RE: MD food for thought

From: Erin Noonan (
Date: Sun Sep 15 2002 - 00:46:14 BST

>===== Original Message From =====
>The topic of irrationality -vs- reason came up, and these are my thoughts.
>Recently, I've had a personal epiphany. I once told a friend I often have the
problem of understanding many things, but completely lack of the means to
express them verbally through language. He said this phenomenon is often
associated with brain
>damage, we laughed, and it was left at that. I've
>discoverd that the answer is much simpler than I originally thought: I'm
right brained. This is something I've always known, but I've never put two and
two together until I read a portion of The Dancing Wu Li Masters; none of it
was new information
>for me, so I'm lead to believe it had to do with
>the wording. Anyhow, I'll explain -- and excuse me if I retread any ground
which you may already know.
>Originally the left-brain/right-brain split was discovered by a medical
procedure to "cure" epileptics in which the tissue separating the left and
right side of the brain (the corpus callosum) would be split. This person who
has undergone the
>split-brain surgury, quite literally, has two separte
>brains (and in a sense, so does everyone). By experimentation on these
people, it was discovered that each brain percieves the world in two
completely different ways.
>The left brain is linear. It organizes information sequentially on a
continuum, "as points on a line." Language, a convention of the left brain, is
completely linear; it exists as either words in a sentences moving left to
right, one after another
>(existing sequentially in space) ... or it exists
>as patterns of wave disturbances, being released from our lungs and throats,
one wave, syllable, and word at a time, one after another (sequentially
through time, radially--I think--through space). Informatin within the left
brain is ordered
>sequentially. "It is the left brain which creates the
>concept of causality, the image that one thing causes another because it
always procedes it." (dancing wu li masters, 39)
>The right side of the brain (which controls the physical left side of the
body), percieves whole patterns. "When each hemisphere is tested separately,
it is found that the left brain [linear, 'rational' brain] remembers how to
speak and use words,
>while the right brain [non-linear 'irrational'
>brain] generally cannot. However, the right brain remembers the lyrics of
songs! The left side of the brain tends to ask certain questions of its
sensory input. The right side of our brain tends to accept what is given more
freely." (dancing wu li
>masters, 39).
>Ahhh! That's it exactly! I'm right-brained! I can never put my thoughts into
words, and am always "mind-blanking" and forgetting even common words and
details, because I understands things intuitively, as a whole! My
understanding is not inept, but
>gets complicated in the right-to-left brain
>translation from entire-pattern-of-understanding to
linear-sequencing-of-language. Take, for example, a digital photograph. When
you look at it you see an entire pattern; you see shapes, forms, gradients of
color, et cetera. This is the right brain
>interpratation. The left brain interpratation of
>this digital photograph would be linear ... pixel by pixel; one by one, left
to right, top to bottom. We live in a culture where the only common ground of
communication is that pixel-by-pixel explaination, the english language (or
language or
>dialect specific to nationality or region, all of
>which are linear, left-hemispherical functions).
>This is why I encounter problems thinking on my toes, in verbal debates. I
mind-blank in these debates if I haven't made the translation for myself from
right brain to left ... I'm contantly remembering concepts, functions, and
relationships, but
>often forget their corresponding words.
>This also gives input into the classic-romantic split (or what my friend Dan
called "the library vs. the street." -- not exactly the same thing, but with
roots in the same soil). What he's describing isn't just the causic reaction
between two
>personalities, not just underlying form -vs- surface
>appeal (a descriptoin which I tought seemed mysteriously and unexplainably
flawed), but is really very connected to the split between right and left
hemispheres of thinking.
>"Physiologically, the left hemisphere controls the right side of the body and
the right hemisphere controls the left side of the body. In view of this it is
no coincidence that literature and mythology associate the right hand (left
>with rational, male, and assertive characteristics
>and the left hand (right hemisphere) with mystical, female, and receptive
characteristics. The Chinese wrote about this same phenomena thousands of
years ago (yin and yang) although they were not known for their split brain
surjury. Our entire
>society reflects a left hemisphere bias (it is
>rational, masculine, and assertive). It give very little reinforcement to the
right hemisphere (intuitive, femenine, and receptive). The advent of 'science'
marks the beginning of the ascent of left hemispheric thinking into the
dominant mode of
>western cognition and the descent of the right
>hemispheric thinking into the underground (underpsyche) status from which it
did not return (with scientific !
>recognition) until Freud's discovery of the 'unconcious' which, of course, he
labeled dark, mysterious, and irrational (because that is how the left
hemisphere views the right hemisphere)." (dancing wu li masters, by gary
zukav, 39-40.)
>The condemnation of eastern thought by western thought is not just because of
one predominant personality which condemns the other, but because of
condemnation and repression of our own brain. A person who is condemning art
and mysticism because it
>is "irrational", and a person who condemns
>science because it is ugly and focused on dull specific details is, most
literally (though they may not conciously know it), condemning and dismissing
an entire half of their own brain.
>The following is one of the most beautiful and true statements I have ever
>"The next time you are awed by something, let the feeling flow freely through
you and do not try to 'understand' it. You will find that you do understand,
but in a way that you will not be able to put into words. You are percieving
>through your right hemisphere. It has not atrophied
>from lack of use, but our skill in listening to it has been dulled by three
centuries of neglect." (zukav, dwlm, 40)
>The preceding quote was followed by an almost nearly as beautiful paragraph:
>"Wu Li Masters percieve in both ways, the rational and the irrational, the
assertive and receptive, the masculine and the femenine. They reject neither
one nor the other. They only dance." (zukav, dwlm, 41).
>And that is how I view rationality and irrationality ... a misunderstanding
between two ways of thinking.

Hi Nate,
I love Zukav. I like to call it a paradox rather then a
misunderstanding. You'll find some people here who don't like paradox because
it is not "rational". There are some crude measures
that look at whether you are right, left, or mixed dominance.
They look at which hand(s) do you use to write, kick/hit a ball, etc.
I think the dancing he refers to is a flexibility between the two hemispheres.


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