and
no spicy food, and all that. You just give them an antibiotic. It turns out this young resident looked at
the stomach slices of biopsies, and found that it started with bacteria. His professor said, “That’s a secondary infection
from bacterial flora in the stomach going in and infecting the ulcer.” [Duggan 00:38:14] asked a simple question
that nobody else asked. What was that? He said, “How do you know?” I think, “How do you know,” is a fundamental
question in science. Every kid should ask his professor when his
professor says something, “How the hell do you know it’s a secondary infection? Maybe the bacteria is causing the ulcer.” The professor said, “That’s not what my professor
told me. It’s a secondary infection.” He said, “How do you know it’s a secondary
infection?” Then he gave people antibiotics to remove
the so-called secondary infection, and the ulcer went away. Then he correlated the distribution of ulcers
in the population with the distribution of helicobacter, a perfect correlation. Even then people didn’t believe him. He got laughed off the stage when he presented
this. He took the final step of swallowing the helicobacter. I don’t know if you know this. Tom Bilyeu: Yeah, that’s crazy. VS Ramachandran: He did an endoscopy, and
his lining was studded with ulcers. Then finally they believed him. This was about 15, 20 years ago. Then, even then, for 10 years, 15 years they
didn’t adopt this remedy of swallowing an antibiotic. Tom Bilyeu: Wow. VS Ramachandran: They said, “No, no. It has nothing to do with antibiotics.” The average physician, gastroenterologists,
would still prescribe the standard regiment of diet, and vagotomy, and some rare cases
antrectomy, not antibiotics. The antibiotics, about five years ago, people
started using it widely. Took a course, and got a Nobel Prize for that. Tom Bilyeu: There’s a great quote. I think it’s by Max Plank where he says people
have this illusion that when a new piece of information comes out, the people recognize
the faults in their old views, and adopt the new view, and march forward. He says what really happens is people begin
to die off, and the new people are just raised on the new truth, and then ultimately it becomes
accepted. VS Ramachandran: I won’t say I’m waiting for
my colleagues to die. Tom Bilyeu: That’s nice, yeah. That’s hilarious. Yeah, I can’t believe that people are that
stubborn, but people really cling to old beliefs. I love that H. Pylori story, that he was willing
to put it to the ultimate test, that he was so convinced that he was right that he would
go to the lengths of swallowing H. Pylori, which is crazy. VS Ramachandran: The beauty of it is it could’ve
been discovered 100 years ago. Tom Bilyeu: Why? VS Ramachandran: Anybody could’ve done this. The antibiotics- …
Tom Bilyeu: Just asked that question. VS Ramachandran: Or 50 years ago. Anybody who had access to antibiotics could’ve
said, “Let me just try it.” Tom Bilyeu: Yes, finally. Do you meditate? VS Ramachandran: No, I’m ashamed to say. I’m from India, and people always ask me that. I want to, and I will soon, but I haven’t
attempted to yet. Tom Bilyeu: For me, what I need is to be able
to picture the anatomy of it. Once I understand what I’m really doing is
tapping into the parasympathetic nervous system, I’m slowing my heart rate down, I’m slowing
my breathing down … in essence, regaining control of certain things. I am now consciously controlling my breathing. VS Ramachandran: That’s very interesting. You’re saying that your ability to consciously
control these things and be aware of what’s going on, helped you tremendously, right? Tom Bilyeu: Tremendously. VS Ramachandran: That is very interesting,
because in phantom pain patients, what they’ll say is you’ve helped me eliminate the pain,
but more than anything else you’ve told me that phantom is not a figment of my imagination. It’s a construct in my brain, in the body
image center, so it’s real. I’m not going crazy, and you can put something
as simple as a mirror and eliminate it for a while. Tom Bilyeu: Rama, I really think it’s a big
deal, and when you were saying that people- … Because I promise you people saw their
girlfriend rubbing their phantom hand 1,000 times and it didn’t give them any relief because
the belief they had about it was something totally different, so how could it have that
impact? VS Ramachandran: You don’t notice it. You see but you do not observe, as Sherlock
Holmes told Watson. Many patients have said, “I notice when I’m
