"When you talk, you repeat what you already know; when you listen, you often learn something."
The L-brain person
L-brain types are a cognitive style of thinking preferred by people when solving problems. It means the person can efficiently and effectively transfer information from the R-brain to the L-brain on a regular basis.
A l-brain person is highly skilled in seeing the "trees in the forest" so to speak. They rely, and prefer to engage, heavily on the external world and use their own eyes to directly observe and recognise very specific, often (initially) unrelated, patterns, remember those patterns (often by organising them in a linear way for easier recall) and are able to pick out those patterns again with remarkable ease and speed thanks to their good memory. In essence, L-brain people excel in extracting specific observable patterns from human experience, organising them, storing them in memory, and recalling them quickly when needed.
L-brain people are also the practical types with a panache for communicating in a verbal sense what they see and/or have remembered in the past because they readily give these specific observable patterns names and sounds to describe them in everyday language.
In a social setting, L-brain people are capable of showing tolerance, but are conditioned to being discriminate because of their ability to detect specific patterns. Of course, whether these people are able to see the patterns in a positive way, is another question. But in general, the detection of patterns and to do it quickly, especially when specific patterns need to be recalled, is essential where survival is at stake.
With this in mind, men are more likely to develop strong L-brain skills than women. The evidence for this can be seen in the size of the corpus callosum separating the two sides of the brain as well as the activities most men perform. The corpus callosum tend to be smaller in men than in women, suggesting that information in the brain does not regularly get transferred to both sides of the cerebral hemispheres (or only flows in one preferred direction, mainly useful for pattern-recognition and later to act on the recognised pattern via a well-defined, tried and tested task in order to reach a familiar goal). Also men prefer to undertake technically-proficient jobs and/or hobbies requiring extensive analysis.
Another reason why men develop strong L-brain skills is because this particular gender are more likely to have a short lifespan because of numerous conflicts with predators and other L-brain men facing similar survival-based tasks and, therefore, need to remember and perform specific actions like communicating, building tools, categorising things, recalling patterns and performing other tasks quickly to achieve a few well-defined goal(s) before their time is up. A perfectly understandable approach to life since any delayed reaction to a situation could mean the difference between life and death. Thus any means to reinforce these L-brain skills are often highly regarded among most males.
The L-brain approach to life is easily taught through regular exposure to survival-related images such as violence, death, hunger and action on the news, in movies and documentaries on animals and on video games. In video games, you are often required to find quick solutions using whatever tools you have acquired and can achieve the goal you want with great speed (i.e., blasting your opponents or enemies). It develops high speed reactions and quick thinking using tools you have become familiar with and knowing what they can achieve.
L-brain skills can also be taught through regular and intense verbal communication, listening and playing fast and complicated rhythm-based music (e.g. rap or popular quick tempo teen music, and where singing the words requires extreme dexterity in the tongue and mouth to pronounce the words clearly and quickly), and other common L-brain building activities, usually designed to be crammed into your life for long periods of time (but with regular rest to ensure the L-brain patterns are probably etched into the memory).
But this kind of rigid, fast and down-the-line, short-term "survival-based" analytical thinking is well compensated for when we see that the brain size in men is greater than in women as would be expected if men, being so discriminating, have to remember many specific patterns. (1)
The view that men are more L-brain and women are R-brain was covered in a somewhat simplistic way with such popular psychology books as, Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.
Examples of L-brain people in modern society include scientists and lawyers.
- L-brain people will often manipulate and change the observable environment or do things spontaneously and predictably without thinking about what they are doing or why they have to do it.
- L-brain people are quick to make decisions or find quick fix solutions and then to apply/communicate those decisions/solutions to others.
- Once specific, observable patterns are recorded in memory, it is usually very difficult for L-brain people to creatively reanalyse the patterns (let alone seek new evidence and experiences) to ensure they are correct (i.e., perceived in the right way). For example, if you introduce something unusual or radical for discussion, L-brain people are often quick to ignore it or "shoot holes" in new theories. Similarly, people who have grown up in a certain social class will often create very rigid patterns of how to survive and get that sense of belonging with other like-minded people in their own class, but hardly ever choose to learn about and appreciate other different social classes that exist.
Perhaps the difficulty in creatively reanalysing the patterns to ensure they are correct has something to do with the lack of time available. When researchers ask busy L-brain people what they would like to see in the world if they had a magic wand to change anything, it would be to have the 25/7 concept made a reality. In other words, L-brain people prefer to extend the day to 25 hours instead of 24 hours just to get enough things done in one day for the rest of their lives.
Or could it be that L-brain people do have the time, but they just use it all up in doing too many unimportant things in their lives (like gossiping etc)?
- L-brain people are more likely to be acutely aware of specific patterns. For example a subtle and out-of-the-ordinary (or familiar) noise in amongst other sounds can be easily picked out. Sometimes L-brain people can be annoyed at specific patterns that other people may find non-obtrusive. This is especially true among older L-brain types.
- L-brain people like to divide (pigeon-hole) or emphasise the differences between certain observable things (or patterns) as if it is important or relevant in their view. For example, L-brain people believe there is a thing called work and a thing called play and both are unrelated and separate entities. Likewise, L-brain people will also say "Them and us", or "Things must be black and white". Or even if there are 50 shades of grey, each shade needs to be identified and clearly shown as being different in some way.
- L-brain people love to create lots of places for storage to hold lots of things. Plenty of shelf space, cupboards, and places to display things. The homes of L-brain people often have lots of things placed on mantlepieces, intricate and well-organised dining tables and display cabinets for showing off various items in detail. Places to store these extra items are, therefore, a necessity. Hence the need for plenty of storage places.
- Once observable patterns are recorded in memory, L-brain people tend to rely and believe in the past (i.e., these patterns). They say, "I believe what I see"; and as they get older, will often reminisce about the good old days. Surprisingly, it is quite difficult for L-brain people to be creative and look to the future and see new ways of doing things, and creating new patterns that bring greater hope to a new generation.
- L-brain people usually have a hard time forgiving someone else for having done something wrong in the past. L-brain people are more likely to frown upon others in the wrong or to highlight how bad they are (and think they will always be in the bad books and will never change).
- L-brain people usually expect others to believe, think, feel and act in the same way as themselves. If they don't, it is not unusual for L-brain people to decide not to learn why and find out whether there is a better way of doing or thinking in a different way. In more extreme situations, L-brain people are more likely to "shoot first (and perhaps ask questions later)" or punish others for not conforming to the L-brain people's way of doing things.
The use of punishment as a way of getting people to conform to certain rules created by L-brain people is common within the more extreme or fundamentalist areas of Islam, Christianity or other L-brain religions (and in the Defence forces of supposedly rational L-brain societies), also known as R-wing people.
Instead of asking why and learning how to do things better, L-brain people are more likely to stick to their beliefs and all the rules they have created even if it means the rules and their beliefs are not balanced or is out-of-date and certain people may have to continue suffering or die because of those rules and beliefs.
- L-brain people, in sticking to their beliefs, are more likely to be combative, stick to one side of an argument in support of their beliefs, rarely if ever listen to other peoples' point-of-views unless it is to support their own beliefs, and use their own beliefs and arguments as a means of point-scoring against other people rather than see the beliefs as one way of looking at the world.
The typical sign of a good L-brain person is someone who is usually sure of him/herself, is noisy or talkative, social, a team player, doing lots of things, constantly has a need to belong in a group of like-minded people, expecting others to do and talk the same sorts of things as him/herself, likes criticising others or providing regular feedback on observable issues, and a mirror of the most commonly accepted behaviours of society.
