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  • Hello, my name is Dessa,

  • and I'm a member of a hip-hop collective called Doomtree.

  • I'm the one in the tank top.

  • (Laughter)

  • And I make my living as a performing, touring rapper and singer.

  • When we perform as a collective, this is what our shows look like.

  • I'm the one in the boots.

  • There's a lot of jumping. There's a lot of sweating.

  • It's loud. It's very high-energy.

  • Sometimes there are unintentional body checks onstage.

  • Sometimes there are completely intentional body checks onstage.

  • It's kind of a hybrid between an intramural hockey game and a concert.

  • However, when I perform my own music as a solo artist,

  • I tend to gravitate towards more melancholy sounds.

  • A few years ago, I gave my mom the rough mixes of a new album,

  • and she said, "Baby, it's beautiful, but why is it always so sad?"

  • (Laughter)

  • "You always make music to bleed out to."

  • And I thought, "Who are you hanging out with that you know that phrase?"

  • (Laughter)

  • But over the course of my career, I've written so many sad love songs

  • that I got messages like this from fans:

  • "Release new music or a book. I need help with my breakup."

  • (Laughter)

  • And after performing and recording and touring those songs for a long time,

  • I found myself in a position

  • in which my professional niche was essentially romantic devastation.

  • What I hadn't been public about, however,

  • was the fact that most of these songs had been written about the same guy.

  • And for two years, we tried to sort ourselves out,

  • and then for five

  • and on and off for 10.

  • And I was not only heartbroken,

  • but I was kind of embarrassed that I couldn't rebound

  • from what other people seemed to recover from so regularly.

  • And even though I knew it wasn't doing either of us any good,

  • I just couldn't figure out how to put the love down.

  • Then, drinking white wine one night,

  • I saw a TED Talk by a woman named Dr. Helen Fisher,

  • and she said that in her work, she'd been able to map the coordinates of love

  • in the human brain.

  • And I thought, well, if I could find my love in my brain,

  • maybe I could get it out.

  • So I went to Twitter.

  • "Anybody got access to an fMRI lab,

  • like at midnight or something?

  • I'll trade for backstage passes and whiskey."

  • (Laughter)

  • And that's Dr. Cheryl Olman,

  • who works at the University of Minnesota's Center for Magnetic Resonance Research.

  • She took me up on it.

  • I explained Dr. Fisher's protocol,

  • and we decided to recreate it with a sample size of one, me.

  • (Laughter)

  • So I got decked out in a pair of forest green scrubs,

  • and I was laid on a gurney

  • and wheeled into an fMRI machine.

  • If you're unfamiliar with that technology,

  • essentially, an fMRI machine is a big, tubular magnet

  • that tracks the progress of deoxygenated iron in your blood.

  • So it's essentially figuring out what parts of your brain

  • are making the biggest metabolic demand at any given moment.

  • And in that way, it can figure out

  • which structures are associated with a task,

  • like tapping your finger, for example, will always light up the same region,

  • or in my case,

  • looking at pictures of your ex-boyfriend

  • and then looking at pictures of a dude who just sort of resembled my ex-boyfriend

  • but for whom I had no strong feelings.

  • He was the control.

  • (Laughter)

  • And when I left the machine,

  • we had these really high-resolution images of my brain.

  • We could cleave the two halves apart.

  • We could inflate the cortex to see inside all of the wrinkles, essentially,

  • in a view that Dr. Cheryl Olman called the "brain skin rug."

  • (Laughter)

  • And we could see how my brain had behaved when I looked at images of both men.

  • And this was important.

  • We could track all of the activity

  • when I looked at the control and when I looked at my ex,

  • and it was in comparing these data sets that we'd be able to find the love alone,

  • in the same way that, if I were to step on a scale fully dressed

  • and then step on it again naked,

  • the difference between those numbers would be the weight of my clothing.

  • So when we did that data comparison, we subtracted one from the other,

  • we found activity in exactly the regions that Dr. Fisher would have predicted.

  • That's me.

  • And that's my brain in love.

  • There was activity in that little orange dot, the ventral tegmental area,

  • that kind of loop of red is the anterior cingulate

  • and that golden set of horns is the caudates.

  • After she had had time to analyze the data with her team

  • and a couple of partners, Andrea and Phil,

  • Cheryl sent me an image, a single slide.

  • It was my brain in cross section,

  • with one bright dot of activity

  • that represented my feelings for this dude.

  • And I'd known I was in love,

  • and that's the whole reason I was going to these outrageous lengths.

  • But having an image that proved it felt like such a vindication,

  • like, "Yeah, it's all in my head, but now I know exactly where."

  • (Laughter)

  • And I also felt like an assassin who had her mark.

  • That was what I had to annihilate.

  • So I decided to embark on a course of treatment

  • called "neurofeedback."

  • I worked with a woman named Penijean Gracefire,

  • and she explained that what we'd be doing was training my brain.

