Good work by Dr. De Gelder and a brilliantly illuminating article reminding us (or convincing the doubters) that the brain is a far more mysterious organ than mainstream medical science leads us to believe. As a stroke suvivor myself (brain haemorrhage twenty years ago left me paralyzed on the left side — since then, confounding the doctors prognosis of a six month ‘surge of recovery’ then little progress, I have recovered gradually and am still improving,) I have experience and witnessed many things that are dismissed as impossible.
I never saw a stroke specialist, it seems my case was written off as hopeless, but one doctor who was treating me for the endocrine condition that was the root of my problem, in a rather off — topic conversation because the extent of my recovery interested him, conceded that “we are discovering the mind and the brain are two very different things.” I would agree with that wholeheartedly, with around a third of my brain drowned in leaked blood, I found once the pressure inside the skull eased, memory, vocabulary and cognitive skills were intact. Mobility has been slow to return but I think the outcome is preferable for me.
So the question is, if science presumes humans are just biological machines, how is it that a lot of people affected by brain damage similar to mine (i.e. of similar extent and in the same regions of the brain) have a similar outcomes and receive to be mentally fully functioning, while others who brain injury is far less severe end up as basket cases. Why, for example, while I was in hospital, did a woman from Northern England who had never visited The Caribbean and had no African ancestors recover from a coma and start speaking in Jamaican patois. Why did a man who had never learned a foreign language wake up after being sedated and start speaking fluent Italian. These cases are documented.
The sense of danger is well known among soldiers, hunters, explorers and others whose lives involve putting themselves at risk of harm. And there are many well — authenticated stories of animals showing behaviour that could not be prompted by the conscious senses. Why stop at sixth sense, could there not be a seventh and eighth sense and even more?
It is an area into which a lot of research could usefully be done but beyond Rupert Sheldrake’s theories on morphic fields but anybody working in biological research who shows an interest in these very interesting theories is usually dissuaded from pursuing it by a chorus of ridicule. Dr De Gelder’s findings suggest that ridicule is misplaced.