On: The Divided Brain and the Master and His Emissary.
Date: April 2018
Background: Psychiatrist and author of “The Master and His Emissary”.
- Our brain is divided into two different hemispheres because every living thing has to do two things:
- Left hemisphere: get stuff and use, manipulate it = targeted, local, highly focal attention.
- Right hemisphere: maintain continuous relations to the world = sustained, broad attention.
- How we attend to things changes what we see and what there is in the world.
- From neurology: two brain halves attend differently to the world.
- From philosophy: if you attend differently to the world, you see something different.
- Therefore, the two halves of the brain have different goals, values, preferences, and ways of being.
- Left is good at analyzing, making systems, models, carrying out routine procedures.
- Right is good at understanding the whole picture, patterns, context, interaction, meaning.
- Culture, customs and habits can lead to dominance of one (left) hemisphere over another.
- Rule-bound, rigid, hubristic.
- We need both working together: going from right to left to right side of the brain.
- Right: initial experience of the whole.
- Left: breaks down the whole for processing of the parts.
- Right: puts it back together in a way that provides meaning beyond the sum of the parts.
- Derive meaning from paradoxes, patterns, relationships and flow.
- Paradoxes can’t be explained by literal interpretation, they need to be understood as whole.
- Importance of flow of patterns over time, the interconnectedness and relations among the parts.
- Life is about competition as well as cooperation.