  • We're not lobotomizing anything.

  • We're training it in the way that we would train a muscle,

  • so that it would be flexible enough and resilient enough

  • to respond appropriately to my circumstances.

  • So when we're on the treadmill, we would anticipate

  • that our heart would beat and pound,

  • and when we're asleep, we would ask that that muscle slow.

  • Similarly, when I'm in a long-term, viable, loving romantic relationship,

  • the emotional centers of my brain should engage,

  • and when I'm not in a long-term, viable, emotional, loving relationship,

  • they should eventually chill out.

  • So she came over with a set of electrodes just smaller than a dime

  • that were sensitive enough to detect my brainwaves

  • through my bone and hair and scalp.

  • And when she rigged me up, I could see my brain working in real time.

  • And in another view that she showed me,

  • I could see exactly which parts of my brain were hyperactive,

  • here displayed in red;

  • hypoactive, here displayed in blue;

  • and the healthy threshold of behavior,

  • the green zone, the Goldilocks zone,

  • which is where I wanted to go.

  • And we can, in fact, isolate just those parts of my brain

  • that were associated with the romantic regulation

  • that we'd identified in the Fisher study.

  • So Penijean, several times,

  • hooked me up with all her electrodes,

  • and she explained that I didn't have to do or think anything.

  • I just essentially had to hold pretty still

  • and stay awake

  • and watch.

  • (Harp and vibraphone sounds play)

  • So I did.

  • And every time my brain operated in that healthy threshold,

  • I got a little run of harp or vibraphone music.

  • And I just watched my brain rotate at roughly the speed of a gyro machine

  • on my dad's flat-screen TV.

  • And that was counterintuitive.

  • She said the learning would be essentially unconscious.

  • But then I thought about the other things I had learned

  • without actively engaging my conscious mind.

  • When you ride a bike,

  • I don't really know what, like, my left calf muscle is doing,

  • or how my latissimus dorsi knows to engage when I wobble to the right.

  • The body just learns.

  • And similarly, Pavlov's dogs probably don't know a lot about, like,

  • protein structures or the waveform of a ringing bell,

  • but they salivate nonetheless because the body paired the stimuli.

  • Finished the sessions,

  • went back to Dr. Cheryl Olman's fMRI machine,

  • and we repeated the protocol,

  • the same images --

  • of the ex, of the control and, in the interest of scientific rigor,

  • Cheryl and her team didn't know who was who,

  • so that they couldn't influence the results.

  • And after she had time to analyze that second set of data,

  • she sent me that image.

  • She said,

  • "Dude A's dominance of your brain

  • seems to essentially have been eradicated.

  • I think this is the desired result," comma, yes, question mark.

  • (Laughter)

  • And that was the exactly the desired result.

  • And finally, I allowed myself a moment to introspect,

  • like, how did I feel?

  • And in one way, it felt like

  • it was the same inventory of feelings that I'd had at the outset.

  • This isn't "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind."

  • The dude wasn't a stranger.

  • But I'd had love and jealousy and amity and attraction and respect

  • and all those complicated feelings that you amass after long-term love.

  • But it felt like the benevolent feelings had risen to the surface,

  • and the feelings of fixation and the less-generous feelings

  • weren't quite so present.

  • And that sounds like a small thing in some way,

  • this resequencing of feelings,

  • but to me it felt like the biggest thing.

  • Like, if I told you,

  • "I'm going to anesthetize you,

  • and I'm also going to take out your wisdom teeth,"

  • it would really matter to you the sequence in which I did those two things.

  • (Laughter)

  • And I also felt like

  • I'd had this really unusual philosophical privilege

  • to understand love.

  • The lab offered to 3D-print my caudate.

  • I got to hold love in my hand.

  • (Laughter)

  • And then I bronzed it,

  • and I made it into a necklace and sold it at the merch table at my shows.

  • (Laughter)

  • (Applause)

  • And then, with the help of a couple of friends back in Minneapolis,

  • one of them Becky,

  • we made an enormous disco ball of it --

  • (Laughter)

  • that could descend from the ceiling at my big shows.

  • And I felt like I'd had the opportunity to better understand love,

  • even the compulsive parts.

  • It isn't a neat, symmetrical Valentine's heart.

  • It's bodily, it's systemic,

  • it is a hideous pair of ram's horns buried somewhere deep within your skull,

  • and when that special boy walks by,

  • it lights up,

  • and if he likes you back and you make each other happy,

  • then you fan the flames.

  • And if he doesn't,

  • then you assemble a team of neuroscientists

  • to snuff them out by force.

  • (Laughter)

  • Thanks.

  • (Applause)

Hello, my name is Dessa,

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(【TED】デッサ:恋に落ちることを選んでいいのか?(【TED】Dessa: Can we choose to fall out of love?) (【TED】Dessa: Can we choose to fall out of love? (Can we choose to fall out of love? | Dessa))

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    林宜悉 に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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