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The Left Hemisphere's World

Page history last edited by Jenny Mackness 3 years, 5 months ago


What would the left hemisphere’s world look like?


If the left hemisphere became so dominant that it managed to suppress the right hemisphere altogether, at the phenomenological level we could expect the world to look as follows. There would be:





  • loss of the broader picture, with the whole being seen as the sum of the parts, and increasing specialisation and technicalising of knowledge


  • substitution of information and information gathering for knowledge. Suspicion of knowledge that comes through experience. Expertise (an expert is one who is experienced) would be replaced by expert knowledge, based on theory and abstraction


  • loss of wisdom; focus on certainty and clarity


  • increase in abstraction and reification; the theoretical and abstract would replace the concrete


  • privileging of quantifiable and repeatable processes


  • flourishing of technology; life would be more virtualised


  • increased bureaucratic processes 


  • loss of the sense of uniqueness


  • living modelled on the mechanical (a good machine is more productive, faster, more precise)  





  • life in which considerations of quantity (the what) replace considerations of quality (the how)


  • inflexibility resulting from ‘either/or’ thinking substituted for matters of degree


  • change in the nature of consciousness


  •  philosophically – meaning coming through systems designed to maximise utility


  • replacing of the personal with the impersonal


  • a focus on material things


  • depersonalisation of relationships and neglect of social cohesion


  • exploitation rather than co-operation as the default relationship


  • emphasis on uniformity and equality; individualities would be ironed out


  • paranoia and lack of trust


  • curtailing of individual liberty


  • panoptical control as an end in itself 


  •  decline of individual responsibility


  • strenuous effort to bring families and professions which transcend what can be quantified or regulated (doctors, teachers, priests) under bureaucratic control


  • intolerance of uncertainty


  • reasonableness replaced by rationality. Complete failure of common sense


  • increase of anger and aggressive behaviour



  • dangerous unwarranted optimism


  • increased passivity in relation to culture


  • increase in carrying out procedures by rote


  • loss and undercutting of a sense of awe and wonder


  • a sense of boredom leading to craving for novelty and stimulation


  • loss of a sense of flow


  • discarding of tacit forms of knowing






  • downgrading of non-verbal, non-explicit communication


  • loss of tolerance for ambiguity


  • conceptualisation of art. Visual art would lack a sense of depth and distorted perspectives would become the norm


  • lack of harmony and melody in music 


  • solipsistic rather than communal dance


  • a life in which words and ideas dominate; language clothed in abstraction


  • loss of feel for metaphor


  • dismissal of what can be learned from the past


  • wild and un-represented nature seen as a threat





Continue to: Conclusion: The Master Betrayed (2). Could the left hemisphere succeed according to its own criteria?




Link to: Conclusion Commentary


Link to: Image Credits


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