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Primitive Brain, Left Brain, Right Brain & Their Work In Our Lives

October 9th, 2012 | Posted by Dick in Uncategorized

Recently, a 49 year old college graduate was rejected by the New London police department because he scored 33 points on an IQ test but departmental  policy was to only interview those scoring 20 to 27.  The average score, nationally for police officers is 21 to 22, just a little above average.  The reason given is an attempt to reduce job turnover.
You might be surprised but in a practical way, I agree with the New London police. When I was in drill instructor school at Fort Leonard wood in Missouri, an old sergeant took me aside and said; “You think too much. You are going to get yourself and your squad killed.” I never forgot his wise words.
Fortunately, I never had to test this premise in the army. Six months after I got my honorable discharge, my unit was sent to Viet Nam. I use to feel guilty about this fact but now I realize energy (God) kept me alive to do the work I have to do. When I became a guard however, I always kept the wise sergeant’s words in mind. After seven years as a guard, I had an article about prisons published in the Toronto Star. An IRA prisoner I knew who read it, said to me, “Dick, I didn’t know you could think.”
My persona as a guard was to act like a happy, always smiling, personal, short, bowling ball-shaped individual which I am. This worked so well that the prisoners called me ‘Lou’ for Lou Costello. The article however, blew my cover with some of my guards and gave me trouble with them.
When I became a guard, the Canadian Correctional Service had just decided to only hire educated guards with B.A’s or higher. When I graduated Staff College, we were the highest educated corp ever. After several years, I was one of only a few members of the class to remain a guard.
While I do not know this rejected candidate, I suspect that if he hasn’t learned what the wise old sergeant taught me, he would be a pain the ass to his fellow cops.
This brings me to what I am presently working on: the relations between the primitive brain, the left brain and the right brain in our lives. Spinoza called these the three types of knowledge.
The primitive brain that sits on top of our spinal cord is responsible for probably about ninety percent of what we do every day. It is responsible for the basic drive of all animals including humans: the survival of the fittest and the grasping for control and enhancement of the organism, (self/ego in humans).
The primitive brain is the seat of basic emotions like love, hate and all the others that are derived from them like greed, sexual, gratification and so forth.
The primitive brain is the react, stimulus response of the body and the foundation of skills by which we manipulate the everyday activities of our life. We drive a car, play football or brush our teeth or carry out the tasks of a cop or guard because of the primitive brain. It is very important.
However, evolution gave humans and some primates, a higher brain placed on top of the primitive brain. This higher brain is separated into two parts: left and right. Very simply, the left brain knows and the right brain believes.
I.Q. tests like the one this candidate took, only measure the left brain. This is the Mensa fallacy of I.Q. The left brain is the searcher for laws in nature. While the left brain is the seat of language, its only adequate use of language is mathematics. Ordinary language only uses metaphors and is easily seduced by the emotions and drives the primitive brain, producing what Spinoza calls, ‘inadequate thinking.”
While the left brain is very good at abstract thinking, it is weak in practical thinking and leads to the folly of most of the thinking and actions we observe in human beings, because the left brain depends on the primitive brain for skills.
However, evolution didn’t leave humans in the primitive state (although we often prefer it). It gave feelings to the right brain.
The right brain tells us reality and truth are the whole of knowledge. Equal is the glue that makes this whole, stick together.
The idea of God came from these common notions. The action of equal brings the left and right brain together. On the left side, equal gives us reason and on the right side, equal gives us understanding.
Feeling, given to the right brain by evolution, can be called, ’empathy.’   The Oxford Dictionary says empathy is: “The power of projecting one’s personality into (and so fully comprehending), the object of contemplation.
The right brain is a behavior cop to control inadequate thinking as well as actions in the left and primitive brains. However, without the knowledge of the left brain and skills of the primitive brain, the right brain becomes full of fantasies which have no place in reality and truth.
The whole system operates by homeostasis, much like the temperature gauge for a furnace. If we are run by just our primitive brain, our thinking and actions get too hot and impulsive. With left brain thinking, our actions become cold and abstract. Operating, on the other hand, just on right brain is like shutting the furnace down altogether.
Since the feelings of the right brain are the highest form of our evolution. Even today it still hasn’t had much influence on human actions and thinking. Those, whom we call great thinkers, have tried to guide us towards the goal of the true and real.
Most of human actions, however, have been guided by the inadequate thinking of addiction to fame, wealth or pleasure and not as Spinoza says…” the union of the mind with the whole of nature.”
When the boys in the backroom of our brain (Stephen King’s term) – raise their din, we can be sure that is the primitive brain seducing our left brain and ourselves. Because the left brain is seduced, the thought process can appear to be reasonable, but it isn’t. This is why human beings have so many conflicting belief systems.
Because I have PTSD, the boys in the back room can jump on me anytime without any notice. I am learning, however, to recognize their false voice. They always speak of anger, fear, dismay and so forth.  I have been so involved in this paean to the brain today that I forgot to smoke my pipe and drink my coffee while I waited for my wife.

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