James Doty

dotySince the start of civilization, the source of human intelligence and consciousness has been a mystery. … While much was learned about brain anatomy and function, our understanding remained very limited. In fact, through most of the twentieth century, it was believed that the brain was fixed, immutable, and static. Today, we know that the brain has great plasticity and can change, adapt, and transform. It is molded by experience, repetition, and intention. It is only because of the extraordinary technological advances over the last few decades that we can see the brain’s ability to transform on a cellular, genetic, and even molecular level. Extraordinarily, as I learned, each of us has the ability to change the very circuitry of our brain.

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5 Responses to James Doty

  1. shinichi says:

    Into the Magic Shop: A Neurosurgeon’s Quest to Discover the Mysteries of the Brain and the Secrets of the Heart

    by James R. Doty

    Extraordinary things happen when we harness the power of both the brain and the heart

    Growing up in the high desert of California, Jim Doty was poor, with an alcoholic father and a mother chronically depressed and paralyzed by a stroke. Today he is the director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE) at Stanford University, of which the Dalai Lama is a founding benefactor. But back then his life was at a dead end until at twelve he wandered into a magic shop looking for a plastic thumb. Instead he met Ruth, a woman who taught him a series of exercises to ease his own suffering and manifest his greatest desires. Her final mandate was that he keep his heart open and teach these techniques to others. She gave him his first glimpse of the unique relationship between the brain and the heart.

    Doty would go on to put Ruth’s practices to work with extraordinary results—power and wealth that he could only imagine as a twelve-year-old, riding his orange Sting-Ray bike. But he neglects Ruth’s most important lesson, to keep his heart open, with disastrous results—until he has the opportunity to make a spectacular charitable contribution that will virtually ruin him. Part memoir, part science, part inspiration, and part practical instruction, Into the Magic Shop shows us how we can fundamentally change our lives by first changing our brains and our hearts.

  2. shinichi says:

    LIFE IS OUR OYSTER
    How Your Brain Affects Your Life

    by Ramandeep Singh

    Quora

    https://bethefirstpenguin.quora.com/How-Your-Brain-Affects-Your-Life

    I have read a good number of books but when a top neurosurgeon opens his heart to talk about his own difficult childhood that provides recipes for loneliness, fear, rage and shame, you know you are in for a deeply moving and insightful journey into the suffering and fragility of the human mind.

    James R. Doty, the author of Into The Magic Shop, has written a part memoir and part scientific exploration of human brain and the importance of compassion.

    ​The book starts with a story about how Jim (author) met a woman named Ruth in a magic shop and little did he know that his life was about to change from that very moment. Ruth eventually invited Jim to visit him some day to see the real magic in life, not what magicians do, but what our brain can do.

    Earlier Jim was skeptical about the whole thing. Jim had a family with a depressed mother and an alcoholic father. They were really poor. Since it was summer time, Jim didn’t really have anything more interesting to do and he went to meet Ruth, anyway. Jim described how unsure he was on the first day but Ruth had eyes which promised mystery and secrets and adventure.

    And a life changing experience happened to Jim.

    What’s so mysterious about the human brain?
    Ruth explained that the human brain had little value to the ancient Egyptians that it was routinely removed with a hook through the nasal cavity before mummification, and then discarded. In the fourth century B.C.E, Aristotle believed that the brain functioned primarily as a cooling mechanism for the blood, and this was why humans (with large brains) were more rational than the “hot-blooded” beasts. It took 5000 years for this view of brain’s insignificance to be reversed.

    In fact, through most of the twentieth century, it was believed that the brain was fixed, immutable, and static. Today, we know that the brain has great plasticity and can change, adapt, and transform. It is molded by experience, repetition, and intention. It is only because of the extraordinary technological advances over the last few decades that we can see the brain’s ability to transform on a cellular, genetic, and even molecular level.

    Ruth’s lessons started with a promise that Jim had to teach someone else what she was about to teach him in summer. And he will get that person to promise that they will teach someone else. Jim had no idea what he was getting into. But he had nothing to lose. He went forward anyway.

