Divided Brain, Divided World

Where one directs their attention (where one intends their consciousness), where one focuses and receives their perceptual experiences of reality, is largely a function of which brain hemisphere one habitually employs in orientating themselves to their environments, to others and to their world. Absent either the adequate neurological apparatus or the stimulating impulses emanating from the direction of ones environment, no relations, no context, no meaning and no understanding can be constructed by those functional regions of the brain that require both processes and their interrelations for an accurate synthesis of reality.

As so astutely described by Iain McGilchrist in his work, “The Master and his Emissary”, the brain hemispheres function largely autonomously and are connected by an ever evolutionarily shrinking band of intrahemispheric nerve fibers (corpus callosum, directly connecting about 2% of the two hemispheres connections to one another) allowing for either the inhibition or excitation of one side of the brain by the other; although inhibition of one hemisphere or the other seems to play a larger net effect in the process. Additionally, the brain is asymmetrical in all three of its physical dimensions, right-left, front-back, and top-bottom, suggesting evolutionary advantages for its current polarized structure.

Like a movable lens, the left hemispheres focus of attention is directed by the right hemispheres ever vigilant global “all seeing eye” (or the z-axis), allowing one to focus on varying depths of those things it focuses its two dimensional attentional awareness of its left hemisphere (x and y axis) upon. The attraction of what the left hemispheres lens peers on and into, can abstract it from the less focused but more global and highly relational and contextual view of the right hemispheres modes of attention.

Naturally the broad and embodied orientation of the whole of perception, as perceived and manifested through the working processes of the right hemisphere of the brain, intentionally directs ones narrowly focused left hemisphere towards the direction of the surfaces of those processes that it recognizes as parts of the whole that would relationally benefit ones being from being further investigated, and thus, seeks to extensionally expand ones understanding and experience of the whole, thereby providing the essential relations between the objects of its focus in the three dimensions of space, relative to time.

If ones environmental experiences are such that they internally feel it is unfavorable for them to approach life with a broader and contextual, yet less certain view of things, as the many experience through the ever-present conventions of their cultural and social powers and influences, then through the conditioning effects (of a sufficient measure and magnitude) of such conforming forces, the many discover it more profitable to sacrifice their broader integrating contextual perspective for the relative certainty and comfort of their more narrow and superficial orientating hemispheric processes, automatically provided by the functioning of their left hemispheres.

This focus on the known, certainty and survival over the whole (and our beings relations and deeper connections to that which resides outside the confines of ones skin), affords such individuals with a relatively static slice of reality, largely divorced from its relational context and meaning. This provides an experience of reality that appears very real, predictable and safe, however in doing so, the individual unwittingly sacrifices the depth and breadth of their contextual relationships with the whole, for the utility and pleasure of the predictable, the pleasant, the entertaining and the safe.

Both Autism and Schizophrenia, as well as related psychiatric conditions, are believed to be the consequences of an over-reliance on the narrow processes of the left brain hemisphere, its representations and overall experience of reality. (Louis Sass, “Madness and Modernism”)

Perhaps the current view of the Autism Spectrum, is but a limited view of a larger Spectrum that includes the extremes of expression and behavior for all humans, from the debilitating consequences of schizophrenia and the more severe forms of autism on the far left side of the spectrum, to someone like Nietzsche of the far right, (as Jung described a man of pure intuition).

Perhaps the narrow intensionally abstracted view that the processes of the left hemisphere provide, as evidenced by the conditions of our current global crises, are the consequence of narrow focus and our collective myopia.

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