shaving I feel something in my phantom, but I told my doctor and he said, “It’s all your
mind. Don’t worry about it.” They all have observed it, but they ignore
it, but your mind is tuned to it, so you notice it more or you observe it more. You see its significance [crosstalk 00:41:50]. Tom Bilyeu: I think that that has significance
with the placebo effect. I struggle with the placebo effect because
I think it’s super powerful, and I bet it is really effective, but I worry that if I
know I’m trying to trigger the placebo effect, that it won’t work. VS Ramachandran: Oddly enough, there’s an
experiment showing it does. Tom Bilyeu: Even if I think it’s- …
VS Ramachandran: Even if you show somebody that something’s a placebo … You tell them,
“This is a placebo,” the placebo works almost to the same extent. Tom Bilyeu: That’s crazy. VS Ramachandran: Which is very interesting
because if you take a drug like Prozac, it’s 70% effective, compared to a placebo which
is 50% effective. The difference is a marginal difference, but
quite small. Why not give a guy for depression, “Here’s
a placebo,” if you know placebos work even if you know they’re placebos. Start them on a trial of that, and then if
that doesn’t work … These are very cheap, the placebos. If it doesn’t work, let’s switch you to the
real Prozac. Tom Bilyeu: That is amazing. That’s amazing! Wow, I’m really surprised that the numbers
are that high. On that line, what is the impact that you
want to have on the world? VS Ramachandran: Two fold. One is to, whether accidentally or purposefully
make discoveries which help alleviate pain and mental anguish. We’ve succeeded, as far as pain is concerned,
to a tremendous extent. There’s nothing more satisfying than a patient
who had been in pain for years or months, excruciating pain, coming to you and then
going away with some experimental procedure, and a week later he says it’s all gone. Every now and then this happens, and it makes
the whole enterprise worthwhile. The awards and honors are, of course, an ego
trip and it’s fun to have, but the main reward is the alleviation of pain. The second thing is we are curious about the
higher functions of the mind, like you are. What is creativity? What is humor? What is poetry that moves you to tears? What’s great literature? All of this, it’s all enshrined in the neuralogics
of the brain. We want to understand the basic elementary
aspects of brain function like how you see a cup, or how you see a table, or how you
feel warmth. Once you have done that, you also want to
get to the big questions, like how do you consider body image? What are Freudian defense mechanisms? If you gain a deeper understand of them, can
you avoid self-deception and be more authentic to yourself? It is always a good idea to avoid self-deception. Maybe it’s healthy in small doses. That’s my overall agenda to understand human
nature, to understand enigmatic aspects of our minds like creativity, and metaphor, and
how you construct a calendar in your mind, and you have a sense of time and place. You’re anchored here and now. Right now I’m here in the studio being interviewed
by you, and then a few hours later I’m gonna be in LA again, back in my hotel, waiting
for my new bride. Then I’m gonna go home, and then a month later
I might be going to India. I’ve got this sense of a calendar. Where is it in my brain? What parts of the brain are involved? So questions of that nature. There’s no clinical utility or practical application,
but eventually they might because the enrich your understanding of who you are. That’s one of your goals, and then once you
understand who you are, then you can harness this knowledge towards practical utility. We’re really excited about all these new inventions
and new ideas, and it’s important also not to get carried away by them. Some of them have been repeated by many scholars,
many groups throughout the world, and are implemented widely in clinics. Some of the other discoveries are still in
the early stages. We’ve barely scratched the surface of the
problem, like the calendar in the brain. Another example would be to use the mirror
for stroke. Some of this work is very recent, and we need
to add the qualifying remark that it needs to be replicated by colleagues in double-blind
clinical trials before they can be accepted for routine treatment of patients. Some things also, some of our basic discoveries
on calendars, or any valid discoveries I mentioned, mirror neurons, some of them are rock solid,
accepted widely. Others are still in the test phase. Tom Bilyeu: I love though that you do bring