Generally, the greater the number, and the more they imitate, emphasise and practice (or perform) the different behaviours of people around them and do it quickly, the more L-brain they use.
L-brain people have an uncanny ability to imitate certain behaviours of things around them with incredible detail and realism. For example, L-brain people will often imitate the behaviours of famous or infamous politicians or other people in society for fun or humour. In more extreme situations, L-brain people may even subject themselves to pain just to prove a point. For instance, at Easter time, there are L-brain Christians in the Philippines who will go to a lot of trouble showing exactly what the crucifixion was like over 2000 years ago, including having the nails hammered through their wrists!
Similarly, in Australia and the United States, it is not unusual for L-brain people to try to look like their favourite movie stars. This is achieved not by merely wearing a little makeup and clothing just to have "life imitate art" in a small way. In an attempt to gain that incredible resemblance to famous people, L-brain people are prepared to have serious cosmetic surgery just to make their noses look like Nicole Kidman or to have the chin of Kirk Douglas.
- In an organisation or society that promotes extensive L-brain skills (e.g. specialising in a particular field), the people become more and more alike in their appearance and behaviour (known as isomorphism).
- L-brain people are extremely good at highlighting differences in themselves and around them. If the differences are seen as a disadvantage in their minds, L-brain people are more likely to find ways to avoid or eliminate them. If the differences are seen as advantageous in their minds, L-brain people are likely to reinforce those differences and even try to model those differences in their lives with incredible precision. However, problems can arise when L-brain people cannot value differences as needed for balance as well as to be aware of the possible danger in taking certain L-brain behaviours to the extreme through regular and unremitting reinforcement. In other words, L-brain people (especially at a young age) may soon forget or are not aware of where balance should be and so will tend to show behaviours designed to avoid negative differences or reinforce positive differences to the extreme (e.g. constant arguments where no one ever listens to each other, anorexia, bolemia, people dressing up in clothes of the opposite sex nearly all the time, constantly criticising people etc).
- Emphasising differences in things and people are often important for L-brain people to the point where social hierarchies are created. This is necessary to help certain L-brain people survive more easily by getting other people (i.e. the ones described as being different or less important) to do things in the way they want. Thus in a L-brain society, L-brain people are more likely to treat certain other people differently in order to emphasise who is more important than whom and therefore who should make all the decisions. But if certain people are treated as if unimportant for a long time, serious social problems will develop in this hierarchical system (e.g. racism, crime, lower and middle class etc).
- L-brain people with a strong awareness of differences around them are usually quite happy to juggle around and change a whole variety of things in the environment and with other people first before changing themselves through the process of thinking. They do this because it helps them achieve a familiar, perhaps attractive and comfortable pattern in the environment for them to live in.
- There is very little effort made by L-brain people to learn where they are going other than what they know works best for them. L-brain people's understanding of goal(s) extend no further than what they expect to see and are familiar to them.
- L-brain people will talk endlessly of how important it is to change themselves a lot (e.g. the idea of introducing true sustainability in the face of serious environmental problems), but somehow never get around to making those changes. Or if they do, the changes are minor and usually are imposed on other people and the environment while the L-brain types continue to maintain what they are familiar with or feel most comfortable and stable for them (i.e. the comfort zone). This is where the idea of social inertia comes from. When change does happen, it is the L-brain types in society (especially the older ones) who are likely to take the longest to adapt to the change if it is unfamiliar or different to anything they have encountered before. Only if they are put into a survival position will L-brain people quickly adapt to a new way of thinking (more easily done by younger types).
Dog owners of the L-brain types are known to show off their dogs in public and participate at dog shows. In dog shows, L-brain people may go to the extreme in presenting their dogs in a way that looks attractive in their own and hopefully other people's eyes. For example, shaving the hair off parts of a poodle's body is all part of the L-brain way of changing what a L-brain person sees in the environment in an attempt to beautify something in his/her eyes as much as possible.
- L-brain people may be unable to look beyond what they can observe directly through their eyes (or ears since this is the next important sensor for L-brain people when analysing the world). Thus issues relating to death, for instance, is too hard to contemplate and often give up and think nothing will ever happen after death. If we cannot see what happens after death, then there is nothing to look forward to, so why not enjoy the here-and-now moment, use up the available resources, buy whatever we can, and live it up to the fullest in a materialistic sense.
- Any mysterious and potentially new phenomenon that cannot be directly observed by L-brain types in a position of authority, even if other people claim to have seen them, are more likely to ignore the indirect evidence, thinking the phenomenon does not exist and the people who claimed to have seen them are "making it up" or are misidentifying the situation for something more familiar and observed by everyone.
- L-brain people will only look for and believe in things that are concrete, real and observable and fits into their view (or paradigm) of the world.
- L-brain people think they must fit in with what is. Rarely do they think about how to create the thing that they would like to be.
- L-brain people firmly believe everyone must see or perform things in the same way as they do (or at least as they want them to). L-brain people usually have this kind of expectation with other people because this is how L-brain people have learnt to survive. This is often called "stereotyping" or putting people in "pigeon holes".
- If you try to pose a hypothetical situation to L-brain people where they are asked to use their imagination when solving a problem, they are quick to put up boundaries by saying it is not possible to do this or that rather than entertain themselves a little by imagining what else is possible. L-brain people don't trust their imagination as much as they do their rational thinking and observational skills.
- L-brain people are often described as the ones who expect (or need to observe) others doing something first before giving them what they need and/or want.
- L-brain people are the ones who will often say, "You must pay for everything that you use, even the air that you breathe", or "There is no such thing as a free lunch. You must earn it by doing the work in the areas we choose (while still insisting that you do have a choice!) and, if you do exactly as you are told and we are satisfied of the good, hard work you have done within the time frame and quality we expect you to do it all, then we may give you what you need to help you buy that lunch".
- L-brain people tend to believe in conditional love. If they see that you do the right thing in their eyes, they will give you the love. If you don't, there is no love given even if you find an original and better way of doing something for the benefit of others. Well, unless, of course, L-brain types can see a benefit to themselves as well (e.g., can make them rich or happy in some specific and observable way).
- L-brain people believe the more you acquire materialistically from others and the environment (i.e. acquire more observable or known patterns), the more valuable you are to society.
- L-brain people like to gather new facts from very specific and established sources. Rarely, if ever, do they "explore" more obscure sources for possible clues or new insights, no matter how unusual or bizarre the sources may seem.
- L-brain people prefer to work with and communicate symbolically (through spoken words and print) their specialised knowledge and views with a small group of well-known, specialised and like-minded people. However, if the knowledge is not too specialised, L-brain people are likely to develop a large network of friends. The relationships among friends are usually enough to achieve something the L-brain person wants or needs.
- L-brain people believe everyone should work in a team including doing things as expected of each other without a hint of creativity or the slightest departure from the norms. Rarely would there be enough individuality and creativity in the members of the team to try a different and possibly better approach to solving problems.
- When L-brain people communicate, their eyes are almost always open and focused on the person they are talking to as if they don't need to think too much about certain issues because of their confidence in their rigid paradigms.
- L-brain people can see the specifics to a problem with great detail and exactness, but may have difficulty in relating all the specifics to a complete, simplified and unified picture in the mind. For example, when a L-brain person tries to build the parts to a complicated device and put it together quickly for selling to consumers, there are likely to be many quality control problems such as certain parts failing before their expected time. This is because how all the parts should be constructed and put together properly as a big picture (i.e. the device) is not thought out properly and carefully.
- L-brain people prefer to see, organise and perform things and events they are familiar with in an "open" (i.e. with a beginning and ending) linear fashion, and often over short time frames (i.e. doing many things and in doing them on a day-by-day basis without worrying about long-term goals or visions) and often cannot live without their organisational tools such as timepieces and computers.
