Professor Arne Dietrich is the foremost reason I want to dedicate my life to Neuroscience. I have taken almost every course he gives at the American University of Beirut and he has been the source of inspiration and insight for many of my Biology and Neuroscience posts on this blog.
I took Cognitive Neuroscience with Arne when my questions about our existence and life’s purpose and the presence of a higher being where at their peak. You could say I was at the cliff’s edge, but Arne’s deep insight on the brain based on empirical evidence combined with his eloquent and somewhat irreverent method of delivering it pushed me way over that cliff.
Life made sense, became understandable, and when it didn’t, you at least had some sense on how you’re going to make it understandable with time and research. Mysticism and faith might seem fascinating, but what’s truly magical is how the brain develops and functions, how nature is so much more beautiful, interesting and unbelievable than putting your paws up and worshiping some divine being.
This 17-minute talk does not do justice to the wealth of knowledge and experience this man has. It does coax you though into rethinking several concepts you hold true about the brain, such as the stupid “we use 10% of our brain” myth and what consciousness and altered states of consciousness really are. If you broaden your horizons a bit more, you might also agree that the gods you believe in are, as Arne puts it, “pixies”
The reactions from the crowd says it all, and Arne’s statements got standing ovations and cheers by die-hard subscribers to the theories he supports (such as myself, who went straight from the airport to TEDxBeirut, ran down to the stage to say hello to Arne before even saying hello to my beloved Lori =P)
So, I really, really, really encourage you to watch the video above, and be sure I will be expanding on the topics Arne skimmed through in those 15 or so minutes.