    I won’t be telling you anything about the tricks that Ruth taught Jim. What I and Jim know is that it actually worked. Jim went on to study Medicine at UC Irvine and Medical School at Tulane University. Today, Jim is a Clinical Professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at Stanford University and the Director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University School of Medicine. He has spent 9 years on active duty service in the U.S. Army Medical Corp.

    Dr. Doty is also an inventor, entrepreneur and philanthropist having given support to a number of charitable organizations including Children as the Peacemakers, Global Healing, the Pachamama Alliance and Family & Children Services of Silicon Valley. These charities support a variety of programs throughout the world including those for HIV/AIDS support, blood banks, medical care in third world countries and peace initiatives.

    To this day, Jim is indebted in life for the day he met Ruth at the Magic Shop.

    The writing is so powerful. It will enable you to at least start thinking about how can you make an impact in this world and the importance of compassion and existence of magic in everyone’s heart. Extraordinarily, each of us as the ability to change the very circuitry of our brain.

    Ever so often you read a book that you can’t put down until you have read the very last word. Into the Magic Shop is such a book.

  3. shinichi says:

    Brain magic
    Stanford neuroscientist James Doty offers lessons on compassion in his new memoir

    by Gennady Sheyner / Palo Alto Weekly

    http://www.paloaltoonline.com/news/2016/02/25/brain-magic


    dotypic
     
    James Doty is the director of Stanford’s Center of Compassion and Altruism Research and Education. Photo by Veronica Weber.


    **

    Open your heart. Believe in yourself. You can have anything you want. Here’s how.

    The formula, so simple, sexy and seductive, has spawned an entire industry of inspiration — some rooted in religion (Norman Vincent Peale’s “Power of Positive Thinking”), some in spirituality (much of Deepak Chopra), and some in cold pragmatism (Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People”). Have faith in God and all will be well, says the megachurch pastor. “How about a side of mindfulness with your bowl of empathy?” asks the modern guru. Is it really possible that all you need is love, like the Beatles once said? Or should you throw some eating and praying into the mix, like Elizabeth Gilbert?

    James Doty, a professor of neurosurgery at Stanford University and director of the Center of Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, is a different sort of guide. Doty is the author of “Into the Magic Shop: A Neurosurgeon’s Quest to Discover the Mysteries of the Brain and the Secrets of the Heart,” a new memoir that offers a brain surgeon’s take on the road to enlightenment and that has won blurbs of praise from the Dalai Lama and Glenn Beck alike. The title of the book alludes to Doty’s life-changing encounter, as a 12-year-old boy, with a woman named Ruth who teaches him a different sort of magic the sort that ultimately helps him overcome obstacles and reach once-impossible goals. In his engaging book, Doty shares these lessons with the broader world and, in the process, offers insights into the effects of compassion on the human brain and the heart.

    Doty grew up in Lancaster, which in his decidedly non-nostalgic recollection is a sweltering, desolate place where he could always taste dust in his mouth and where summer feels like an “endless purgatory.” His immediate surroundings are hardly better. His family lives in an apartment complex surrounded by packed earth and tumbleweeds, near a barren landscape occasionally “interspersed with an abandoned car or a derelict piece of machinery.” His father, an alcoholic, is constantly fighting with his mother, who suffers from chronic depression. Money is in short supply. On some nights, young James goes to bed hungry. On some days, he is fending off bullies. On others, he is consumed by anxiety about the sheriff knocking on his door to inform the family that they are getting evicted — again. There are trips to the emergency room with his mother after another suicide attempt. There are teachers who don’t think he has a chance and don’t hesitate to tell him so.

    His life changes when he meets Ruth at a local magic shop, while shopping for a new fake thumb. Over six weeks that summer, she teaches him how to relax his body, tame his wandering mind, visualize his goals, practice unconditional love and — in the process — obtain the power to “get anything I wanted.” These lessons, he writes, transform his perception of himself and of the world and, over the coming decades, help him deal with domestic traumas, get into college, graduate from medical school and become a neurosurgeon, an investor and the founding director of the CCARE.