thing up even when they’re early just to spark creativity and give things to think about. VS Ramachandran: Certainly, so long as you
make it clear which findings … This is the key whether it’s a book, or a lecture, or
an interview, it’s your job, not the audience’s job, to spell out which part is rock solid,
clear, has been established by colleagues and by yourself by repeating the experiment,
and which part you’re skating on thin ice. I always tell my colleagues to make this clear
too when they’re giving lectures. Tom Bilyeu: It makes sense. Where can they find you online? VS Ramachandran: They go onto my webpage on
UCSD. CBC, Center for Brain and Cognition, UCSD,
and they’ll find a list of references to mirror visual feedback and the various treatments
that are offered, and my current book Tell-Tale Brain. If you go to the Charlie Rose show where I’m
interviewed, so interviews like you, you can view Charlie Rose’s interview, TED Talks,
that gives you an overview. Tom Bilyeu: All great talks, I promise you. I’ve seen them all. They’re amazing. Watch each and every one of them. Rama, thank you so much for coming on the
show and sharing with us. VS Ramachandran: Thank you also. Tom Bilyeu: That was amazing. Guys, never before have I recommended somebody
as aggressively as I’m going to recommend that you dive in to V.S. Ramachandran. Nobody has had a bigger impact on my life
and my understand of my own brain, and my ability to get a hold of it, and he is so
entertaining! You’ve got to read his book. In fact, I will tell you that one of the alternate
titles for Phantoms in the Brain was gonna brain was going to be The Man Who Mistook
His Foot for a Penis, so there’s all kinds of just amazing, hilarious, unbelievable,
and always true stories. Go and check his books out. What you’re going to get out of it is not
only an amazing appreciation for the mind, the ability to then conceptualize it, and
through conceptualizing it, be able to actually grab a hold of it and do things in your own
life, to begin to truly reshape and rewire your brain in the way that you’re going to
need to in order to be successful. You will find endless applications for the
things that he talks about. It is really, really incredible stuff, and
the one thing that I hope that you heard him say today, which really struck me, and it
was not something that I was expecting to hear, which is if he was going to give you
any advice to empower yourself, it would be to study creativity, to surround yourself
with creative people, to dig into poetry. When you understand the entire umwelt of his
world and all of the things that he gets into, you will understand why that is the most beautiful
advice that he could ever give you is to really leverage those pounds of jelly between your
ears to have a more beautiful experience. That’s so fucking cool. I love it. Rama, I cannot thank you enough again for
coming onto the show. VS Ramachandran: Thank you very much. Tom Bilyeu: That was amazing. Guys, if you haven’t already, be sure to subscribe. You can find me at @TomBilyeu, and you can
find this amazing team and everything that we’re up to at @ImpactTheory. We are all over the web, so find us everywhere
including Medium, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, all of it. We’re putting out content that we think will
make your life better, and allow you to be successful in the way that you want. And at the very core of this company is a
desire to help you build the company that you want. If you want to get in, if you want advice,
we offer that as well, so hit us up. Let us know how we can help. Let us do something amazing together. Guys, it’s a weekly show, so be sure to subscribe,
and until next time my friends, be legendary. Take care. Rama man, thank you so much. That was amazing. Hey everybody, thanks so much for joining
us for another episode of Impact Theory. If this content is adding value to your life,
our one ask is that you go to iTunes and Stitcher and rate and review. Not only does that help us build this community,
which at the end of the day is all we care about, but it also helps us get even more
amazing guests on here to share their knowledge with all of us. Thank you guys so much for being a part of
this community, and until next time, be legendary my friends. How did we do? If you rate this transcript 3 or below, this
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54 comments on “Building Your Brain for Success with Legendary Neuroscientist V.S. Ramachandran | Impact Theory

