Should I get a lobotomy?
April 8, 2008 8:22 PM   Subscribe

Anyone who has tried meditation knows how difficult it is to not think about the past or the future. I figure, if I eliminate one of those mental time-lines, it will be twice as easy (or half as hard). From what I've read, a frontal lobotomy destroys your ability to think into the future and plan. Is there anyone out there with a lobotomy or frontal lobe damage that can comment on what it's like? Do you find it easier to be happy? Have you tried meditation and is it easier?

On another note, is there any place where you can even get a lobotomy anymore?
posted by bumper314 to Health & Fitness (6 answers total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: this is not a good question for AskMe, please check in with the MeTa thread if you have questions. -- jessamyn


I *just* read Dully's book yesterday, actually.

He was definitely not any happier after his lobotomy. It took him a long time just to have a semblance of normal life.
posted by padraigin at 8:53 PM on April 8, 2008

Mod note: a few comments removed. if you can't answer this without lulz please save us your winky answers, thank you.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:54 PM on April 8, 2008

posted by amyms at 8:54 PM on April 8, 2008

Learning to stay in the present is one of the major skillsets of meditation, and it's hard for almost everyone. Nobody reputable is going to cut into your brain to help you meditate, and you don't want a quack cutting into your brain. If constantly dwelling on the past and future is making it difficult to deal with the present, you may want to consider a therapist - ideally, somebody who can guide you through meditation. But permanently removing your ability to consider the past and future is not the answer. Though it may bother you now, it's a necessary life skill that lets you make decisions based on comparing the current situation to previous experience and knowledge, and planning ahead. Not having that ability is crippling. You want to learn how to turn that switch on and off, not cut the circuit.
posted by bettafish at 8:58 PM on April 8, 2008

Lobotomies are not performed any more to my knowledge (I studied Neuroscience and I think that's pretty much the case at this point). However, extreme surgeries are still done such as hemispherotomies (in which the corpus callosum is cut and the hemispheres separated) or serious -ectomies in which an offending region (perhaps causing seizures) is completely removed. Lobotomies effectively destroy your frontal lobes, which are used for the most advanced thinking we do.

It's worth noting that well-done surgery can always be helpful, and people live perfectly normally with all kinds of ridiculous brain damage. My Neuroanatomy professor Dr. Schiebel actually had a lobotomized woman at one of his lectures who claimed it had improved her life very much.

I do not understand meditation as a neurological phenomenon but I feel that a lobotomy would interrupt your ability to effectively monitor your own brain activity, as that is a sort of meta-ability we've developed as thinking creatures.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 8:59 PM on April 8, 2008

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