Saturday, March 02, 2013

TED Radio Hour - The Unquiet Mind (NPR)


The second season of TED Radio Hour’s is here, hosted by NPR’s Guy Raz. The first episode is “The Unquiet Mind,” a cool collection of stories that offers new perspectives on thinking. Here is a brief summary of the show from the TED Blog.
We’ve all had that moment when you see or hear something and wonder: am I going crazy? In this episode, TED speakers share their experiences straddling the line between madness and sanity. Neurologist Oliver Sacks explains a peculiar condition called Charles Bonnet syndrome — when people of sound mind experience lucid hallucinations. Law professor Elyn Saks shares stories about her schizophrenic episodes and how she was able to rise above her grave diagnosis. Plus, author Jon Ronson goes psychopath spotting, and wonders who among us is truly completely sane. 
Check your local NPR schedule to find out when the show premieres today. Or head to iTunes where the podcast is available now »
Enjoy!

The Unquiet Mind
"People need depth, and depth means the possibility of unhappiness and frustration and sometimes torment — though hopefully not madness." — Oliver Sacks
We've all had that moment. The moment where you might see or hear something and you wonder: Am I going crazy? In this hour, TED speakers share their experiences straddling that line between madness and sanity — and question if we're all in the gray area between the two.

Listen to the Full Episode

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What Do Hallucinations Reveal About Our Minds?
12:29

by NPR/TED Staff
About Oliver Sacks' TEDTalk
Neurologist and author Oliver Sacks brings our attention to Charles Bonnet syndrome — in which visually impaired people experience lucid hallucinations. He describes the experiences of his patients in heartwarming detail, and walks us through the biology of this underreported phenomenon.
 
About Oliver Sacks 
Neurologist and author Oliver Sacks brings our attention to Charles Bonnet syndrome — in which visually impaired people experience lucid hallucinations. He describes the experiences of his patients in heartwarming detail, and walks us through the biology of this underreported phenomenon. 
Since Awakenings first stormed the best-seller lists (and the silver screen), Oliver Sacks has become an unlikely household name, single-handedly inventing the genre of neurological anthropology.Sacks is a groundbreaking neurologist — and a gifted storyteller — who has enriched our knowledge of the infinite variations of human psychology. After his pioneering work with "sleepy sickness" patients (who were, in fact, survivors of an early 20th century pandemic), Sacks went on to study the connections between music and the brain, as well as disorders such as Tourette's syndrome, Parkinson's disease and many other little-understood disorders that often count Sacks as one of their first chroniclers. 
Sacks is well known as a writer of such best-selling case histories as The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, An Anthropologist on Mars, and his memoir of his early work, Awakenings, all of which have breathed new life into the dusty 19th century tradition of the clinical anecdote. Sacks' writing, compassion and wide-ranging knowledge catapult the genre into the 21st century and bring the far frontiers of neurological experience into the view of millions of readers worldwide. His latest book is Hallucinations. He maintains a small practice in New York City.
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What's It Like To Have A Psychotic Episode?
13:22

by NPR/TED Staff
About Elyn Saks' TED Talk
"Is it OK if I totally trash your office?" It's a question Elyn Saks once asked her doctor, and it wasn't a joke. A legal scholar, Saks came forward in 2007 with her own story of schizophrenia, controlled by drugs and therapy but ever-present. In this powerful talk, she asks us to see people with mental illness clearly, honestly and compassionately. 
About Elyn Saks
Saks asks bold questions about how society treats people with mental illness. As a mental health law scholar and writer, she speaks for the rights of mentally ill people. It's a gray area: Too often, society's first impulse is to make decisions on their behalf. But it's a slippery slope from in loco parentis to a denial of basic human rights. Saks has brilliantly argued for more autonomy — and in many cases, for a restoration of basic human dignity. 
In 2007, deep into her career, she dropped a bombshell — her autobiography, The Center Cannot Hold. In it, she reveals the depth of her own schizophrenia, now controlled by drugs and therapy. Clear-eyed and honest about her own condition, the book lent her new ammunition in the quest to protect the rights and dignity of the mentally ill.
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Where Do Mental Illness And Creativity Meet?
4:57

by NPR/TED Staff
About Joshua Walters' TED Talk
Comedian Joshua Walters, who's bipolar, walks the line between mental illness and mental "skillness." He asks: What's the right balance between medicating craziness away, and riding the manic edge of creativity and drive? 
About Joshua Walters
Walters is a comedian, poet, educator and performer, whose work explores language, creativity, beatboxing and madness. He incorporates elements of spoken word and beatbox into his shows in a mashup of comedy, intimate reflection and unpredictable antics. In the past two years, Walters has performed in theaters and universities throughout North America, Europe and the Middle East. His eclectic combination of performance disciplines and his activity as an educator in mental health have given him a national platform and audience. In 2002, he co-founded the Depression Bipolar Support Alliance Young Adults chapter in San Francisco, one of the few support groups in the country that's specifically for mentally ill young adults. As a facilitator, Walters developed humor to address the subject of mental illness, reframing it as a positive. Walters speaks as a mental health educator, and has engaged in mental health advocacy at conventions and in classrooms nationwide.
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Are We All A Little Psychopathic?
18:18

by NPR/TED Staff
About Jon Ronson's Talk
Is there a definitive line that divides "crazy" from sane? With a hair-raising delivery, Jon Ronson, author of The Psychopath Test, illuminates the gray areas between the two. His talk includes live-mixed sound by Julian Treasure and animation by Evan Grant. 
About Jon Ronson
Ronson is a writer and documentary filmmaker who dips into every flavor of madness, extremism and obsession. In his latest book, The Psychopath Test, he explores the unnerving world of psychopaths — a group that includes both incarcerated killers and, one of his subjects insists, plenty of CEOs. In his books, films and articles, Ronson explores madness and obsession of all kinds, from the U.S. military's experiments in psychic warfare to the obscene and hate-filled yet Christian rap of the Insane Clown Posse. He wrote a column for The Guardianand hosted an essay program on Radio 4, and contributes to This American Life.
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