  1. Greighton Hernandez Post author

    Why do they keep showing the same cute blonde from the audience? I think Mr. Cameraman has a crush!!!

    Reply
  2. Sami Post author

    About the two languages in the different hemispheres of the brain. I have no formal education on the field, only the books and lectures that I've digged from library and internet and the metaphoric concepts that I have come up with in the years past. But My two cents on the languages is this: There is the logical left side of the brain that is the sharp knife, as in intellect. The thing that "sees" and doesn't feel, the thing that makes the rational choices based on hard cold calculations of whatever input it gets. And then there is the right side, the soft feminine side of the brain. The side that feels, and immerses itself in life and and death, up and down and all the between. Now this part of the brain is "blind". Its "input" comes from different places. Places unseen and unknown to human mind. Now with these concepts, I would like to propose an idea of a couple. Where the left side is the masculine man who makes the hard cold decisions based on as written above.
    And the tissue in the middle, that is them holding hands. Can you see the picture? The left side holds the hand of the right, feminine side, and guides it through the outer world. With the rational calculations on sensory input it knows what is safe and how to maneuver in the outer world. Feminine side, the right brain, the woman of this extraordinary relationship. It is "blind" and trusts her husband 100% and the trust goes both ways, as the right brain, in pristine understanding of feelings and emotions, of inner bliss and intuition, gives guidance to her husband in times where there is more than meets the eye. When the outer input is not enough, and when there is a need for inner guidance.

    Now to have your whole mind, body, and spirit to execute perfectly on your endeavors, this couple has to have a respectful balance, trust, understanding. They have to love each other unconditionally. They have to be mindful of the others faults and strenghts, and through that little link of holding hands, communicate with each other to survive AND thrive in this plane of existence, as one.

    I hope my quick explanation sheds light on the age old saying of; "Love thyself, and the world shall know peace."

    Best regards from Finland to Impact Theory, thank you for doing what you are doing, truly, as Alex Banayan said "You are illuminating branches."

    Reply
  3. Bill Bryant Post author

    I love your interviews Tom. You shouldn’t feel guilty about saying “manipulating your brain” our brains are manipulated from day one. You are your interviews are helping us to re- manipulate it back in our favor. Thank you

    Reply
  4. Kitten Katt Post author

    Prager University, go away. Left and Right, go away. Liberals and conservatives, go away. This game of good and bad, right and wrong, fingerpointing and blaming is just so tired and played out. Let's wake up and move on now.

    Reply
  5. Kitten Katt Post author

    The discussion about using the mirror to trick the brain was fascinating. I wonder if it can be used to help stroke victims restore movement to a paralyzed side. Around 20:00

    Reply
  6. RJ Post author

    I have been binge watching all these shows the past 3-4 days and couldn’t thank you enough shows are amazing appreciate your mission. Just wondering how to be there in the live audience.

    Reply
  7. Fatima K Post author

    Hello! Could you add also the links for the guests?? By the way, this is such a great "summary" of the possibilities of the brain… I have to Watch it again because I did not understand everything!!!

    Reply
  8. MadChris FPV Post author

    Amazing episode like always! [email protected] 22 minutes, about wrong feedback, i experienced that same thing when flying behind myself, slowly following me with my non stabilized fpv racedrone (i see everything from the drones perspective with closed video goggles) while walking just as a some fun thing to try. I had to conciously "steer" myself left and right. it was the most weirdest most exciting out of body like experience i ever had. My drone became not only my first person view but also my first (and a half?) person motorskills, and my body became second person motorskills.

    Reply
  9. Gurawa Anju Post author

    Tom you re great I listen all your programmes
    You are changing peoples life
    I listen you ten time a day

    Reply
  10. Roger Syversen Post author

    fascinating point about humor. my problem is that I can never find a female partner that is funny so I have a hard time feeling any emotional connection and my relationships never last.

