Reply To: Personality and Living the Truths of Hemispheric Lateralization

  • 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?