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Which brain should we use?

Internet research (courtesy of Google) reveals that the brain contains two hemispheres, each of which performs different roles, each of which controls different types of thinking. Many people consider this an either/or scenario, assuming that one side of the brain is actually more dominant than the other in each individual.

Left-brain thinkers are described by logic. They are objective, deductive, rational, analytical, organized, sequential, and systematic. They have strong math and logic skills. They excel with analytical and critical thinking, reasoning, language, numbers. They look at the parts. Scientists, engineers, mathematicians, lawyers, judges, business leaders, and bankers are often associated with left-brain professions.

Right-brain thinkers are described by creativity. They are intuitive, perceptive, thoughtful, subjective, random, expressive, imaginative, innovative, insightful, and artistic. They have strong cognitive skills and imagination. They excel with emotional intelligence, expressing and reading emotions, music and art awareness, holistic thought, use of color. They practice free association, and look at the whole. Writers, artists, musicians, designers, athletes, and politicians are often associated with right-brain professions.

But is it really that simple? Are these preconceived notions correct? Does this dichotomy actually pre-determine personality traits and cognitive strategies? Must we really be one or the other? Are we indeed limited to one dominant brain hemisphere? There would at least seem to be some truth in the generalization. Most people do tend to exhibit one primary approach. We all know people who are fundamentally logical (systematic) versus creative (artsy), and vice versa. Perhaps it is a matter of what each of us sees as our core strengths (and weaknesses)? We tend to do what we consider ourselves best at, what we are most comfortable with. Or perhaps it is circumstantial, we do what our jobs, and our lives, seem to require?

But can we do, and be, both? The fact is that most people are more or less equal on both sides of the brain. The parts of the brain do have different functions, but they are designed to work together. The brain is a marvelously complicated, deeply integrated, system. Coordinated and symbiotic use of the brain is a prerequisite to optimal performance. An inability to invoke elements of both would greatly hamper success in any field.

So let’s default to the whole-brain reality. We can easily observe the obvious crossovers and overlaps between the elemental skill sets of most people. For example, published research proves that math is deeply imbedded in music, in the patterns of sound in rhythm, meter, scales, chords, melodies, acoustics, pitches of notes, tempos of pulse. Math is likewise integral in poetry, to the patterns of meter, rhythm, and rhyming schemes, to the structure, symmetry, and flow of stanzas and verses. A poem has been succinctly described as an algorithm of sorts, as a systematic effort to create elegant and compact messages within a finite space and time. The two ‘half-brain’ theorem is a myth.

And then, of course, what has in times past too often been my alternative (and preferred?) approach, the infamous no-brain practice. I am actually writing a book, “Mensa Densa-Misadventures”, to be published and released in early 2019, to explore how someone with a genius-level IQ could have had so many funny (but ill-advised) experiences.

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