The Story Teller From the Left Side

Dr. Bolte-Taylor, describing brain hemispherical functional and personality differences, after having experienced a Left Temporal Lobe stroke, leaving her with a severely inhibited language center.  She recovered after about 7 years of intense therapy.  She is a neuroscientist at a Harvard associated hospital, so her vantage is exceedingly unique. Excerpt from her book, “Stroke of Insight”.

“One of the most prominent characteristics of our left brain is its ability to weave stories. 

This story-teller portion of our left mind’s language center is specifically designed to make sense of the world outside of us, based upon minimal amounts of information. 

It functions by taking whatever details it has to work with, and then weaves them together in the form of a story. 

Most impressively, our left brain is brilliant in its ability to make stuff up, and fill in the blanks when there are gaps in its factual data. 

In addition, during its process of generating a story line, our left mind is quite the genius in its ability to manufacture alternative scenarios. 

And if it’s a subject you really feel passionate about, either good or awful, it’s particularly effective at hooking into those circuits of emotion and exhausting all the “what if” possibilities.

As my left brain language centers recovered and became functional again, 

I spent a lot of time observing how my story-teller would draw conclusions based upon minimal information. 

For the longest time I found these antics of my story-teller to be rather comical. 

At least until I realized that, My left mind full-heartedly expected the rest of my brain to believe the stories it was making up! 

Throughout this resurrection of my left mind’s character and skills, it has been extremely important that I retain the understanding that my left brain is doing the best job it can with the information it has to work with. 

I need to remember, however, that there are enormous gaps between what I know and what I think I know. 

I learned that I need to be very wary of my story-teller’s potential for stirring up drama and trauma.

In the same vein, as my left brain enthusiastically manufactured stories that it promoted as the truth, 

it had a tendency to be redundant-manifesting loops of thought patterns that reverberated through my mind, over and over again. 

For many of us, these loops of thought run rampant and we find ourselves habitually imagining devastating possibilities. 

Unfortunately, as a society, we do not teach our children that they need to tend carefully the garden of their minds. 

Without structure, censorship, or discipline, our thoughts run rampant on automatic. 

Because we have not learned how to more carefully manage what goes on inside our brains, we remain vulnerable to not only what other people think about us, but also to advertising and/or political manipulation.

The portion of my left mind that I chose not to recover was the part of my left hemisphere character that had the potential to be mean, worry incessantly, or be verbally abusive to either myself or others. 

Frankly, I just didn’t like the way these attitudes felt physiologically inside my body. 

In addition, I wanted to leave behind any of my old emotional circuits that automatically stimulated the instant replay of painful memories. 

This portion of my ego mind held the capacity for me to;be a sore loser, hold a grudge, tell lies, and even seek revenge. 

Reawakening these personality traits was very disturbing to the newly found innocence of my right mind. 

With lots of effort, I have consciously chosen to recover my left mind’s ego center without giving renewed life to some of those old circuits.

My Thoughts about The Left and Right Mind with respect to Dr. Bolte-Taylor’s personal experience, right mind advocacy and research.  Areas that struck me and are in line with my theory of human behavior:

The left mind thinks in language that is needed to communicate in the external world, and thus necessarily projects importance onto objects and things outside of its’ Self

*The left mind employs whatever information it has to fabricate conclusions

*The left mind fills in the blanks when information is lacking

*The left mind believes its own stories as Truth

*The left mind creates loops (circuits) that allow it to function on autopilot

*The left mind lies without knowing it

*The left mind needs to be right but doesn’t seek to clarify its inconsistent thinking 

*The left mind resents, gets offended, worries, theorizes worst case scenarios, is vindictive 

*The left mind cannot interpret more profound nonverbal communication, 

*The left mind lacks empathy

*The left mind upsets the innocent sensibilities of the right mind, alienating it

*The left mind is overwhelmingly the predominant mindset in the world, and to think otherwise is very challenging. This and the alienation of the right mind reinforces the left mindset and perpetuates this thinking in our children.

*The left mind guesses, and defers to the external, to authorities and though it seeks to protect us and provide us with security, its’ provides us and our loved ones with the antithesis, as it has no access to knowledge.

*The left mind is Externally focused with minimal effort, technique based.

*The left mind requires and seeks external structure to feel secure and safe

*The left mind mindset is the default position for human beings.

*The left mind contains the False-self, or the Ego, the right mind the Authentic Self.

*The left mind under the auspices of the right mind is the intent of true psychic maturation and growth.

While language is a convenient way for communicating, it is only useful for the transfer of data, not ideas, feelings, emotions or intentions, as the deeper meaning cannot be synthesized in an organ that is meant to deconstruct the whole into its parts. Words and definitions are constructs of the left mind but they cannot convey the essence of an idea, concept or object because, as do labels on people, definitions restrict the more profound meaning and compromise the universal truth in favor of the expedient temporal one.  

Language, numbers and words are constructs that the analytical left mind use to define, limit, parse out details and separate one thing from another.  The integrating, synthesizing and interconnecting right mind thinks in pictures, not limiting defined language, and we would all benefit if we learned to recognize and employ our two minds in line with their intended functions reserving our more base animal left mind for the tasks of daily living with Awareness.

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