I have become a convert to synchronicity.
The above sums up what has recently happened to me. I was alerted through a Tweet to an RSA talk by a Human Rights Barrister called Dexter Dias:
I was impressed enough by the talk to look up Mr Dias. I found that he had recently written a book called “Ten Types of Human“.
As fortune, or synchronicity, would have it, I had recently resubscribed to Scribd, the online books organisation. I had the chance to see whether they had an ebook version of the book. They didn’t, but they did have an audio version which I downloaded.
Now, this is a very long and complex book (recording). It has 78 chapters in the audio version. I have so far covered 24 chapters and it is quite a remarkable journey into the depths and heights of the human experience.
There are times, I have to admit, that Dexter, the Human Rights Lawyer, tells of his experience of mistreated prisoners, of child slavery, of genocide. It is informed by his training in law as well as his recent training in neuroscience. To get a feel for the book see the following site.
Basically, Dias looks at ten profiles of human characteristic. In the broad sweep of looking at the ten different types, he tries to explain how humans can be kind, supportive and loving whilst also being vicious, killing and cruel. He relates these different types to our biological and social evolution.
I do not want to paint a picture of total horror and despair because Dias looks at the highs as well as the lows of our humanity. In one chapter he introduces us to a fascinating lady called Dawn Faizey-Webster.
As can be seen from above Dawn is a lady who was a teacher in the Midlands who was married to a fellow Black Sabbath fan and expecting her first child. After 20 weeks of pregnancy, her mother noticed that her ankles were swelling. The situation got worse with ever rising blood pressure and she collapsed and was rushed to a hospital.
It turned out that she was suffering from preeclampsia. According to the NHS,
Pre-eclampsia is a condition that affects some pregnant women, usually during the second half of pregnancy (from around 20 weeks) or soon after their baby is delivered.
Early signs of pre-eclampsia include having high blood pressure (hypertension) and protein in your urine (proteinuria). It’s unlikely that you’ll notice these signs, but they should be picked up during your routine antenatal appointments.
In some cases, further symptoms can develop, including:
- swelling of the feet, ankles, face and hands caused by fluid retention (oedema)
- severe headache
- vision problems
- pain just below the ribs
If you notice any symptoms of pre-eclampsia, seek medical advice immediately by calling your midwife, GP surgery or NHS 111.
Although many cases are mild, the condition can lead to serious complications for both mother and baby if it’s not monitored and treated.
Dawn was told that if the condition she had developed was treated there would be a severe risk to her unborn child. She decided to wait for nearly a week to give her child a chance to live. Her son Alexander was born by Caesarian section. He was rushed to a premature baby unit and was born deaf. He did though survive and is now 15 years of age.
Dawn though had a massive stroke that affected her brain stem and left her almost totally paralysed. She went into what is called “Locked In Syndrome“. She could hear and understand everything around her but could not communicate except through blinking her left eye.
Her brother Mark was a nurse and seeing her lying in her bed, seemingly in a vegetative state, he asked her to blink if she could understand him. She blinked. This was the beginning of an incredible journey that led to her being able to communicate using a specially devised lap-top and an alphabet board.
Over a period of six years, Dawn studied for an Open University degree in history and gained a 2/2. Not content with that she then decided to do a Master’s degree in art history and wants to aim at a Ph.D.!
To me, this is a remarkable example of where the human spirit can be triumphant over immense adversity. Dawn has said that her study has given her wonderful restless mind a reason to live every day. It says so much about our human need to learn. I found it immensely uplifting and inspiring.
Where I go next in my synchronistic journey I do not know. But I am pleased to have come across a great book that I am barely one-third through, found a great intellect in Dexter Dias and come across a story such as Dawn’s that reinforces your faith in our humanity and encourages me to continue my quest to keep learning.