We each have two primary ways of understanding ourselves and comprehending the world around us. One is to do with our feelings; the other is to do with our thinking.
Right-brain refers to the natural, sensing, feeling, empathic, intuitive, artistic, poetic, impulsive, open-hearted, “feeling mind”, that is in touch with the natural world, and is considered to take place predominantly in the right-hemisphere and as nerves cross over at the back of the neck, the left-side of the body. It describes the traditional, indigenous approach to life that typifies their cultures around the world, and is represented by the arts in western cultures.
The right brain performs vital complementary and overseeing functions to left brain thinking, such scanning, linking, the capacity get feel and a grasp of something, and to a sense of proportion, and to be sensitive to nuances of meaning, etc. It is the primary, empathically responsive, flexible, sliding-scale, analogue, win/win, intuitive, feminine, cooperative, feeling ‘brain’, and is what the feeling part of the person connects to.
Left-brain refers to the logical, sequential, deductive, reductionist, analytical “thinking mind”, that is considered to take place, predominantly in the left hemisphere, and the right side of the body. It forms the western intellectual, scientific, rational, materialistic tradition. It is the secondary, rigid, inflexible, all-or-nothing, win/lose, digital, masculine, competitive, thinking ‘brain’.
On its own, and without right-brain input, the left-brain mind is logical, good at deductive reasoning, convergent thinking and specialised detail within clearly defined boundaries; but is also locked into the past, cannot see the forest for the trees, and unable to think outside of the box, to use some of its own clichés about itself.
The left brain also suffers from the ‘frog-in-the-saucepan’ syndrome, where it adapts to, identifies with, and can no longer discern important changes, either positive or negative, to the situation that it has become blinded to. As a consequence left-brain tends to misperceive changing conditions as a continuation of the same. It is not connected to nature or one’s own inner nature. It cannot handle cognitive dissonance, and tends to reject all that does not fit existing programs hardwired into memory, and then rationalises the decision. Taken together, it is comprehensively disconnected from the real reality.
The left brain cannot join the dots, whether between synchronous or disjointed events, or those spanning over time, and thus true causal links are unseen. Looking ahead becomes reduced to a linear extrapolation of more-of-the-same. Breaking new ground becomes slow, incremental, jerky, haphazard and torturous, and often only happens in a crisis, when there is no longer any choice.
“Whole-brain” refers to the confluent, inter-active, integrated activity of both ways of hemispheres, which is relatively unknown in mainstream society. When confluence occurs, the experience can be that of satori, enlightenment, inspiration, illumination, self-actualisation, etc, giving the person inordinate acumen, perspicacity, acuity and wisdom. It is human fulfilment, how people are naturally, and how all human beings are supposed to develop.
Flower Children were able to master the linear, rational and logical thought processes, without suppressing their normal, right-brain functioning into subconsciousness, as commonly happens. They still had full access to their creative, artistic, intuitive, emotionally intelligent, right-here right-now, right-hemisphere, and have their brain function in a holistic way. The second half of the 1960s saw increasing numbers of people were overwhelmingly positive, inner experiences of their own essential being, with its natural clarity and capacity for understanding, spontaneous love for all beings and compassionate concerns for all unnecessary suffering on the planet. Their own inner faculties revealed higher-level insights about ways of living that are simple, elegant, wholesome and self-evident. People experienced themselves sparking positively off one another and entered states of co-operative empathy, or “contact highs”.
Confluence and Coherence
With the addition of their right-hemisphere, creative side, they were becoming whole-brain confluent, spontaneously capable of inductive reasoning and parallel, lateral and divergent thinking, and were wide open to new ideas, novel viewpoints, insights, intuitions and inspirations.
They were also open to integrative thinking, novel and innovative cutting-edge ideas, capable of grasping complex interactions, integrating diverse ideas, joining the dots between synchronous events, bridging separate disciplines, seeing the larger picture, intuiting trends, envisaging creative ideas and conceiving integrated, multiple win-win solutions.