    Doty’s journey from a broken home to the top of his profession is far from straightforward. There are blunders, heartbreaks, financial hardships and a near-death experience along the way. But what separates his story from both the typical underdog tale and the typical self-help guide is his reflections on the human brain and heart. Unlike most spiritual gurus, Doty is an atheist. It’s not pseudoscience he is pushing but neuroscience — a subject that he navigates with the clear-eyed dexterity of an experienced brain surgeon. Ruth, in his story, does more than offer advice. She helps him “form new neural connections in my brain,” he writes. And though he didn’t know it at the time, his experience with Ruth was his “first experience with neuroplasticity, well before the term was commonly used.”

    “Today we know that the brain has great plasticity and can change, adapt and transform,” Doty writes. “It is molded by experience, repetition, and intention. It is only because of the extraordinary technological advances over the last few decades that we can see the brain’s ability to transform on a cellular, genetic, and even molecular level. Extraordinarily, as I learned, each of us has the ability to change the very circuitry of our brain.”

    It’s Doty’s interweaving the neurological with the personal that gives “Into the Magic Shop” its power and credibility. In another context, advice like “Open your heart” and “Believe in yourself” sounds facile — the stuff of fortune cookies, after-school specials and Hollywood parodies (recall “Annie Hall,” where Jeff Goldblum picks up the phone in the middle of a party and delivers his sole line, “I forgot my mantra.”). In Doty’s world, these words resonate because they are rooted in physiology. By teaching Doty to relax and focus, Ruth also incidentally trains him to regulate his vagus nerve (which connects the brain to the heart and other organs in the chest and lung area), control the pattern of his heart rhythms, create neural circuits and reduce stress levels. By teaching himself to be calmer and more compassionate, Doty the Character empowers his parasymphathic nervous system (which stimulates the rest-and-digest response) at the expense of his sympathetic nervous system (which stimulates the fight-and-flight response). This, says Doty the Physician, results in a stronger immune system, lower stress levels and lower blood pressure. By practicing the lessons from the magic shop (which can be found at intothemagicshop.com/exercises), he achieves goals that had once seemed elusive — college, medical school, a career as a neurosurgeon and a meeting with the Dalai Lama, who in 2008 hears about Doty’s research on compassion and offers him the largest donation he had ever given to any non-Tibetan cause.

    The lessons also help Doty in the operating room, as we learn in the book’s vivid first chapter, where we observe Doty operate on a 4-year-old boy with a brain tumor. A vein is ripped, the boy starts bleeding and is close to death. The only way to save him is to clamp a vein that Doty cannot see because it’s covered in blood. Doty calms his mind. He relaxes his body. He visualizes the retracted vessel he cannot see and calmly applies the clamp.

    Today, Doty writes, when he goes into an operating room he can “slow down my breathing, regulate my blood pressure, and keep my heart rate low.”

    “When I’m looking through a microscope and operating within the most delicate parts of the brain, my hands are steady and my body is relaxed because of what Ruth taught me in the magic shop,” he writes.

    Needless to say, you don’t have to be a neurosurgeon or a spiritual seeker to find value in Doty’s memoir. We get sad when we fall short of our goals; we get angry when a driver cuts us off on the road or when someone we love lets us down. Doty’s book is a reminder that we have the power to control the negative voices in our heads. It is also a reminder that empathy and compassion can help us overcome these feelings and, like any valuable gift, enrich the lives of both the giver and the recipient.

  4. shinichi says:

    There is an epidemic of loneliness, anxiety and depression in the world, particularly in the West. There is an impoverishment of spirit and of connection with one another. Studies show that 25 percent of Americans have no one that they feel close enough with to share a problem. This means that one out of every four people you see or meet today has no one to talk to, and this lack of connection is affecting their health. We are wired for social connection—we evolved to be cooperative and connected with one another—and when this is cut off, we get sick.

    孤独と不安とうつは、この世界に、とくに西洋に蔓延する病だ。気力と人とのつながりが、足りなくなっている。アメリカ人の25%は、問題を打ち明けられるような親しい人がいないという。つまり4人にひとりが話し相手がいないということで、このつながりのなさが健康に影響を与えている。人は人とのつながりによって生きている。人間はお互いに協力し、つながり合うように進化してきた。このつながりが断ち切られると、人は病気になる。

  5. shinichi says:

    (sk)

    誰もが、自分の脳の回路まで変えることのできる能力を持っている。

    ということは、誰もが AI よりも素晴らしくなれるということではないか。

    それとも、AI には負けるしかないのか?

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