Left and Right Brain balanced – wise man or muttonhead?

As a student, I was often told by a wise teacher that we needed to have balanced personalities, so that humanity would not tip the world over its axial tilt where it hangs precariously today, askew by about 23 degrees. That meant that we needed to keep our left (analytical) brain in sync with our right (creative) brain, and have one side always question the actions of the other because power on one side alone corrupts absolutely—so I was told. That is why there are two houses of parliament, a government and an opposition party in the colonial democracies, the division of powers in the USA, the Cold War, and so on.

As soon as I was able to figure this out, I enrolled to become an engineer and also signed up for a creative writing course. But I quickly ran into trouble. My math teacher told me that I was not enough of a linear thinker; I kept getting sidetracked with side•plots, and I always wanted to know “why?” My creative writing instructor called me a freak, because, frankly, “engineers did not become writers”—period—in his world! Besides, I was anal about plotting in those days and he wanted me to drift all over the place and get lost instead. My Myers Briggs personality scores were never consistent, because I was a NT (intuitive thinker) or a SP (sensory perceptive) depending on which mood I was in when I took that very reliable test.

I never became an engineer or a bestselling author in the end, although I worked in project management for a number of years and a few of my novels were published. When we hit a tough problem on a project, I took time out to tell my team a story that may have provided them some relief, or hinted at some answers. I like my short stories and novels to have a beginning, middle and an end. I could never be one of the “boys”, or even one of the “girls.” I was just a fringe dweller and even named one of my books after that moniker because I was so used to it applying to me. And as I progressed through life as a jack of all trades and a master of some, I wondered whether I was indeed a freak, or if the rest of the world was perhaps being a bit harsh due to its own shortcomings. I guess it’s easier to take a position and raise the flag for one side than to wonder what is really going on, on both sides.

But I also wonder if we care to develop both sides of our God•given brain, would the world be a lot different than it is today; more peaceful and understanding, more patient and tolerant, perhaps? “Use it or lose it,” they say; and between the artists and the engineers, we are losing a lot of wisdom due to one•sided brain power. Half•brained people are more inclined to take the easy way out and look externally for answers to questions that perplex them, and blame everyone else when the answers they find are not satisfactory to their one track thinking. Perhaps, all along those answers reside in the undeveloped side of their brains. What was that saying, “the Kingdom of God lives within you”? Ah, another side•plot worth investigating, much to my old math teacher’s chagrin…

1 thought on “Left and Right Brain balanced – wise man or muttonhead?”

  1. Hey Shane:

    Interesting post on the right brain and left brain. I tend to shift from one to the other. And I think it might be hereditary – my mother’s side of the family were “Schefter” and “Strauss.” One guess which was left brain and which was right brain. However, many with the latter name went broke but I bet they had/have (some are still living) more fun that the others.

    I’ve given your books and blog a plus on my blog. Check it out.



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