- L-brain people are often concerned about the long-term future when other people make grand visions (requiring the use of the R-brain). L-brain people tend to communicate their fear in terms of how much will it cost, will the benefits be real and substantial or a figment of the imagination, how they fit in the picture, and will it affect their position of power and financial capacity to earn.
Inexperienced and some R-brain consultants are often taken advantage by L-brain clients who want to be ruthless in saving time and money to complete a project. L-brain clients will only want to pay for what a consultant does on a project by way of actual activity performed. So if a consultant must first think of a solution, L-brain clients would only want to pay for the implementation of a solution, not the time to think about the solution. Also, to minimise time and money, they need to see work itemised in considerable detail so they can niggle on any aspect to help further cutback on the costs. The technique of itemising work performed may help to ensure other L-brain consultants don't take advantage of clients. But to R-brain consultants, they always give an honest assessment of the full time to think, try out ideas, and implement the best solution to any given problem.
L-brain consultants are usually the ones who will produce any quick solution that "does the job" for the clients and nothing more, and later do what they can to maximise the money they can receive. R-brain consultants always prefer to spend extra time creating a quality solution (with flexibility, ease of expansion, good design, etc) to the point where the solution can become a commercially saleable product for the clients and perhaps to the consultant as well.
This is sometimes why R-brain consultants are happy to live frugally on much lower payments so long as they are free to have as much time as possible to produce a quality solution. Later, if the product is sold commercially and produces reasonable incomes, R-brain consultants usually receive royalties for their efforts.
NOTE: Many consultants who come from Defence or areas where working to tight constraints in time, money and other resources is necessary because other people's lives are dependent on it, usually work on this L-brain approach. Their widespread presence helps clients to believe this is normal and should be applied in all projects.
- L-brain people's idea of challenging themselves is trying to do many things at once within tight deadlines in an area they have expertise in. In other words, challenging themselves is doing things they are familiar with in greater amounts over a short period of time. Doing something really different is not part of the challenge.
- L-brain people prefer to have an ending and a beginning so they can measure something, work out how to make something from beginning to end and to do it efficiently, and eventually sell it in large numbers to other people to help them make a profit. Costs are minimised at the end part of the process by not recycling (i.e. let other people handle the waste if they want, or else let nature deal with it). Anything that is easily recycled and re-made by the masses are usually frowned upon by L-brain people. Unless the rebuilding part is complicated or the resources are limited, L-brain people want to control the thing they make and determine how much it should be sold to others. Where resources are limited, services relying on the things L-brain people make have to go through a process known as the user-pays system.
- The presence of timepieces is a good indication of how L-brain a society might become. When the whole population of say a country town revolve around the town clock to keep the time and help dictate people's daily activities, you can be sure much of the population will display strong L-brain behaviours, including well manicured gardens, clean streets, fences around well-defined properties etc.
- Because L-brain people have a somewhat linear view of the world based on what they can narrowly and directly observe with their own eyes, they are likely to have a fear of endings, especially if it has to do with their own death. That's why L-brain people tend to value life more acutely than any other personality type. So in the event of a major disaster, L-brain people are more likely to panic and try to save themselves over all others by either fighting or running away from the situation.
- L-brain people often suffer at the time of their death more than usual because they have to leave behind all the things they have acquired throughout life (e.g. family members, favourite items of clothing etc). That's why it is important to comfort L-brain people at the time of their death and let them know their things, family members, friends and everyone else will be taken care of. To suffer less, L-brain people need to learn how to let go of as many things as possible so it will be easier to die and suffer less at time of death.
- L-brain people find it easy and enjoyable to write a highly detailed encyclopedia of information about a particular subject. Books written by L-brain people will often contain many technical terms and very few pictures. Instruction manuals written by L-brain people tend to be very large, "heavy-going" books and often contain more information than is required to learn about something.
- L-brain people love to design intricate and detailed gardens in geometrical designs with straight lines. Often it will have box hedges to mark out borders or edges. A lot of maintenance is required to maintain the detail. The garden is often designed to show man's effort to control and become master of the natural forest outside.
- L-brain people love to combine several existing words into one word, create new words never seen in the dictionary, or use big or sophisticated adjectives of more than two syllables, such as "incentivising", "viewsers" and "infolution" as if this is a sign of greater intelligence.
Adjectives are being overused and create more problems than they solve in writing. British novelist and dramatist, Keith Waterhouse, agrees with this view. He said:
"An adjective should not raise questions in the reader's mind, it should answer them. Angry informs. Tall invites the question, how tall? The well-loved phrase "his expensive tastes ran to fast cars" simply whets the appetite for examples of the expensive tastes, and the makes and engine capacities of the fast cars.
Adjectives used for effect should not be too clapped-out to evoke anything in the reader's mind: grim timetable of death, vital clues, brutal murder, hush-hush inquiry no longer add very much to the nouns they accompany." (2)
L-brain people are particularly sensitive to, and feel they must do something about, negative words or ideas they think is being used against them. Instead of seeing the words as just an opinion and perhaps an opportunity to understand and learn other people's point-of-view or seeing through the words, L-brain people are more likely not to walk away. Instead, they would prefer to deal with the hurtful words through direct physical action (i.e. change the environment of people and places before changing themselves).
For example, many general supporters of the religion of Islam are described by psychologists as the L-brain types because of their sensitivity to those words that would appear to go against their religious beliefs. As The Canberra Times reported on 23 November 2002:
"LAGOS: More than 50 people were stabbed, bludgeoned or burned to death during violent demonstrations in the northern city of Kaduna.
The protests were triggered by a newspaper article suggesting Islam's founding prophet might have chosen a wife from among contestants in the Miss World beauty pageant in Nigeria." (3)
- If L-brain people are asked to teach a subject to students, there would be a lot of talking and "doing" exercises to help students learn.
- If they can see a way to achieve it, L-brain people will be happy to reduce the time frames for learning, working and/or playing (since L-brain people often feel confident in applying their acquired beliefs) and will enjoy cramming as much information and activities as possible in a short space of time.
Speechwriter Peggy Noonan wrote in The Examined Life in the Digital Age, a collection of essays from the Forbes magazine, how the amount of free time is shrinking and how quickly it is becoming a valuable commodity in itself that must be bought. Leisure, sleep and good thinking time are now scheduled activities or must be paid for, with work both at home and in the office taking out a large slice of our life.
Even school students, the ones who need all the sleep they can get to learn effectively, be creative and grow into healthy and balanced adults, are now having to start school earlier and finish later like never before. And the homework is keeping students awake for longer to complete the work set before them.
Now latest research into the brain as conducted by Howard Nusbaum, a professor of psychology at the University of Chicago, has shown sleep is vital to good memory. We need sleep to help turn the mind inwards and start subconsciously interweaving our daily information through dreams and thoughts to the point where we can remember and retain the information better and for longer.
Robert Stickgold, assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, said:
"We know from recording brain waves of sleepers that the brain keeps working while we sleep. What's it doing? The most logical conclusion is that it's processing information received during the day.
...the fundamental purpose of sleep is to catch up on processing information received during waking hours. Parts of the brain that do this are not available when you are awake; they are busy with other tasks.
That's a reason to take a nap during the day. It helps clear out the brain's 'inbox' and integrates that information into memory. During most of history, humans took siestas for this purpose. Modern men and women are perhaps the only advanced species of animal that goes 16 hours or more a day without a nap." (Cromie, William J. Just sleep on it: And empty the brain's 'in box': Harvard University. 26 October 2000.)
Perhaps with the exception of people in the Mediterranean region, such as Spain.
