7. More on the left brain

by Jean Knighton-Fitt

The left or logic brain is our brain of choice in western culture: society is very head centred, very concerned with rationale, argument, and working things out discursively.
Education systems at school teach and train largely towards that end. The world is perceived according to known categories, e.g. Weather is to do with predictable temperature and pressure patterns. A horse is a mammal with a mane and tail. An autumn forest is about a series of colours: green, yellow, gold, red and brown.

As Julia Cameron says: “It is part of our leftover survival brain… the part in charge of deciding if it was safe for us to leave the forest and go out into the meadow. As Censor it will scan the meadow for any dangerous beasties. It works on known principles. Anything unknown is perceived as wrong and possibly dangerous. Logic brain likes things to be neat little soldiers marching in a straight line. Any original thought can look pretty dangerous. The only things it likes are those it has seen often before; safe sentences, not exploratory squiggles. Left brain is responsible for our second, and third and fourth thoughts.”
It is the part of our mind that we listen to when we’re telling ourselves to be sensible.

Day 1: How are you feeling at the moment? What would you most LIKE to do in the next three hours? Think of all the sensible things you are most likely to do instead. If you were able/willing to spontaneously do what you feel like doing, how would it benefit you – perhaps in a right brained sort of way?

Day 2: As a child at school you were often expected to turn out a piece of creative writing during a language period or exam. Write down five topics that you might have been told to write on? What sort of topics did you most enjoy writing on.

Day 3: Because your language ability was evaluated on those writing tasks you probably tried to get them as perfect as possible. That frequent experience of childhood has probably inhibited you so that when you write nowadays you feel you must get it right first time. In actual fact it’s best to write freely the first time, not worry about rules, rather being led by your creative right brain more than by your ‘correct’ left brain. How do you think about that?

Day 4: Despite its tendency to be a bit bossy sometimes, the left brain actually IS very important – once you get to shaping and editing what you’ve written. Things like grammar, punctuation and the removal of double negatives, wordiness and repetition are then important for fine-tuning, so that your meaning comes across properly. Bring in your left brain now to help correct/improve this sentence, and those that follow for the next three days:
*His main reason for resigning is because he is 67 years of age.

Day 5: *The latest fire occurred Sunday night in a basement room used by the school band, causing an estimated R60 000 damage and destroyed 80 band uniforms.

Day 6: *We have no reason to doubt that he will not be able to perform the task.

Day 7: My family and I live in a road mixed with two types of houses, some that are well kept and nurtured by its owners and others that seem to only paint once every decade.