Bill’s Right Brain

What happens when a social-activist lawyer — a good guy by all accounts — suddenly has his “scientific” assumptions trumped by reality? This story is from the Sacramento News & Review, published on August 20, 2009. To see the original, which includes a few photos I did not include here, click

Bill’s right brain

By Nancy Brands Ward

Surgery for a brain tumor gave this left-brained Sacramento attorney a stunning glimpse of right-brain possibilities. Now he’s a changed man.

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Some years ago I had to decline to publish Mark Kimmel’s fascinating first novel, Trillion, strictly for financial reasons. Since then I have remained on his newsletter, information for which I include at the end of this post. The following is his most recent.

The Cosmic Paradigm Newsletter
by Mark Kimmel
October 31, 2007


In recent days I have observed how many times fear creeps into my consciousness. This has caused me to look at my actions and see how many of them were driven by fear.

The dictionary defines fear as: 1 A feeling of agitation and anxiety caused by present or imminent danger 2 A feeling of disquiet or apprehension

I would suggest broader definitions: 1. Fear is the opposite of love. 2. Fear is a state of mind that focuses one singularly on oneself.

When one is acting out of fear he or she will put his or her own interests above any concern for the rights of others. If I am hungry, I will steal. If I am threatened I will kill. In the extreme, if I see the situation as totally hopeless, I will choose suicide.

But fear is usually much more subtle. Fears remains buried in our unconscious mind until they are triggered by a particular situation. Dealing with our fears is the grist of psychotherapy, beginning with Freud’s focus on sexuality and continuing to modern treatment methods.

Fear, buried in our unconscious, is triggered as our current lives unfold. Our parents taught each of us certain precautionary things: “Watch before you cross the street.” Religious teachings imprinted yet others: “If you do that, you will go to hell.” And our training in the workplace added still others: “Be on time, or be gone.” Fear is often translated into “should” and “must.”

SPEND A DAY EXAMINING HOW FEAR DRIVES YOUR ACTIONS. I did this and was amazed to see how fears subtly emerged. As I drove my vehicle I worried about the condition of its tires. I was conscious of obeying the traffic laws lest I get a ticket. I watched where I was going to avoid getting lost, or worse, having an accident. And, of course, I kept an eye on the gas gauge.

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