21 May 2015

Leonard Shlain's "Left, Right and Center"

If you have wandered wild places where experience and vision seemed to easily trump the ruling classes' dependance on dark language and sacred texts - this book  'plains everythin'. Thank you, Dr. Shlain - be at rest.

    Parsed here, as you will see, for "limited access" by left-handed “readers”, is a quick distillation of Leonard Shlain's latest book, “Leonardo's Brain” - especially, its chapter 13, "Emotions / Memories" (pp 133-141).  Shlain states that this chapter “will focus on the brain organization of someone who is right-handed and left-brain-dominant” (pg.134). He later does consider and discuss the brain organization of the “8 to 12 percent” that are left-handed (right-brain dominate) in the final chapters ("spoiler alert": the brain of a left-handed asexual woman appears to be greatly out in the lead.)  Here are your simplified left, right and center "bullet points"-

Characteristics of right-brain (left hand): In fetus, right-brain (left hand) is already mature before left-brain (right hand) begins to develop.

Right-brain (left hand) is more familiar with needs and drives stemming from earlier stages of mammalian and primate evolution - the domain of sex and child raising – is non-verbal, having more in common with earlier animal modes of communication.

Right-brain (left hand) generates feeling-states which are non-logical and non-linear – examples, allow faith in God, understanding the subtleties of a joke, the rise to patriotic fervor. All feeling-states are nondiscursive and overwhelm the left-brain's new facility with words.

Right-brain (left hand) merges multiple determinants, emotions, meanings, sounds and images into holistic states. The right-brain (left hand) contributes metaphor to left-brain's abstract words.

Right-brain (left hand) have little volitional control and betray their own feelings though fidgeting, blushing or smirking.

Emotions predominately located in right-brain (ed: left hand) – fear, terror, love, hate, shame, disgust, envy, jealousy, ecstasy.

Right-brain (left hand) perceives world concretely without attempt to translate to words – this is the portal to the spiritual – entertains altered states without need of faith or logic. Dreaming occurs primarily in the right-brain (left hand).

Right-brain (left hand) is holistic – appreciates relationship of parts to the whole - assimilates images as instant gestalts – as examples: faces and music.

Right-brain (left hand) deciphers tone, inflection and nuance. It understands better - gestures, grimaces, cuddling, suckling, touching and body stance.

Right-brain (left hand) better at spatial relations and distance – skiing, dancing.

Additional notes from other chapters: Right-brain (left hand) “is aware of its connections to everything else” - “minor lobe merges a complex web of spirituality, intuitions, mysticism and pattern recognition to generate complex feelings.” (pg 90)

“Orgasm is a right-hemispheric function. Love is rooted in the right brain. Ecstasy is an emotion experienced at the right of the corpus callosum.” (pg 101)

Characteristics of left-brain (right hand):  Left-brain (right hand) – “innovative features” include – speech, motor activity, numeracy, abstractions – such as alphabets, ideograms, words, names and numbers. “Abstract thinking is the ability to process information without concrete images.”

Left-brain (right hand) range back and forth along the linear time of past, present and future – follows series of steps – sequencing rather than holistic gestalt.

Left-brain (right hand) analysis reduces everything to its component parts.

Left-brain (right hand) is doing and action, controls the vital act of willing.

Left-brain (right hand) controls the picking, throwing, tool making.

Left-brain's (right hand) only emotions are happiness, joy and cheerfulness.

Left-brain (right hand) knows the world through words and speech. Language and words are “the very essence of the action mode; with them, we abstract, discriminate, analyze and dissect the world.” Words are image substitutes. The left-brain builds concepts without resort to images.

Left-brain (right hand) follows the linear sequence of logic, the if/then syllogisms – which is the foundation of science, education, business and military strategy.

“The left lobe processes time and keeps track of dates. Only a (ed: right handed) human can experience, or even understand “birthdays” - left brain tracks only the discrete trees, but cannot see the entire forest.

Additional notes, Chapter 9: Left-brain (right hand) is the seat of ego and superego, is separate from the world – the “I” and “not-I”. (pg 90) – “sees the world from a survivalist's point of view.” (pg 176)

 Leonard Shlain's books and life.        Best review of book.     Buy Shlain's "Leonardo's Brain".

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