Further experiments have also shown sleep helps the brain to sort out the relevant from the irrelevant information and then decides subconsciously to remove the irrelevant, leaving behind the core information you need for daily living. As Stickgold said:
"That's as it should be. Your memory isn't large enough to store all the minor things you experience every day." (Cromie, William J. Just sleep on it: And empty the brain's 'in box': Harvard University. 26 October 2000.)
Again perhaps with the exception of savants with photographic memory ability that somehow is able to retain more details than the average human brain. Unless there is a way to block one side of the brain or the other and feed the right information to the other side where it may go straight into long-term memory (i.e. the cortex), it seems the purpose of combining L- and R-brain and merge the information into the frontal cortex to form dreams is to help process and simplify the vast amount of information into what's relevant and important for survival.
Once the relevant information is brought out, it needs to be linked to the rest of memory to help the individual remember and retain the information for longer. This is where dreams come into the picture. The deeper you dream and the more vivid are your dreams, you more likely you will remember and retain the information.
This may explain why nightmares or the most intense and pleasurable dreams tend to be remembered when you wake up.
Once it is remembered, you can recall the memory of the previous day for the things that are relevant. It comes as a thought created in the hippocampus region deep in the brain. As soon as you apply thinking skills to this thought, you are actually applying the frontal cortex, L- and R-brain to the thought, helping you to see relationships with other memory and further pick out relevant information.
What all this research means is that the current approach taken by the Western education system to cram as much new information as possible into student's heads and reinforcing it with regular homework lasting late into the night must change.
If getting people into jobs is the only aim for all this cramming of information, why bother? We know there is going to be many different types of jobs out there and we don't know the type of jobs we might be interested in or can do. But do we need to cram so much information to prepare ourselves for a job in society? Why not teach the essential knowledge in the most emotionally interesting way possible of how to communicate (i.e. read, write and speak with confidence) and interact with other human beings (i.e. the basics of psychology), and one subject from the areas designed to develop the L- and R-brain (e.g. mathematics and the arts). Then direct students to the areas needed by society to fill the jobs.
Students can choose the areas of interest based on the side of the brain they are more comfortable with. But within those areas, students can straightaway learn the jobs needed by society. If there are other subjects to learn, students will be eager to learn them once they know the type of job they will do for society.
If society is looking for students to expand the knowledge of little known areas, introduce the students to the edges of human knowledge and experience. Let students decide whether or not to explore those areas further so long as society supports them.
Quality and simplified information and more sleep and play (to organise new information in the brain and maintain imagination for longer) are considered more important. Want new insights into the mysteries of the universe? Fine. Lead students to those new experiences where it can spark their own imagination to learn and seek the truth. Once the foundations of knowledge are remembered (the tools for the L-brain), it becomes easier and faster for students to learn the skills of a new job, or gather new information when understanding something mysterious.
Such an approach will also mean a change in the way adults work and earn a living. If adults are to perform better, adults need sleep. Consistently working overtime or not having time to get extra sleep will force more and more adults to think in a L-brain way of doing the same things. Learning new ideas then becomes poor or not understood to be relevant, and then people do not change the way they do things.
NOTE: Private schools are notorious for providing excessive amounts of homework compared to public schools. Their emphasis is to cram as much information as possible into students' brains in areas relevant to the economy. On the other hand, public schools facing limited funding have a tough time presenting quality and interesting subjects in a creative way to students. You would be lucky to get students attending classes in public schools. On the other hand, private schools receive considerable funding. In return, students receive higher quality resources such as the latest computers and well-equipped libraries. But students are forced to go to school and learn if they don't want to be expelled or get into trouble with their parents who are paying through the nose for school fees. It is an atmosphere filled with fear if you don't do as you are told.
Not exactly the kind of environment conducive to learning for the students.
There was a time when schools would normally start at 9.00am or perhaps later and then finish at 2.30pm. About 15 years ago, the school times were 8.30am to 4.30pm. Now, in many North American schools, students are having to attend the classroom between 7.00am and 5.00pm, and this does not include the hefty homework schedules that can keep students working after midnight. If there is any social life, it is usually on the internet with friends or on a Friday or Saturday night at the cinemas.
The consequence of this L-brain approach to education is simple. A number of students walk into class like zombies who can't keep their heads above the school desk. They perform poorly or get average results in class tests. Then many students don't have the time to have a good breakfast, or to sit down and think about the high priority education in life instead of being forced to learn absolutely everything which could end up being wasted education as information changes over time.
And all this because our L-brain society wants to cram information as well as disrupting our natural sleeping patterns (by reducing the number of hours we can sleep). All this promotes L-brain behaviours and skills in the students who must follow this approach.
NOTE: Sleep may constitute leisure time and therefore wasted time according to L-brain people, but this is really the crucial time for the brain to sort and record important events of the day and try to relate them to other parts of our memory for effective learning and later effective thinking and problem-solving powers. It is also the time to creatively see new solutions. However, thinking and sleeping are not the same things. Time is still needed to think about the things we do and what we learn in a proper way. Sleep draws more of our creativity to find original solutions as well as recording important events and ideas into memory.
Adequate sleep and thinking are among the most important secrets to developing a happy, intelligent, creative, rational and psychologically well-balanced human being. You only need to talk to the top-class achievers and geniuses to understand this issue clearly. This is not a question of excessive material benefits that makes geniuses. Being rich is not the issue. It is about a lifestyle choice of having the extra time to think, sleep and play with what we've learned and this, together with love, helps to develop our creativity for creating a quality solution.
As TMP Worldwide in Sydney found in an Internet survey of 4000 Australian employees, over 35 per cent of workers were happy to sacrifice part of their pay for perks. And many of the perks would be in the form of lifestyle benefits such as flexible hours and extra time to do different things of a more creative nature instead of work all the time. Material benefits like paid lunches were considered less important to the workers than having these lifestyle changes. (4)
18 May 2006
The Australian ABC television program Catalyst mentions how it may be possible to improve your intelligence by drinking coffee. It is based on the idea that the caffeine in coffee keeps you awake for longer, therefore making you more intelligent over time. What is really happening is that less sleep means more L-brain skills development. You become slightly more L-brain intelligent. It does not necessarily give you highly effective problem-solving skills. You'll need more R-brain skills to balance the L-brain skills. And ultimately this means more time to think, relax, sleep and just being creative and different. And you must have the curiosity (i.e. intelligence) and interest (the emotional component) to ask the right questions before you can solve the problems.
- L-brain people are renowned for their ability to take the literal meaning of something exactly as they see it through their eyes. Rarely do they think about something first and find out whether there might be a hidden and more appropriate or correct meaning or interpretation for what is being observed. For example, many L-brain "fundamental" Christians (and even muslims in Islam) will often follow precisely what their Bible (or the Koran) says as if this is a precise historical text including the miraculous resurrection of Christ, the virgin birth, and so on. But by thinking about it, one would realise that the slightly more "balanced" people who wrote the Bible were poor people who were oppressed by the highly L-brain, very organised and rich Romans. They needed to find ways to communicate their "balanced" ideas they've learnt from certain talented "balanced" individuals without giving away their true meaning which could get them into trouble with the Roman authorities. So it is likely they spoke symbolically using a system that allowed others who understood the system to interpret what is really hidden in the text and which is beyond their eyes. Furthermore, certain words may have different meanings and can only be understood by referring those words to their cultural and historical context. Therefore certain words we may understand in the current context could be completely misinterpreted according to the original writers of nearly 2000 years ago. And sometimes, it may be easier to get the essence of the message in all the stories, whether or not there is some basis to historical events,which is really the principle of love and the unity of the universe (something for which many religions in the world need to focus on).
