Posted by sjahari hollands on May 3, 2023 at 2:54 am

    If I could ask Iain a question it would be this:

    lets say there is a boxing max between a 100 lb scared weakling, and a 200 pound Mike Tyson, its obvious who is going to win.

    The situation that Iain has laid out for us so clearly is that we as individuals and as a society are suffering from the unopposed dominance of the LH.

    And it is like we are spending our time trying to talk the left hemisphere out of it. But thats what it does. It would be like talking Mike Tyson out of giving up in that fight.

    My question is – why is the RH such a weakling? Where is its strength and power? If we have no effective RH then its no wonder the LH takes over.

    sjahari hollands replied 11 months, 2 weeks ago 5 Members · 8 Replies
  • 8 Replies
  • Joseph Woodhouse

    May 3, 2023 at 12:18 pm

    Though it would appear that the two hemispheres are in opposition, as in the metaphor of the boxing match; another way of seeing it is as a lack of balance in human attention.

    In this view, the awareness phenomenological state space is a vast Universe with our attention imprisoned in one small, contracted, angry, hateful, fearful, disconnected space. The puzzlement is who would want to live this way if they were aware of the joyful alternatives?

    So then the question becomes, how can we free our attention/awareness from the current of evil that is destroying the habitability of our planet?

    Our puzzlement at the strength of this dark current and our release into the countercurrent of light and love is possible only if attention/awareness comes to a non-judgemental, pure witnessing realization of its predicament and then renews it capacity to instantly shift to experience the flowing, joyful, vibrational, fluid and connected feel of attentional freedom.

  • Peter Barus

    May 3, 2023 at 1:17 pm

    I want to ask, in which hemisphere does a question about weakness/strength arise?

    Here is a bit from a book I’m working on now, approaching this from another direction:

    “We live in a world of answers. We hardly notice that they are really questions, and almost never return to the questions they are supposed to have settled. For example, nobody ever asked the absurd question implicit in the statement: “A Woman’s Place Is In The Home.” The real question that got that answer was about why women were not allowed to vote. In several countries that question still elicits that silly answer.

    “This trick of switching questions by answering a different one used to be called “begging the question,” a cheap debating-club ploy to deflect attention from an argument that won’t withstand a second glance. A bit of rhetorical jujutsu that has taken on enormous power since the advent of global electronic information networks, when critical new social infrastructure was built on groundless arguments propped up by absurdities taken for answers.

    “When questions marked “answered” may be safely forgotten, we live in a closed world where every question comes with its answer, the answer, just waiting to be found, to convert the question into a fact of everyday reality. Often we settle for answers without the questions, and call a person “educated” when they have memorized enough of them.

    “Why don’t we ask better questions? That question has a good, solid answer: because we see questions as stepping-stones across uncertainty, not as doorways to possibility.”

  • Whit Blauvelt

    May 3, 2023 at 4:10 pm

    McGilchrist’s personification of the two hemispheres helps put forward his hypothesis, but also may risk being taken too literally. The differences in their character — indeed in our character as constituted — become apparent when they are either physically divided, as by surgery, or one of them is suppressed or impaired, by injury, disease, electro-magnetic means, etc. The hemispheres are separate personae after split-brain surgery, as Sperry’s experiments showed. But for those of us with an intact corpus callosum, we are a single person, both to ourselves and to others.

    That said, the full use of language, given a typical brain (which is 90+% of us, but not everyone), requires the left hemisphere. So the degree to which we view ourselves and our world solely through language, leaving aside vision, feeling, and the more artistic and metaphorical ways where right hemisphere capabilities are stronger, we risk becoming less than our fullest selves.

    But it’s not, for those of us with intact corpus callosums who do not have multiple personality disorder, a matter of two separate selves. We are single selves, blended from capabilities arrayed between the two hemispheres. It’s a question of the balance and harmony in that array. Particularly in regards to language, through which we receive our assignments, our orders for school and work, do we often take it too far and become disordered by it? Freud thought so, when we internalize the boss’s orders, producing the “super ego.” Freud also thought that repression happens when we don’t allow nonverbal comprehensions to gain access to words — which he viewed as the key factor in “neurosis.”

    I hasten to add that, like McGilchrist, I have serious reservations about Freud. But I do wonder if the problem of relations between the hemispheres largely comes down the the problem of relations between our nonverbal and verbal mental “contents.”

  • sjahari hollands

    May 4, 2023 at 12:34 am

    I am appreciating the responses given here. And yet I am still wondering about this.

    I understand that the ideal is for the two hemispheres to be in balance, each supporting the other, but with the RH leading the way. And I agree that the key is in how we apply our attention, allowing the RH its space to function.

    And yet I am still wondering why the RH seems to be so very weak. And why it cant take a more active role in things as the Master. I mean, it’s supposed to be the Master.

    In my own personal creative life, when I try to be in that state of active receptivity that Iain talks about, I am often left in a vast nothingness. Nothing comes in.

    And it seems that since nature abhors a vacuum, the LH will step in to fill up all that space. This is not just happening in me, but in society in general.

