#0019 Conservatives and progressives think differently (part III)
What we now have with this insight into the human brain is an opportunity to go back and commence a process of a do-over on history. With these new findings at hand, any event in history is fair game for re-perusal. We could go back through the history books for another look; but this time we will have the advantage of a motive to add to our investigative portfolio. The motive I am talking about is the why factor of any given past event—especially big events (those with far-reaching influences)—and display it up on the big evidence board to see if new patterns will emerge! It would be highly impractical to do anything like that, but what we can do is use this new understanding of the human mental processes to gain a more accurate perspective on what was driving the men—the movers and shakers from specific past event and throughout all of history. Why did they do the things they did and what made them tick (AKA: what were they thinking)? You know the ones I’m referring to; the hardliners who setup the lofty policies way-way back that have the legs to hold sway even today! Some of the stuff they are responsible for has been in place for so long that questioning any of it would be tantamount to sacrilege. Their accomplishments are monumental, their irrefutable truths and the sacred dictums were inspired by God or possibly hand-delivered by Him (e.g.: the Pentateuch). But now we have this new evidence; and it gives us an edge we didn’t have before. We now know that these guys were humans just like us and their brains–they worked just like our brains work today; and what does the research tell us nowadays about the workings of the human brain? To find out, let’s go to the Daniel Pink resource once more…
The two hemispheres of our brains don’t operate as on-off switches—one powering down as soon as the other starts lighting up. Both halves play a role in nearly everything we do. “We can say that certain regions of the brain are more active than others when it comes to certain functions,” explains one medical primer, “but we can’t say those functions are confined to particular areas.” Still, neuroscientists agree that the two hemispheres take significantly different approaches to guiding our actions, understanding the world, and reacting to events. (And those differences, it turns out, offer considerable guidance for piloting our personal and professional lives.) With more than three decades of research on the brain’s hemispheres, it’s possible to distill the findings to four key differences.
- The left hemisphere controls the right side of the body; the right hemisphere controls the left side of the body.
- The left hemisphere is sequential; the right hemisphere is simultaneous.
- The left hemisphere specializes in text; the right hemisphere specializes in context.
- The left hemisphere analyzes the details; the right hemisphere synthesizes the big picture.
The left converges on a single answer; the right diverges into a Gestalt [a structure, arrangement, or pattern of physical, biological, or psychological phenomena so integrated as to constitute a functional unit with properties not derivable by summation of its parts]. The left focuses on categories, the right on relationships. The left can grasp the details. But only the right hemisphere can see the big picture.
A Whole New Brain (Part One Chapter One: Right Brain Rising): Copyright © 2005, 2006 by Daniel H. Pink
In the recap just below, I chose to add bolding and italics to some of the excerpts because they go the heart of what I am talking about here. Conservatives are L-Directed in their thinking. Let’s recap the left hemisphere which, according to Daniel Pink, dominates the thought processes of L-Directed thinkers:
- The left converges on a single answer.
- The left focuses on categories.
- The left can grasp the details.
I don’t know about you but these traits or tendencies really smack of some conservatives I personally know; many of whom are friends and family members. With all of this information at hand—about all the different jobs the brain has to achieve and how it arranges these jobs into two segregated camps tells us so many things which can be easily plugged into pretty much everything we’ve been discussing. It provides insight into why my conservative friends and relatives seem so compelled to think in such narrow and thick-headed ways about things that seem so simple to my R-Directed brain. And maybe they are the ones who have the correct thoughts about issues; I am not able to judge, because I evidently don’t think the same way as them. What Mr. Pink is alluding to is that neither of our perspectives is right or wrong, they’re just different. But the fallout of 1000s of years of L-Directed dominance has left a deep and permanent mark on the world’s shared culture and an L-Biased version of what is the truth and what is reality.
- What the Christian religion has seen throughout history is a pattern: dissident thinking leading to modified beliefs leading to the formation of new denominations.
- The Bible itself was originated and compiled by L-Directed thinkers.
- All of the right v. wrong theologies were first penned by L-Directed thinkers and those ideals have been enforced and propagated by same.
Remember the guy from the Sullivan Show whose whole shtick was twirling dinner plates on top of sticks that were affixed to a table and pointed up in the air? He’d start one plate spinning by holding it flatways atop one of the sticks and kind of launching it with his hands like it was a stationary Frisbee. Once it was spinning he would wiggle the stick some to add spin to it. It was quite a trick. After he got the first one going good, he’d set another plate to spinning on the stick next to it, then another and another. After he got 4 or 5 going like that. The first plate would have lost most of its momentum so he’d have to hurry back to it and do the wiggle trick with the stick to give the plate some steam. Then moving up the line he’d give each of the plates a rejuvenating wiggle on its stick till he got back to where he left off. He’d start up a few new plates going and he’d have to, of course, go back and reenergize the first ones again. By the end of the act, he would have gotten an inordinate number of plates spinning. For the grand finale, he’d reverse his course and do a different sort of maneuver that would one-by-one dismount the plates from the sticks; gracefully catching them and stacking them neatly under one arm. As the band rose to the big closing crescendo, plate man made a deep dramatic bowing gesture and that completed his act.
Managing all the different Christian ideologies, policies, dictums and what-nots have become cumbersome and somewhat of balancing act. They’re like spinning plates atop wiggly sticks. And those who started these plates spinning centuries and centuries ago are long dead and gone. But over the years and up through the course of history, others like them—who think like them and who understand the message of the spinning plates—have learned the wiggle trick and they’ve kept those old plates spinning while adding more and more new plates…and there are plates spinning all around us.
P.S.: Plate Man