Reply To: Personality and Living the Truths of Hemispheric Lateralization

  • 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.