- L-brain people enjoy putting things and events, including people, into "boxes". They are happy to put up fences or borders around their homes, define political boundaries around their territory, develop laws for appropriate behaviour, or stereotype people and treat them in a specific way using certain words or actions.
- To support these "boxes", L-brain people will go to extraordinary lengths to prove they exist and show how different and disadvantageous (or advantageous) these boxes are to life. They will even fight and go to war, use nuclear weapons or whatever just to support their beliefs instead of learning to work with others, show similarities between people, and/or at least understand the advantages of our differences, and then achieve common goal(s) by sharing and co-operating with one another using those differences instead of competing and telling people what to do all the time.
- Because L-brain people tend to uphold stringent and specific "commonly held" behaviours considered "normal" in their eyes, they will often rudely stare at (and sometimes imitate in the old "Monkey see, monkey do" approach) those behaviours in other individuals which they consider different, especially if they do not understand the reason(s) behind the differences. Rarely do they improve the situation by asking questions, showing appropriate behaviour and reinforcing it positively with adequate and quality unconditional support for long periods of time, or at least learning to tolerate or not dwell on the differences or to try to see the positive aspects in the differences.
- L-brain people are usually ruthlessly efficient and quick to produce and do things in quantity thanks to their highly specific beliefs or patterns they have acquired and are able to implement with relative ease.
Doing things quickly may have its benefits, but it can pose problems for society as well. If the L-brain person wants to do something quickly, for instance, there is a risk he/she may not spend the time to think about his/her action properly (possibly because there is a need to save money and time for the L-brain person).
For example, you may hear of stories where a government department or business operator tries to quickly solve a problem by dumping toxic soil or other concentrated rubbish from an industrial area into another area without thinking about the action carefully and how it may affect other people and the natural environment.
This is not unusual behaviour for L-brain people.
- L-brain people find it easy to work long hours doing a repetitive job, but may find it difficult to "think outside the square" or try something different in an attempt to find alternative ways of doing things.
- L-brain people prefer to be associated with winners and are happy to compete with others to show who is better than whom. For example, business people in places like New York often compete with one another to show who can construct the tallest and/or biggest building.
Because L-brain people prefer to observe things directly, they tend to have a greater appreciation of the good outer appearance of various things rather than their substance, inner health and character (or what is below the surface such as a quality, stable and truly useful product or certain long-term personal qualities such as trust and integrity, or the health of people). For example, L-brain people tend to love seeing clean and well-organised uniforms, charisma or good looks, lots of fancy advertising and product designs without much substance behind it in order to create a good perception of something (e.g. show fully-furnished and completed townhouses, but nothing by way of how they were constructed and what they currently look like without the fancy furniture and other items). L-brain people may even somehow find the money to fix up the appearance of buildings and roads in universities, schools, the central areas of towns and cities despite these people complaining of insufficient money for education, health, the Arts etc. Even in the popular music industry, young men and women and not necessarily chosen for their good voices, but more to do with their good appearance.
Another classic L-brain obsession with good outer appearance is in cosmetic surgery where one slightly out-of-place wrinkle on the face or slightly sagging breasts is enough to send many L-brain people to the nearest plastic surgeon. Author and the Associate Professor of Media Studies at Sydney University, Catharine Limby, has noticed this remarkable social trend among people psychologists describe as the L-brain types today. She said:
"There is this incredible hypocrisy where nobody is supposed to admit that appearances matter, but how someone looks has a huge impact on what kind of role people are assigned in society." (5)
Psychologists describe this obsession with good outer appearance as part of a L-brain person's low self-esteem or the taking advantage of this low self-esteem of others by other L-brain types we call marketing experts, business people, politicians and so on.
Because of this particular power that outer appearance can have on L-brain people, certain jealous L-brain types will try to alter the appearance of other people close to them in order to make them less attractive to others. For example, it is not unusual for L-brain men to try to make their girlfriends or wives fatter, wear clothing to cover virtually all parts of the body (as is most common in Islamic societies), or have less confidence in themselves in the hope of making them less attractive to other men.
- L-brain people believe certain things that are important to them should come first and be kept that way at all times. For example, L-brain people who love being with other people and thus are more likely to create children of their own, will almost invariably place their children first at all times, irrespective of whatever sickness or danger they may put themselves in.
- L-brain people radiate stability (or predictability in behaviour despite the changes they make to the environment and other people) because they stringently rely on their seemingly stable and supposedly accurate patterns in memory called beliefs for their own survival. For example, it is not unusual to see a L-brain person (e.g. the Australian Prime Minister John Howard) still wearing his/her own type of clothes (such as an Akubra hat and shoes) even when visiting a Moslem temple in another country. Instead of physically experiencing what other people go through, L-brain people are more likely to stick to what they are comfortable or believe for themselves.
- L-brain people often say there is only one specific way of doing things and expect others to follow the same way. If not, you will be discriminated and treated differently.
If you do not do something as quickly and/or in the way a L-brain person wants, you will often be classified as "a lazy bastard who is good for nothing" or "you are not doing what you are told and therefore you are anti-social or schizoid" or "trying to escape reality".
A L-brain person will also believe that your method of doing things, if seen as different, has to be "wrong" and "going against the status quo/system" instead of seeing it as another way of doing things having its own set of distinct advantages (some of which could end up solving many of the problems created by the conventional way of doing things if we look at all the methods employed more closely).
In order to get people to do things in a certain "preferred" L-brain acceptable and "standardised" way, L-brain people are well-known for their manipulative skills in social situations. They will try to get people into certain situations through techniques of entrapment (e.g. not telling the truth or not telling everything that needs to be said). Then to ensure people follow a particular path or approach in life, they may pretend they have listened to your circumstances and why you must deviate slightly from the norm, and then later blame you for not listening and focussing on what they wanted when they see your results.
Thus it would not be unusual for L-brain people to convincingly lie to someone about something, or suddenly change their story from what was verbally agreed, or to make changes in the environment and so on, just to get their way (or a commonly accepted way of doing things by L-brain people) instead of letting people live and apply their own ways of doing things. In essence, we classify this social behaviour of manipulating other people as interference.
## EXAMPLE ##
A highly L-brain car mechanic discovers a nice second-hand sports car from an owner who only wants a service done on it. The mechanic wants to buy the car. He casually mentions to the owner his interest in buying it in a roundabout manner like "Do you intend to sell the car one day?" If the owner chooses not to sell the car, the mechanic will interfere with the owner and influence his/her decision by doing things like loosening the heat shields on the exhaust pipe so it can rattle. The double exhaust pipes may also appear loose as well and may be described by the mechanic as requiring replacement. The owner thinks it is necessary and so he/she spends the money. The mechanic installs an inappropriate single exhaust pipe for the sports car only to break the flange casket because of minor blockages making it difficult to start the car and for the exhaust fumes to escape. Replacements may also take an extraordinarily long time and unusually expensive. Unusually high numbers of repairs will appear in the car over the next 12 to 24 months such as one of the brake pads wearing down quicker than usual because the mechanic has adjusted the calipers on it. In the end, the mechanic hopes the owner will see the value of supporting the mechanic's belief that selling the car to him is the only way to go. This is an example of how L-brain people can influence the environment and people to get what they want instead of learning to be honest and doing the right thing by other people.
In the extreme case where L-brain people (i.e. usually the well-supported and older types in a L-brain society who want to maintain the way things are) cannot force certain individuals to follow a particular path they want (e.g. make hints to others of joining the defence force, get a L-brain type of job, or to play the L-brain game of life such as being greedy and being sociable in the way L-brain people want it), most male L-brain people are more likely to employ bullying and violence to get what they want.
