Personality and Living the Truths of Hemispheric Lateralization

  • Personality and Living the Truths of Hemispheric Lateralization

    Posted by Charles Rykken on November 14, 2022 at 2:05 am

    I am interested in the question of how a person’s personality affects how well they can manifest awareness of hemispheric lateralization. Is authenticity, for example, important? . Babbit and “The Death of a Salesman” are literary examples that explore this dimension of the human story. Openness to experience from the five factor model figures prominently in how a person sees the world. How do various psychological predispositions figure in how successful a person can be in manifesting the truths that Dr, McGilchrist has uncovered?

    Charles Rykken replied 4 days, 18 hours ago 2 Members · 2 Replies
  • 2 Replies
  • Jeff Verge

    November 16, 2022 at 7:22 pm

    That’s a fascinating question that could lead to insight into how best to propagate Dr. McGilchrist’s work. My development was highly atypical, so I can’t assume my experience is transferable or relatable, but it would be great if people with a better understanding of personality factors weigh in.

    Regarding the science direct link, this jumped off the page for me:

    “At the moment, the world is awash in “fake news”, citizens are routinely manipulated by politicians who do not mean what they say, and social media platforms incentivize virtue signaling and punish straightforwardness. Although being “yourself” is often extolled in modern society, it comes with social risks. It is these moments of social risk that provide perhaps the most valid test of whether a person is actually being real: a person who is only real when it pays off is not really real at all.”

    If I wanted to explore the question of realness, I would have to spell out some unpleasant developmental details which made mine a long and twisted path, and which I don’t assume anyone wants to hear about. Am I being real? I don’t even know! But it’s a fascinating question.

    Without getting too far into the personal weeds, here is one of my atypical circumstances: I have one parent who is very right brain and one who is extremely left brain. One is right-handed and the other left-handed, and I am ambidextrous. For this and other developmental reasons, such as a capacity for extreme introspection, I suspect a crystalline awareness of attention modes might not be as apparent for some people as it is for me.

    What I can say is that my experience of encountering Dr. McGilchrist’s work was one of instant recognition and intuitive understanding. I think I was already tuned to receive the message. As with most or all of us here, I was already a huge admirer of thinkers like Blake, Nietzsche, Lao-Tzu and so many others, and I’d already cultivated an abiding love of nature and music. Happy is the one who’s learned the causes of things, an old Roman poet once said.

    Also, I know what Dr. McGilchrist says about modernity being left hemisphere dominant is true. I grew up in the 1980’s, thinking the world was a sinister behemoth bent on flattening us out and dumbing us down. Druing 30 odd years of reading and thinking about social criticism I had a very explicit sense I was arming myself against an invisible, undeclared enemy. I see now with utter clarity how my RH parent contorted themselves into a persistent LH attention mode, because that’s what society and everyone around them rewarded them for. They (both parents) were of the so-called Silent Generation, for which the invisible underlay was Behaviourism and Bernaysian conditioning, wrought in the shadow of nuclear terrorism and the trauma of two world wars.

    What do you think Charles? I would imagine that since you brought up such an interesting question you’ve given it some thought?

    • Charles Rykken

      November 30, 2022 at 7:23 pm

      I began my journey into the study of personality in the 90s. I spent $3000 for a PC and got my dialup account on Compuserve. One of the first things I looked up on Altavista, a search engine which was a precursor to Google, was empathy. I had been making a serious effort to understand political conservatives(PolCs) and had chosen empathy as a likely psychological construct that would help me understand PolCs. It was doing that search that I discovered the idea that “putting yourself in the shoes of the other person”(PYISOP) does not always work because there are some dimensions where the difference is so fundamental that the PYISOP approach was doomed to failure. Instead, with some people, you have to observe them and take notes on behavior and speech and do your best to infer subjective states of mind. Jean Decety does research in social neuroscience. He was an early focus for me(He is mentioned in TMWT on page 300). I also got heavily into political psychology. John Jost is one of the researchers in that field who has been a major influence on my thinking. I see myself as a philosophical journalist. Journalists are a strange breed who are gadflies who settle briefly into a specific area of interest(the story du jour) and when the story is ready for publication they fly away to another story. Interestingly, my understanding of the word gadfly was just as described in the prior sentence but when I looked up the definition/etymology of gadfly and found this but then I thought I should do a search on gadfly + journalist and found One of my favorite journalist is Lincoln Steffens who was characterized as a muckraker but I see him as an example of a philosophical journalist along with Hannah Arendt. I see the fifth factor, openness to experience, as a major indicator of someone who is more(or less) likely to embrace Dr. McGilchrist’s ideas on hemispheric lateralization of brain function. See for some detail. It so happens I am also someone who has the double short version of the 5-HTTLPR polymorphism. Michael Pluess is a researcher in the area of high sensitivity. He wrote an article recently where he looks at personality and Sensory Processing Sensitivity(SPS) and openness to experience plays a major role but not all of the six facets of openness are equally important. So… I think my blabbermouth inner journalist needs to be quiet for now. I hope what I have said is helpful in understanding where I am coming from. BTW, I am 74 yo and when I graduated high school in 1966 I was on a crusade against mechanistic materialism due to reading Goethe’s views on philosophy of science. He advocated a relational view as opposed the objects and properties views of the scientists of his day (Laplace, Fourier, the Bernoulli brothers, and others) who advocated for mechanistic materialism which Goethe saw as intrinsically nihilistic. When I read The Master and His Emissary in 2015, it was like I had died and gone to heaven. Finally, I had found someone who understood my pov and had a mountain of scientific evidence to back up the validity of that pov.