Left Brain, Right Brain

We know the human brain is divided between a left lobe and a right lobe. The two lobes are where thinking occurs. The Left lobe is for logic and analysis and right is mostly for emotional thinking. Neither is all good or all bad. The emotional right lobe makes us love our children, helps us to appreciate beauty and aesthetic qualities when we find them. If we are creative in what we say and do it is probably our right brain that supplies it.

It’s better to not be all one with little or none of the other. Robert Frost’s poem, Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening, is a good example of what can be done when both the left and the right brain work together.

Whose woods these are I think I know
His house is in the village though.

Those lines are both analytical and beautiful. So are these:

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Lovely woods that are dark and deep and owned by a man who lives in the village? What can that mean other than this is a poem about a man who sees and appreciates the misterious beauty of dark woods on a snowy evening. For a few moments he leaves the real world and in his mind he enters a dream world where earthly cares and obligations may be set aside.  His right brain is briefly in control but gives way to his left brain taking note that the man to whom these woods are has chosen to live away from them, to live in the village for some reason.

In the final stanza the man on the horse contemplates more than the lovely woods. His own future death is heavily on his mind, but in the meantime he has earthly obligations he must tend to. It’s logical to think of all that one must do in one’s remaining time on this earth, and it’s creative to call it “miles to go before I sleep.”

Frost’s poetry will always stay with us because he created poems by an impressive collaboration between both sides of his brain.

Liberal Brain, Conservative Brain

Liberals have more dopamine than conservatives. This is well established so long as we count people as liberal or conservative only if they self identify as such.

Dopamine does a lot of different things in the human body. A big thing is does is enable us to feel pleasure. It makes us want more of whatever makes us feel good. Higher dopamine levels are dangerous to people who use addictive drugs because it makes you want more of the high you get from the drug.

Everyone should avoid addictive drugs like the plague, but especially liberals. We conservatives, having less dopamine to begin with, usually abstain from all addictive drugs, of which marijuana is one no matter what anyone says. Alcohol is not deemed an addictive drug but alcohol addiction is so pervasive it may as well be.

There’s a better way to get a dopamine high. We’ve all heard of the runners’ high and that it is related to elevated dopamine after a hard run. Running is not the only way to get it. Any vigorous exercise will do if you push yourself enough to breathe hard and sweat profusely. You’ll know you’re doing enough if you need a supply of exercise t-shirts as they wear out quickly from repeated soakings of your body sweat.

Thomas Sowell wrote an excellent book several years ago on the mental processes of two distinctly different ways of thinking. Sowell calls them conflicting “visions” meaning two different ways of seeing the world and how it works. The book is appropriately titled, A Conflict of Visions. The words Sowell uses to describe the two types are those having a constrained vision of the world and those exhibiting an unconstrained vision.

The constrained vision is compatible with being a conservative and the unconstrained vision that of a liberal. Those of a constrained vision of the world understand most things, most decisions we make, as involving some sort of trade off. In order to get something we really want we may have to make a compromise somewhere. In 2008 many people who would self identify as conservative voted for Barack Obama because they believed that would show they aren’t racist. They really wanted to see less racial conflict in America. So even though they would have preferred John McCain on other grounds, they were willing to make the trade off if it would, as they believed, once and for all put racial tensions behind us.

If they’d only known what was going to happen. Racial tension got worse. But at the time there was every reason to believe it would be made better by the first black president. Who knew Obama was not interested in better race relations, and would do many things to rile it up.

Democrats are of a different vision. They are seldom willing to vote for a Republican no matter how much they may not like the Democrat candidate. They believe the world can be made perfect if only people of the leftist political persuasion are in charge. Conservatives don’t believe the world can ever be made perfect, no matter who is running the show. They will vote for any candidate if they believe at least some improvement will result.

It’s all that dopamine that liberals have the makes them want more and more and believe in utopia. Right now they seem to think socialism is the answer even though it has destroyed Venezuela, which used to be the richest country in South America. The true believers think they can fix every malady if only they are given the reins of power. Conservatives disagree because their vision is that while there are many good people in the world there will always be selfish human nature as well. Liberals, on the other hand, talk of selfishness as if it were a disorder easy to fix if only the right people are in charge putting the right policies in place.

All that dopamine liberals have makes them want to control things and people. Conservatives’ lower dopamine levels makes them want to preserve what we have and build on that. Liberals want to tear is all down and start over. Like Venezuela.

More on the brain:

Why Humans Are Susceptible to Ideas Strange and Dangerous

The Ghost In The Machine


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