Female L-brain types, on the other hand, are not likely to resort to physical violence. Women know men are physically stronger. Rather, they would prefer to employ equally painful methods of emotional blackmail, embarrassing someone in public (e.g. admonishing the person) etc to achieve what they want. On occasions, L-brain females may initially use sex as a means of controlling and manipulating people in doing what the females want. But later it becomes more emotional and psychological abuse. For example, a L-brain female trying to get her own way will attempt to ignore another person's current situation and then set the example herself or show "orphaned nanny" look and keep doing it in the hope the other person will feel guilty and take the hint. In extreme situations, she will probably do this with a nasty look on her face or cry controllably to a situation set up by her until she gets what she wants and only then, quite unexpectedly, she miraculously changes to a nice person. Psychologists call this the Dr Jeckyll and Mr Hyde behaviour of social manipulation.
The point is, females can be just as manipulative and abusive as men and should always be considered a reality in some situations when understanding human L-brain behaviour.
In general, L-brain people (both men and women) are likely to do things such as pretending they have heard you but still blame you later for deviating on what they want. L-brain people will attempt to highlight negative aspects in the individuals in public in an attempt to socially humiliate or embarrass them as much as possible (a feat not likely to affect R-brain people as they are not perturb by such action in social situations). L-brain people will be quite happy to mimic and exaggerate certain behaviours so as to point out differences in the individuals concerned and basically try to make them look bad in society.
L-brain people may also force others into survival situations where they either do the right thing as L-brain people want (thereby proving their own world-view but not necessarily the true reality) or force them to commit a crime or some other negative social activity. In this way, L-brain people can "prove" to others their own claim about the individual and/or send them to prison or a mental institution to get rid of the problem.
L-brain people will also apply their well-crafted L-brain skills to deliberately "complicate the real issue" or speed up certain tasks for you to do so as to force certain individuals to rely on L-brain people's own beliefs or to restrict people in making balanced and correct decisions unless it is in the way the L-brain people want. This is done by talking and writing in a seemingly rational and highly complex way as a means of hiding the real issues. It can also be done by reducing timeframes to complete work to unacceptable levels (while hoping people will not notice). It is hoped that this will confuse the person and convince him/her of not thinking rationally enough, and so hopefully change them in some way.
In the final analysis, L-brain people who fail to achieve all of these kinds of manipulative activities through violence or other means on certain individuals will ultimate try to eliminate the individuals from society by either getting them to commit suicide (usually successful with other L-brain types), send them to prison by entrapping the individuals in criminal activity, and/or create supposed "accidents" which, to them, will hopefully bring death to those individuals in order to get their own supposedly "balanced" way.
On the other side of the coin, the individual who receives this poor L-brain treatment will also behave according to which side of the brain is dominant. For example, R-brain types can "withstand" tremendous amounts of abuse from others and yet somehow still manage to continue through life. Perhaps they might be very shy and rarely socialise. But they are happy. It is as if their imagination is able to create a world that somehow ignores the actions and behaviours of L-brain people around them. Or somehow R-brain people get stronger as they develop an understanding of why L-brain people do what they do. In extreme situations, R-brain people are not afraid to be sacrificed in the hands of L-brain people if it means changing the behaviour of L-brain people to a more loving and caring one.
However, for L-brain individuals who crave similar things to other L-brain people but yet somehow still don't fit in with society or the group, continual abuse and mistreatment would see L-brain individuals react and affect the environment of people and objects around them in often destructive means. For example, on 20 April 1999, students Eric Harris and Dyland Kiebold took it on their own to solve the social problem of discrimination and poor treatment from others by shooting students and teachers at Columbine High School in Denver, Colorado, USA. The reason for taking such action can be understood when you read the entry in Harris' journal barely two weeks before the killings:
"I hate you people for leaving me out of so many things. You had my phone, and I asked you and all, but no, no, no don't let that weird looking Eric kid come along. I hate people and they better...fear me." (Reid, T.R. Inside Columbine killers' mind: The Sydney Morning Herald. 8-9 July 2006, p.21.)
And fear they should as Harris and his classmate Kiebold went on a rampage killing 12 students and one teacher, and injuring many others.
This kind of extreme L-brain behaviour in a social context, both those who manipulate and those who react, is considered quite normal to L-brain people.
- L-brain people believe in the idea of change, but not in stability. Yet, strangely enough, they tend to value stability in human behaviour (especially their own) and in their own environment they want to live in, rather than changeable ones, if it fits within their belief system!
- L-brain people tend to believe in the idea of change in others and the environment but not in themselves. But where others are like themselves in the way they think and communicate, even right down to the type of environment created by L-brain types (highly organised, intricate etc.) and fits with what they believe, stability is the thing L-brain types truly believe for themselves.
- L-brain people tend to believe in the power of many people as if quantity and great numbers of something is the best way to achieve all things in life. But what is not understood by L-brain people is how a group of people working together to do the same sorts of things in the achievement of a standard, unchanging goal (i.e. like sheep following each other), can create many problems. Sometimes great numbers of something requires at least one creative and independent R-brain individual to influence a group and try a new approach to doing things in order to avoid the problems.
- L-brain people will often say, "More means more!"
- When L-brain people talk to each other, there is almost no time to pause and think about what they are going to say. It is almost like when one L-brain person ends his/her conversation, the next L-brain person suddenly begins his/her own conversation like two computers talking at high speed to each other. This is achieved because L-brain people have well-programmed ways of communicating which makes it easy to recognise, recall and talk in a seemingly spontaneous manner.
- L-brain people are usually outgoing and sociable types and will therefore often say, "It is not what you know, but who you know that matters".
A classic example of this may be seen in the employment section of newspapers in many westernised and developed countries. While an increasing number of jobs are based on strong L-brain skills such as oral communication and repetitive/measurable tasks to be performed in very rigid and short timeframes, it is an unwritten rule that people will often advertise job vacancies because they are required to do so by law as well as emphasise to readers that the job application process is based on merit. But in truth, for a L-brain society, unless readers know someone in the area where the vacancy exists or have enough people outside the area to support them and their claims for the job, it is unlikely the readers --will get the job based on knowledge (or even experience) alone.
This kind of approach to life in Western society is a form of discrimination against R-brain people.
L-brain people would want to always be at the front of the pack. You see this in daily life with L-brain people driving their cars in a manner that involves unnecessary risk-taking such as speeding and overtaking regularly in an attempt to get ahead of the pack or to reach their destination first before anyone else does. Of course, being in front of others might give them the impression they are leaders and therefore will justify staying in this position by saying they are great communicators and therefore know what they are talking about.
Yes, they may be good talkers. But do they know what they are doing?
- L-brain people will normally look for specific, observable and highly familiar patterns first before scanning for other lesser known patterns around them. Their eyes will quickly focus on one particular item as if searching for something familiar to work from, before moving onto another pattern. And if L-brain people can't find anything familiar, they are likely to ignore everything else as irrelevant.
- L-brain people often think they are sufficiently confident in doing many things quickly and probably all at once if they can. For example, driving to work at high speeds irrespective of whether they are late or not are likely to be talking on a mobile phone and perhaps every now and then scream out a few obscenities to other drivers because they did not fit into the L-brain person's idea of the road rules. This kind of behaviour is known as multitasking or multiskilling. Generally the more tasks you can do simultaneously without needing to think about your actions the more L-brain you will become.
- When L-brain people design, build and paint sculptures, buildings, paintings and so on when applying their own idea of creativity, they are usually very complex, intricate and highly detailed. For example, sculptures and paintings will often be life-like or photographic in nature. In buildings, there will be sections that have many straight lines and may look interesting because of its complexity, but to some people, notably the R-brain types, may be viewed as not serving any real purpose or seems unnecessarily complex for what it is suppose to achieve.
