The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant but has forgotten the gift...Iain McGilchrist
Roger Wolcott Sperry's Work
-Nobel Prize- Sperry was granted numerous awards over his lifetime, including the California Scientist of the Year Award in 1972, the National Medal of Science in 1989, the Wolf Prize in Medicine in 1979, and the Albert Lasker Medical Research Award in 1979, and the Nobel Prize for Medicine/Physiology in 1981 that he shared with David H. Hubel and Torsten N. Wiesel. Sperry won this award for his work with "split-brain" patients.
The brain is divided into two hemispheres, the left and right hemispheres, connected in the middle by a part of the brain called the corpus callosum. In "split-brain" patients, the corpus callosum has been severed due to the
patients suffering from epilepsy, a disease that causes intense and persistent seizures. Seizures begin in one hemisphere and continue into the other hemisphere. Cutting the corpus callosum prevents the seizures from moving from one hemisphere to the other, which then prevents seizures from occurring, thus allowing the patients to function normally instead of suffering from continuous seizures.
Sperry first became interested in "split-brain" research when he was working on the topic of interocular transfer, which occurs when "one learns with one eye how to solve a problem then, with that eye covered and using the other eye, one already knows how to solve the problem". Sperry asked the question: "how can the learning with one eye appear with the use of the other?" Sperry cut nerves in the eyes of cats so the left eye was connected to the left hemisphere and the right eye was connected to the right hemisphere; he also cut the corpus callosum. The cats were then taught to distinguish a triangle from a square with the right eye covered. Then the cats were presented the same problem with the left eye covered; the cats had no idea what they had just learned with the right eye and because of this could be taught to distinguish a square from a triangle. Depending on which eye was covered, the cats would either distinguish a square from a triangle or a triangle from a square, demonstrating that the left and right hemispheres learned and remembered two different events. This led Sperry to believe that the left and right hemispheres function separately when not connected by the corpus callosum.
Sperry’s research with "split-brain" cats helped lead to the discovery that cutting the corpus callosum is a very effective treatment for patients who suffer from epilepsy. Initially after the patients recovered from surgery there were no signs that the surgery caused any changes to their behavior or functioning. This observation rendered the question: if the surgery had absolutely no effect on any part of the patients' normal functioning then what is the purpose of the corpus callosum? Was it simply there to keep the two sides of the brain from collapsing, as Karl Lashley jokingly put it? Sperry was asked to develop a series of tests to perform on the "split-brain" patients to determine if the surgery caused changes in the patients' functioning or not.
Working with his graduate student Michael Gazzaniga, Sperry invited several of the "split-brain" patients to volunteer to take part in his study to determine if the surgery affected their functioning. These tests were designed to test the patients' language, vision, and motor skills. When a person views something in the left visual field (that is on the left side of their body), the information travels to the right hemisphere of the brain and vice versa. In the first series of tests, Sperry would present a word to either the left or right visual field for a short period of time. If the word was shown to the right visual field, meaning the left hemisphere would process it, then the patient could report seeing the word. If the word was shown to the left visual field, meaning the right hemisphere would process it, then the patient could not report seeing the word. This led Sperry to believe that only the left side of the brain could articulate speech. However, in a follow-up experiment, Sperry discovered that the right hemisphere does have some language abilities. In this experiment, he had the patients place their left hands in a tray full of objects located under a partition so the patient would not be able to see the objects. Then a word was shown to the patient's left visual field, which was processed by the right side of the brain. This word described one of the objects in the tray, so the patient's left hand picked up the object corresponding to the word. When participants were asked about the word and the object in their hand, they claimed they had not seen the word and had no idea why they were holding the object. The right side of the brain had recognized the word and told the left hand to pick it up, but because the right side of the brain cannot speak and the left side of the brain had not seen the word, the patient could not articulate what they had seen.
In another series of experiments further examining the lateralization of language in the left and right hemispheres, Sperry presented one object to the left visual field and a different object to the right visual field of the "split-brain" patients. The patient’s left hand was put under a partition and then the patient was asked to draw with their left hand what they had been shown. The patients would draw what they had seen in their left visual field, but when asked what they had drawn would describe what had been shown to their right visual field. These tests proved that when the corpus callosum is severed, it breaks the connection between the left and right hemispheres, making them unable to communicate with each other. Not only are they unable to communicate with each other, but also without the corpus callosum connecting them one hemisphere has no idea that the other hemisphere even exists. There was even evidence of this outside the laboratory when some of the patients reported that, "while their left hand was unbuttoning their shirt, the right hand would follow along behind and button it again." These experiments were beneficial to numerous people in many different ways.
In his words, each hemisphere is:
indeed a conscious system in its own right, perceiving, thinking, remembering, reasoning, willing, and emoting, all at a characteristically human level, and . . . both the left and the right hemisphere may be conscious simultaneously in different, even in mutually conflicting, mental experiences that run along in parallel
— Roger Wolcott Sperry, 1974
"Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain"- Betty Edwards ..has remained the dominant book on its subject, used as a standard text in many art schools, and has been translated and published in many foreign languages, including French, Spanish, German, Polish, Hungarian Chinese and Japanese. Her company, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, develops special drawing tools, materials, and videos to help individuals learn to draw .
An artist and painter, she taught at high school level in the Los Angeles public school district (Venice High School), then at community college, and from 1978 until her retirement in 1991, in the Art Department at California State University, Long Beach. All of her teaching experience has been in art: drawing, painting, art history, art-teacher training, and color theory. In addition to teaching drawing workshops around the world, she has also done business consulting with major national and international corporations to enhance creative problem solving.
Dr. Iain McGilchrist
Author of "The Master and his Emissary"
THE DIVIDED BRAIN is a mind-altering odyssey about one man’s quest to prove a growing imbalance in our brains, and help us understand how this makes us increasingly unable to grapple with critical economic, environmental and social issues; ones that shape our very future as a species.
THE DIVIDED BRAIN follows McGilchrist on a journey of discovery as he travels to meet his biggest champions and critics and defends his unique vision of the implications of his theory. Dr. Ian McGilchrist is a soft-spoken British psychiatrist and neuroscientist but one who may have uncovered an insidious problem with the way our brains function. He believes that one half of our brain – the left hemisphere – is slowly taking power, and we in the Western world are simultaneously feeding its ambitions. This half of the brain is very proficient at creating technologies, procedures and systems, but it cannot understand the implications of these on the people and the world around it.
Has our society been hijacked by the left hemisphere?
Is it too late?
McGilchrist knows that if he is right, we may be creating the technologies and the conditions that will spell our own downfall. With the clock ticking on critical issues, he must make his case and find ways to restore the balance before it’s too late?-Dr. Iain McGilchrist
This is how Iain McGilchrist’s book, The Master and his Emissary (Yale, 2009) expresses it.[vii] McGilchrist argues parts of the human brain deliver quite different kinds of attention to the world. The left brain perceives the world as “static, separable, bounded, but essentially fragmented [. . .] grouped into classes”.[viii] This is the attitude to knowledge and education the anxious student of Li Po’s poem possesses as well as the place where most of us live amongst Carson’s clichés and Bonnefoy’s conceptual language. In contrast, McGilchrist associates the right brain with the perception of “the live, complex, embodied, world of individual, always unique beings, forever in flux, a net of interdependencies, forming and reforming wholes, a world with which we are deeply connected”[ix] yet one at risk of being perceived or judged as a mere confusion, a seeming nothing.
Current studies are representing this to be likely,yet for humans to have full wisdom,intellect-"it is a Harmonious act,utilizing both halves"
The Right Brain
According to the left-brain, right-brain dominance theory, the right side of the brain is best at expressive and creative tasks. Some of the abilities that are popularly associated with the right side of the brain include:
• Recognizing faces • Expressing emotions • Music • Reading emotions • Color • Images • Intuition • Creativity
The Left Brain
The left-side of the brain is considered to be adept at tasks that involve logic, language and analytical thinking. The left-brain is often described as being better at:
• Language • Logic • Critical thinking • Numbers • Reasoning
Personally, I sketch,draw a lot-I do know for a fact that "Entering into the meditative state of sketching,such as closely observing the neg space of a object,there for myself is a" dramatic Sensation".,(as though ,walking or entering another room/area of my mind which is unhindered by the world of societal rules,idea's..a peaceful,a place to simply be a observer,to seek the truth as how what I observe is.....this can only be achived by this shift-"the Meditation of the Arts"..I call it now-"Michael Emery
My main reason to sketch/draw is not to create a picture,...it is to get to the state of "the Meditation of the Arts"..the sketch that results is simply a bonus!