    It would be good if the RH were to step up to the plate a little more maybe. As the Master.

    Well. Maybe thats my job. To BE the Master. Maybe it’s ME that needs to step up to the plate here.

  • Rodney Marsh

    May 4, 2023 at 1:39 am

    You don’t have to take Neitzsche’s (Mike Tyson’s) side,Sjahari. There is one power that the RH has the LH does not know. It is the power of love to include evil (as McG suggests) and keep on including evil until the power of evil becomes emptiness, nothingness.

    The LH knows nothing of a consciousness that has no power, no concepts – that’s why no individual ‘self’ (including you Sjahari) will always be met with silence, darkness, emptiness when trying to find out what the RH thinks, or exercise power over the RH. So, all Wisdom traditions insist on the “death” of the conscious ego self before there can be ‘nirvana’, enlightenment’, ‘salvation’ etc.

    The RH has the power of life (holding up the sky) of which the LH know and can know nothing -the power of weakness (love). This is a Christian vision of evil. J K Rowling has captured the way the weakness of Potter, the self-sacrifice of Snape and Dumbledore in the destruction of the power of Voldemort. On the other hand, you could choose to confront power with power…. so Xi/Putin/Trump show the way ahead (not for me!). Or you could choose the (over) confidence of a Yuval Noah Harari (‘Sapiens’) and trust our ‘humanity’ to continue to supress the approaching four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (Famine, Disease, War and Death). Though we continue to need all the science and technology humanity has gathered to this point, but Harari was too quick it seems to assess that this would be used for good not evil. You choose – only still the ravings of your LH before you choose.

    Personally, I take comfort from Julian of Norwich who “….wondered why, by the great foreseeing wisdom of God, the onset of sin was not prevented: for then, I thought, all should have been well.” In a ‘without time/all time’ vision (see ch 22 Matter) she realised the worst has already happened (in the death of Christ) and was complete. So God … “answered with these words and said: ‘It was necessary that there should be sin; but all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.'” It seems truer to me that ‘love lasts forever’ and ‘love is the greatest’ so ‘let love be your guide’ (St Paul 1 Cor 13,14).

  • sjahari hollands

    May 4, 2023 at 1:23 pm

    I appreciate your insight here Rodney. And the others.

    As I reflect on my question I am beginning to see that the real issue here is not that the RH has abdicated its role, but that I have. It is my Self, that needs to step up here and become the master in my own house, using all the power and creativity and love available to me. I have these capacities.

    Iain’s work therefore is simply a metaphor for these aspects of the self. That metaphor has a manifestation in the world of matter as the anatomy of the Right Hemisphere of the brain, which is where it is located as quantum particles and neutrons, but it is much more than that. This Self actually has an existence of its own in the realm of the invisible world, the psyche, which is seperate and distinct from the anatomy. And it will be there after I die, (if it has developed enough by then. )

    I am glad I asked this question here, because it is allowing me to discover something new.

    • Whit Blauvelt

      May 8, 2023 at 4:03 pm

      Per McGilchrist, only the LH has full command of our spoken language. It follows from this that only the LH can employ our spoken language as full command of us. Now, some people fully lack “inner speech,” while others fully lack “inner imagery.” But for those of us with both, “inner speech” will more represent the LH, and “inner imagery” the RH.

      The solution then for balancing them cannot be to substitute one inner speech regime for another. It’s not just identifying with a new set of opinions. Any set of opinions, as such, is a LH regime if one strives to live under it. It’s an ideology; all ideologies are LH. Rather we should wish speech and imagery to be brought together, so that each can lend its particular strengths to the combination. And we might also note that the RH is also more capable in terms of present awareness.

      For the hemispheres to “speak” together then requires going into the realm of metaphor, where language and imagery blend. The field of cognitive linguistics claims that’s how language achieves meaning, so this is not a betrayal of language. It’s returning it to the strength of its roots. But it is a demotion of ideology — of any and all ideologies. It’s not that some bodies of opinion aren’t superior to others, but that any body of opinion becomes corrupted when used by the LH to suppress RH ways of knowing.

      Note the solution is not to just get the LH to “shut up.” Rather, its to bring the hemispheres into a collaboration which is necessarily negotiated beyond the limited scope of our public language, to achieve results which, however much we then may speak of them, still require us to forever go beyond what we can, in words, describe, even in our best prose and poetics.

  • sjahari hollands

    May 9, 2023 at 3:00 am

    thanks for your reply Whit.

    The way I am looking at things now is to see these hemispheres – trying for a metaphor here – maybe like little machines that we have. Or servants maybe? Or Noblemen in the court?

    So there is me. Myself. And then I have these two guys who help me get along in the world. My LH with all its language and ability to get things done. Represent things and so on. And my RH with all its insight and betweenness and creativity and ability to really see things.

    In a way maybe I am disagreeing with Iaian here because I dont believe the RH should be the master and the LH the emissary. The RH should be more like the Prime Minister, and the LH is the Minister of Finance or something. And the The King is me.

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