This idea of complexity as being more creative and beautiful than plain and simple concepts is often extended into other areas by L-brain people such as gardening. For example, many L-brain gardeners who propagate new flowering plants will often emphasise the beauty in the multitude of different colours and intricate fine detail in the flower petals. It is as if this multicoloured and multi-textured flower is more important than a pure, single-coloured and simple flower design.
L-brain gardeners are also well-organised and like things to be clean and in their places. Gardens of a L-brain person tend to be well-manicured with strong straight lines by way of paths and rectangular ponds incorporated into the design. Sheds of L-brain people will often have their tools in exact places (probably marked with a label for easier categorisation and memory recall). Because of the cleanliness of L-brain gardens, there is little if any leaf litter to provide a self-recycling fertiliser to the garden plants. Gardeners usually have to purchase fertilisers from a garden centre to help feed the garden plants.
- L-brain people are good at creating small, intricate drawings by hand as if these people believe the drawings tell a bigger story or is more prettier.
- L-brain people love collecting a large number of things. It could include collecting stamps, coins, antiques, books and so on. Also the rarer and more unusual the item, the more valuable it is to them.
- The homes of L-brain people are usually large (like a mansion) with lots of rooms containing many furniture pieces, fine intricate designs in skirtings, glassware and in various items around the room, and there are lots of personal items sitting on mantlepieces (including the large accumulation of photographs of relatives and friends and other sentimental and valuable pieces they associate themselves with regularly) and so on.
- The homes of L-brain people tend to be located in areas where there are lots of other people around them. It is also not surprising to find L-brain people generally living on land that is flat, low-lying or featureless so that they can apply their L-brain skills to change the land and add interest to the place and/or to concentrate mainly on creating and maintaining social relationships with others. A classic place worth noting in this regard are the people who live in the identical-looking box-like multi-storey apartments of industrial cities of England.
L-brain people hate to be alone, even for the briefest periods of time, just to think of something (pleasant or otherwise), or to sit quietly doing absolutely nothing (i.e., almost no energy requirements for this simple task). It is just not in their nature to do so. In fact, in a series of 11 studies, psychologist Timothy Wilson and colleagues at the University of Virginia and Harvard University found that most people of various ages living in America generally do not like the idea of spending as little as 6 minutes alone in a room with nothing more than the grey matter between their ears to think about things, or even to daydream what they wish the future to be or how they might be able to achieve something in a different way, or to fantasise on something naughty. Instead, the participants preferred to interact with the environment and with others, doing external activities like listening to music, watching television, using a smartphone, socialising with people and so on. For some participants, even mild electric shocks are preferable to being alone even if they knew it was a temporary situation. As Wilson said:
"Those of us who enjoy some down time to just think likely find the results of this study surprising I certainly do but in our study, participants consistently demonstrated that they would rather have something to do than to have nothing other than their thoughts for even a fairly brief period of time.
Even older people did not show any particular fondness for being alone thinking.
The mind is designed to engage with the world. Even when we are by ourselves, our focus usually is on the outside world. And without training in meditation or thought-control techniques, which still are difficult, most people would prefer to engage in external activities."
The experiment was conducted with a variety of American participants of different ages placed in an empty room with nothing to stimulate their senses not even a cell phone, reading materials or writing implements to be seen anywhere. The participants were required to spend between 6 and 15 minutes sitting in the room with nothing more than themselves and their thoughts to give them some form of entertainment. Then they were asked questions about how much they enjoyed the experience, if at all, and how well they could concentrate on their own thoughts. It seems very few could handle the situation with ease and relative comfort and enjoyment. Even when a new experiment was carried out to permit participants to stay at home alone to think about things, the results were surprisingly the same.
As Wilson confirms:
"We found that about a third admitted that they had cheated at home by engaging in some activity, such as listening to music or using a cell phone, or leaving their chair. And they didn't enjoy this experience any more at home than at the lab."
It is almost as if many participants have not been properly trained in the American education system to develop a strong frontal cortex system through effective visualisation skills (i.e., a form of thinking) and to see the advantage of this specific brain skill when solving problems in daily life. Rather, the only way most people (at least in America are concerned) can or want to solve problems, or feel most comfortable in the approach, is by seeing the solution in action and then by putting the solution into action themselves in a directly physical and observable way. Could this study explain why a number of American citizens living in poverty or some other negative predicament have trouble changing their circumstances because they simply cannot visualise a new future, a new set of solutions, and how to implement those solutions in order to reach the goals? If so, maybe it is time we provide people with ways to help them see the future in a positive light?
How about employing more 3D technology to show what is possible should new solutions be implemented? Then perhaps it could be possible for more people to embrace more positive and alternative solutions to current problems. Otherwise, if there is any thinking going on in the participants, then Wilson suggests that "when left alone with their thoughts, participants focused on their own shortcomings and got caught in ruminative thought cycles."
If what Wilson is saying is more correct, then it may be merely the fact that society's continuous and unrelenting focus on "change" through constant marketing (i.e., people being bombarded with advertisements) and expecting people to buy "solutions" (or products) is making too many people believe they have lots of personal problems to fix and don't like the thought of being reminded of their own perceived "shortcomings".
Or is it simply the fact that people are not well-trained in the art of using their frontal cortex as an effective problem-solving tool through the power of visualisation and thinking?
Further details of the study can be found in the journal Science, titled "Just think: The challenges of the disengaged mind" published on 4 July 2014.
- L-brain people like using their eyes to see things and make decisions based on what they see, and to do things to act on those decisions. They prefer the hands-on approach while observing directly everything around them.
- When L-brain people are asked to recall an event, they are likely to speak spontaneously and move their eyes mainly towards their top left as if they are recalling whatever is immediately remembered from memory.
- When L-brain people are asked to express their emotions, it is somewhat complicated in what they have to say. L-brain people believe emotions are highly complex and need sophisticated words to express it. You often have to listen very carefully or ask further questions to peel away this complexity just to reveal what they are really feeling inside.
- L-brain people are acutely aware of the chaos and complexity of life and make certain statements suggesting a belief in a highly complex world such as, 'The more we learn, the less we know' and 'Surface complexity arises out of deep simplicity'.
- L-brain people often start with the feeling they can change the world and solve any problem, but later discover they can't because it is too complex.
L-brain people attempt to do many things (and even promote this view to others) early in life but eventually end up doing only a few important things in life with enormous efficiency, precision, accuracy and speed. Whether this is because L-brain people have discovered the complexities of life from a L-brain point-of-view or whatever and have chosen to focus on specific areas is not entirely clear. But one thing is certain: once people become professionals in their chosen profession or specific technical field, it is difficult for L-brain people to change their specific beliefs to in totally opposite and diverse areas. They will only multiskill themselves in their chosen field of expertise. In other words, once you have found something that works and helps you to survive, you no longer need to learn anymore, and anyone who tries to do something else must be wrong. You just stick with what you believe because you think real leadership means staying where you are and in performing the action. But asking L-brain people to do different things would create enormous anxieties and stress for them.
This idea of leadership and success from a purely belief and action point-of-view according to L-brain types is often presented in places like the Army. This is how people are trained to fight and kill. You don't creatively think and learn alternative solutions other than what L-brain types believe how things should be. You just believe and the rest is action (or history repeating itself). That is why ex-military people who end up running a nation will sometimes create a poor decision but choose not to re-evaluate (i.e. think and learn) when presented with new information that shows the serious fundamental flaw in their original decision. These people believe leadership is about sticking to your belief and performing the same action no matter how inappropriate or wrong it might be.