    Reply
  11. Ahmad Sanad Post author

    Thank you Tom for the effort, I hope it will continue as best as it gets, but a personal opinion that , this conversation makes me feel like giving my opinions about cosmos and big bang theory to cosmologist , knowing the solar system is just the very tiny beginning of the huge universe, if I were in such position, I would tried to dig to his this genius mind as much as it gets , don't get me wrong , you are doing great and all, but I felt I had to say this ,

    thank you for this video and all other videos.

    Regards

    Reply
  12. Austin - Post author

    Iv been binge watching/listening to your videos and podcasts the last week and I have to say this might be my favorite. Thank you for putting out such great content man it's inspiring.

    Reply
  13. Garret Brent Post author

    I didn't find this the best episode, though it wasn't terrible. I felt tension in Tom, like he was trying too hard to steer the conversation towards an outcome he wanted for this episode – actionable insight, it would seem. What this lead to was an imbalance in him talking about his own experiences and about his own knowledge, rather than asking the right questions or framing the same questions differently. He could have achieved actionable insight by working more subtly with his speaker, rather than taking over the conversation.

    Reply
  14. Aaron Gavronsky Post author

    Tom! I love you to DEATH. But when a Master Neurologist comes on your show you must let him articulate his work!

    Reply
  15. melovinci Post author

    Tom, have you ever heard of Thomas Campbell, authour of My Big T.O.E.?
    It's the theory of Everything that Einstein spent his last decades working to discover.
    I'm the only one I know that has read the 808 page trilogy, which answers most if not all of the questions people keep asking about Consciousness, basically. All the talk of brain and mind is secondary to Consciousness, which is Fundamental.

    Reply
  16. marciellebrandler Post author

    I have been a published poet since the seventies, and poetry is accessed in a meditative state of the pineal gland, which the is same place we access in meditation.

    Reply
  17. Ben Nguyen Post author

    Enjoyed the RSD part.. and also the talk on how Synesthesia may be caused by a lack of pruning in the areas of the brain where numbers and color are processed!

    Regarding the 22m mark on how small changes in feedback can prevent the brain from operation, 'Speech Jammer' is another great example how just hearing your voice, delayed by a second, will totally confuse the brain from speaking! Destin's backward bicycle (Smarter Every Day) is also interesting in that it shows the difficulty to un-learn behavior when you expect certain feedback.

    Reply
  18. chescarino Post author

    in relation to the obsessive compulsive conversation: i wonder if you filmed the patient washing his / her hands and they watched that back, would be slightly more effective?

    Reply
  19. Diane Dicosola Post author

    It’s interesting but to have someone not a scientist ask certain questions is embarrassing..

    Reply
  20. KtBaBy Post author

    Even tho we know we can manipulate our brains, some of this content is still practically life changing for me… Thank you sooooo much guys!!!

    Reply
  21. secretchordstudio Post author

    I mean that interviewer looks funny already no need for practice haha…essence here is poetry, my life without is not possible, christopher hitchens had enormous verbal style, he said he didnt have the knack for fiction, but neverthless his person is a poetic revelation. So Ramachandran is point on with poetic blindness but it doesnt make the blind unable to see

    Reply
  22. E C Post author

    Tom's questions and inputs are so insightful. Since I love his creative mind in drawing from readings and intuitive insights, I appreciate all his interjections of person experience and putting concepts in context in an approachable and conversational style. The comments the criticize his approach is absurd. This is his style and his show, which some people really enjoy and love.

    I must also say Dr. Ramachandran was also fascinated with the practical applications that Tom is honing in on with razer focus.

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  23. DARIO KOVAČIĆ Post author

    love I Q but the this neverending I am, I am,I am is too much.We are here becauce we want to listen the guest,not Tom.

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