My opinion at this time also is "all of the Great wise-ones,I have found in my years of study and research...They have a common interest-a great passion,understands of Arts and it's need
Albert Einstein on Metaphysics and Philosophy
Remarks on Bertrand Russell’s Theory of Knowledge
In the evolution of philosophical thought through the centuries the following question has played a major role: what knowledge is pure thought able to supply independently of sense perception? Is there any such knowledge? If not, what precisely is the relation between our knowledge and the raw material furnished by sense impressions?
There has been an increasing skepticism concerning every attempt by means of pure thought to learn something about the 'objective world', about the world of 'things' in contrast to the world of 'concepts and ideas'. During philosophy's childhood it was rather generally believed that it is possible to find everything which can be known by means of mere reflection. It was an illusion which anyone can easily understand if, for a moment, he dismisses what he has learned from later philosophy and from natural science; he will not be surprised to find that Plato ascribed a higher reality to 'ideas' than to empirically experienceable things. Even in Spinoza and as late as in Hegel this prejudice was the vitalising force which seems still to have played the major role.
The more aristocratic illusion concerning the unlimited penetrative power of thought has as its counterpart the more plebeian illusion of naive realism, according to which things 'are' as they are perceived by us through our senses. This illusion dominates the daily life of men and of animals; it is also the point of departure in all of the sciences, especially of the natural sciences.
As Russell wrote;
'We all start from naive realism, i.e., the doctrine that things are what they seem. We think that grass is green, that stones are hard, and that snow is cold. But physics assures us that the greenness of grass, the hardness of stones, and the coldness of snow are not the greenness, hardness, and coldness that we know in our own experience, but something very different. The observer, when he seems to himself to be observing a stone, is really, if physics is to be believed, observing the effects of the stone upon himself.'
Only through...the state of "the Meditation of the Arts"...or High Attention to Creative thought...can naive realism,,be transended.-my opinion
Iain McGilchrist’s concept of the divided brain, but they are amazingly similar. His concept is that the brain is capable of two kinds of attention at the same time, with a gating system (in the corpus callosum) that inhibits the function of one over the other.
It is not the old left-brain/right-brain reason/imagination model, which is long discredited, but rather a dual perspective which mostly resides in the left or right hemispheres (but not fully) and operates concurrently. Reason and imagination exist in both and are vital to both, and in humans (unlike animals) that focus is mediated by the frontal lobes. We can stand back from the world and regard it.
This interaction of dual focus and mediation means that the narrowly focused brain is task-driven and fascinated by functional logic. It’s about trying to figure out how to use what it sees to achieve goals (McGilchrist calls this “the Machiavellian”). It simplifies, models, quantifies and is precise. This is what I called the play brain.
The wide focus (“the Erasmian”) sees things contextually. It’s the seat of empathy, creativity, metaphor, implicit meaning and the reading of emotions. Unlike the narrow focus (which simplifies the world) it sees the world in an embodied fashion. In a previous post I attributed the word numina to describe how the player sometimes vests more in what he sees than is actually there, and this is very similar to McGilchrist’s idea of embodiment. In contrast to the play brain, the Erasmian is what I labelled the art brain.
Games are unique among all forms of culture because they engage both the Machiavellian and the Erasmian, the play and the art brains, at the same time. When playing, the player needs a game to be fairer than real life, simpler than real life, more empowering and fascinating than real life. It needs to enclose him in a world that all makes sense. This is what the play brain needs to have fun and so stay engaged.
However the art brain wants to see beyond that. So the world of the game, its audio-visual richness and character are a key tool of evoking those feelings that Tolstoy spoke of. Discoveries within it, things seen or heard, noticed momentarily during the passage of play are where the art brain lives for, and so an artistic game is one that confers feelings that its creator has to the art brain while the play brain plays.
This works especially well if the interactions within that context make sense. The most profoundly effective examples of artistic games are the ones that manage to marry both play brain and art brain together. So for example, the co-operative rules of Ico and Yorda have an art brain component because they are in context. The setting of Portal 2 within a gigantic lab explains its abstract play brain tests in context. When the two work together then the effect is almost a state of belief in the reality of the game world, which is what I call thauma.