Examples of world leaders who practice this kind of L-brain leadership include Germany's Adolf Hitler when invading Poland and other European nations in the 1940s and US President George W. Bush and his supporter and close ally, Australian Prime Minister Mr John Howard, with their decision to invade Iraq in 2003.
Some L-brain types will try to claim their method of creating leadership is balanced when they include visualisation skills. It is true visualisation is a form of R-brain skills and as such this knowledge when delivered by an eloquent and persuasive L-brain leader would seem to suggest this is the balanced approach. But you have to remember that visualisation can be used to reinforce existing knowledge and past behaviours. What L-brain types don't tell you is that you can also use your visualisation skills to create a new future as well. When you look into the future with your mind based on everything you have learnt and you actively search for alternative solutions, you are creatively thinking in a visual way. When you reinforce a past behaviour or knowledge, you are effectively applying rational thinking in a visual way. To choose the truly correct and balanced path, you must apply both types of thinking to create a new path and one that does not maintain the old ways so long as you are aware of the problems of the past. (6)
L-brain leaders will often say, "I believe this is how it is..." and then immediately act on what they believe. Even when the information forming the foundations of their beliefs is found to be flawed, the L-brain leaders are likely to continue maintaining their beliefs because this is what they think being a leader is all about. R-brain leaders, however, think differently. When they have enough L-brain skills to communicate, the approach is more like "Based on the information I have gathered and learned so far, I think this is how it is. But I am willing to listen to the views of others and gather more information before taking some form of action". The problem is clearly moving into the action stage because of the fear R-brain people have of not doing the balanced thing. But the difference is clear. R-brain leaders are prepared to listen and learn. L-brain leaders are prepared to act and stick to their beliefs.
- Access to quality information needed to formulate quality beliefs is very important for L-brain people. However the emphasis is mainly on very specific and highly established or reputable (according to the views of other L-brain people) sources of information to paint a somewhat complicated yet familiar picture of how a very specific thing works. L-brain people will also tend to rely on observations of these specific sources of information to help gather so-called "new" information and make judgements of how the world should work instead of creatively visualising and producing new sources of information never seen before.
- L-brain people find it easiest to relax when they are using their eyes to read a book (some visualisation although requires the words to paint the picture); listening and watching things on television and radio (again requires more powerful means of dictating the pictures people paint in their minds without the need for creative thinking); initiate their own communication skills by talking to someone; or using their hands to do something precise and/or highly complex in the environment such as knitting, carpentry or whatever.
- L-brain people believe they need to create an unending array of words to describe subtle differences in situations, places and one's emotions. Hence they tend to love certain languages such as English for its complexity and richness in the number of words and think the more words one has the merrier and better their writing and communication.
Do you want to develop L-brain skills?
Despite some potential problems, there are definitely great benefits to be had from developing good strong L-brain skills. Nothing wrong with this at all. If you are one of those people needing to develop L-brain skills, the advice below may help you.
To develop L-brain skills, you need to be more spontaneous in what you do. We suggest trying different things to gain sufficient experience and skills. As you gain confidence in the knowledge acquired and memory of your experiences and skills, your mind and body will be able to start recalling and applying the new patterns you have acquired with great speed and skill. If necessary, use techniques to help you remember these experiences and skills. Then apply yourself to implementing the experiences and skills by doing things (i.e. practical skills).
For a L-brain approach to problem-solving, try the following:
- Be aware of potentially contentious arguments being made by someone.
- Start to be curious by asking the questions "What?", "Why" and "How?" to a particular argument.
- Gather information to answer these questions from all known and available sources, including from potential experts in the field.
- Ask for the reasons and evidence in support of the experts' position or views.
- Organise and categorise these views, especially if there are many different views. See each view as a contention (a statement being asserted by someone). Each contention must have a reason. The reason will have one or more claims in support of the contention. Use green as a colour to mark the ones in support of a contention. Use red to highlight the views against the contention. Try to make sure there is a balance of red and green for every argument where possible.
- Organise and categorise the evidence.
- Look for differences in the things observed or discussed by others in their claims. Are the claims being made logical and solid based on the evidence available?
- Organise and categorise these differences, especially if there are many differences.
- Through these differences you may create your own or discover additional views not considered before. Again you gather the reasons, objections and rebuttals through quotes, statistics and specific events/experiences/experiments in support of these views.
- Soon you will get to a point where you can challenge the views of some experts and other sources or give greater credence to others depending on the evidence gathered. In other words, you use the available evidence to show on the basis of probabilities which views are likely to be correct or not in a process known as reasoning and challenging. From this, you can quickly see which arguments are biased or flawed and therefore should be challenged, and which ones are most probably correct.
- Sometimes your creative skills will see something that no expert has seen before from the available evidence in support of a new view or position. If not...
- You must know in the end the solution(s) to a problem and your reasons together with the evidence in support of your reasons.
before returning to society to present the final facts and evidence.
For example, in the UFO problem, you may be given a contentious view (e.g., some UFOs are alien). So you may approach it from the L-brain side by gathering opinions from potential experts in the field and looking at the statistics. Then you look more closely at the statistics and examples representing the data (i.e., the UFO reports). And as you do, you may discover how some differences will reveal events that do not fit all the data supporting some of the experts' views for some reason. So you delve further, looking for more quotes (since you can't directly observe these unusual UFOs) from original witnesses and other experts. You talk to the original people who made the claims. You talk and listen to a broader range of experts to find out what is really going on. You pick out the different or unusual observations in the claims from these witnesses for comparison with the examples relied in the statistics to support the views of others. You look for alternative explanations to support the differences, even the ones that might seem absurd or unlikely (e.g., aliens visiting the Earth). Then you gather evidence to support the explanations, to see how likely these alternative explanations might be in reality.
It is at this point that you may realise the importance of having some R-brain skills to discover a new pattern or explanation that no one else has considered before. But if not, you present the findings and all the possible solutions and with it, on the basis of probabilities, the most likely solution(s) and their evidence.
To make the skills of critical thinking easier to understand and implement, organising and categorising is the most important technique L-brain people often use. One method is to see the general concepts or categories for a group of things you want to organise. So you would use, for instance, the general category Fruits where you notice a group of different fruits such as bananas, apples and grapes. Therefore you create a general category and place the specific things relating to this category underneath in a hierarchical structure to form what are potentially further sub-categories. We call this abstraction. Eventually you will draw a pyramid-shaped mapping structure of all your categories, subcategories and their specific things you acknowledge as differences.
Now depending on how R-brain or L-brain you are, you may see many similarities from the R-brain side in the so-called different things you want organised and therefore create a shallow pyramid mapping structure on a single page. Or if you are L-brain and see many different categories and no obvious similarities in the various things, the pyramid mapping structure can be deep and complex looking.
For a truly unified and grass roots solution or argument for explaining everything to become obvious to you, you are aiming to make the pyramid as shallow as you can to show you have understood the relationships between all relevant things. If, on the other hand, you are looking for a quick fix solution to a specific problem, a deeper pyramid structure may give you a range of possible short-term solutions.
From this latter approach, L-brain people often develop strong critical thinking skills by listening to a view (especially when they have to in order to change something or themselves, whether from an expert or not), asking why for a reason, listening to the opposing views and their reasons, and looking at the evidence in support of all the reasons through the available and known quotes, statistics and specific events.
Therefore, it is not unusual for L-brain people to develop their skills by working with others and in applying practical skills in making things (e.g. carpentry, performing experiments, reading from various literary sources), in communicating known ideas and stories with various people, and in being in service to others (i.e. doing common everyday things we all take for granted when helping others).