The BRAIN: two processors that make you into the genius you are. Is one of them better than the other?
By Gaëlle Engelberts
The jellylike mass that fills my head fascinates me, especially after watching one of the most popular TED talks titled “Jill Bolte Taylor’s stroke of insight.”
The human brain is made of two hemispheres that are completely separate from each other. The right hemisphere functions like a parallel processor, while the left functions like a serial processor. What does that mean? Well, it seems duality is at the core of our mind since the brain is made of two entities that analyse the world in two very different fashions.
The parallel processor (the right side of your brain) engages in multitasking as it processes incoming stimuli into one single image, feeling, or sensation that you comprehend and understand as the present. The serial processor (the left side of your brain) stores information in an orderly fashion so you keep tab on the past while projecting yourself in the future.
In her TED talk, Taylor explains how she suffered a massive stroke due to a blood clot in her left brain that made her unable to talk, read, and move her right arm. But while her left hemisphere went out of order, her right hemisphere remained functional. Relying only on the side of her brain that deals with real-time stimuli, she entered a beautiful world of sights and sounds where she experienced connectivity with her surroundings.
She became one with the world, an experience that reminds me of an intense spiritual experience or maybe a trip on some brain-altering substance (which I haven’t tried, but believe could send me into an altered state of consciousness). Remember kids, drugs are bad!
Taylor believes people should pay more attention to the information coming out of their right hemisphere, since it helps them connect with the elements surrounding them. It creates a sense of continuity between you and your neighbour, a sense of ubiquity and unity that makes you feel part of a whole.
Taylor advocates more right-brain activity because it brings down boundaries (the independent self) and therefore, she believes, would encourage peace. If you feel as one with your neighbour, you’re probably less likely to hurt him.
Stepping into the consciousness of the right hemisphere isn’t only about bringing peace and goodwill to this world. It is also about become a creative and intuitive being. The problem is that society tends to ask much of our left brain at the expense of our right brain. In school for example, analysis, method, logic, and obedience are key to success while creativity and intuition are important assets, but not essential.
To truly succeed, much more is demanded of one. I have the impression that true fulfilment (and the creation of a better world) is only achieved through greater reliance on the right hemisphere of the brain. You need much more than logic and focus, you also need to guess, imagine, and create. Relying on what you feel not only on what you think.
Take a test to see what side you are on: