The parasitic left hemisphere - a ramble

The Whisper shared that blew my mind in so many ways was:

" The balance of power has shifted where it cannot afford to go – further and further towards the part-world created by the left hemisphere… the relationship between the hemispheres does not appear to be symmetrical, in that the left hemisphere is ultimately dependent on, one might almost say parasitic on, the right, though it seems to have no awareness of this fact. Indeed it is filled with an alarming self-confidence. The ensuing struggle is as uneven as the asymmetrical brain from which it takes its origin. My hope is that awareness of the situation may enable us to change course before it is too late.

Ian McGilchrist author"

In my research - which I present undocumented so read it as fiction - I learned that the left prefrontal cortex doesn’t even go online until about age 2 (depending on childhood neurodevelopmental stuff). So anything experienced or interpreted before then is “implicit.” It has no words; it’s right hemisphere stuff.

As I have implicit stuff to work with, my take-away (and experience) is it has to be felt. I’m also sensing it can be worked with symbolically. But it is truly “un-nameble” (as I create new words). When felt in awareness (and arguably with context), things move. I’ve had emotions with no story behind it, but just let the feeling be felt viscerally.

The left frontal cortex is the meaning making machine, the story teller. And unfortunately it has a land-line connection directly to the limbic system. Hence, our biography becomes our biology (Bruce Lipton). But it’s more than just “stinking thinking”. There’s social rules we don’t know we’re following, beliefs of what is right/wrong, etc.

The metaphor (I can dig up this quote-from-memory if anyone needs the originator) is “First kill the buddha, then kill your parents, then kill your guru.” Metaphor!!! “Family loyalty” is a prison of belief, a reality that truly hits where it counts! Nausea, anyone?

So these “left hemisphere” (or left prefrontal cortex) stories are all hard-wired to the limbic system, the fight/flight trigger, the emotional brain.

Reading the brain doctor who had a stroke, I decided I needed to get rid of my left frontal cortex. But we actually need both to operate. Just as we need an “ego” to operate on this plane. They say schizophrenia at it’s max is the absense of ego, so the person IS whatever. An extreme example.

Dan Siegal (in his earliest book for the general population) showed how meditation links up the various parts of the brain that generally operate haywire and independent of the others. A 16-yo patient was showing bi-polar tendencies and chose meditation over medication. This is just ONE CASE and does not apply to all! But his symptoms lessened and he grew up not having the “mental illness” - as of the time of the writing.

I’m in the camp that, at least in the US, we pathologize everything! From memory, the book “Lost Connections” by Johann Hari was reviewed and quoted that according to the DSM# back in the day, grief over the death of a spouse was just that - grief. Then in a later version of the DSM#, it was grief up to 30 days, and then it was depression. And the latest DSM# grief either isn’t addressed, period, or it’s just said to be “depression.”

(you want to see an angry Courtney, just tell me I’m depressed lol!!!)

And Mark Epstein in one of his audiobooks wondered why Western cultures had so much mental illness vs Eastern. He came to an interesting conclusion. Eastern cultures would have a child act up or discipline them, and then let them be. So they somehow worked with their emotions. Western cultures (again, in SOME cases not ALL!!!) is more about the parent’s issues: disciplining a child, then disciplining their emotions and reactions. That causes a lot of shut-down and a lot of stories to build up in the left frontal cortex!

(I heard a mom at a craft store ask her 4yo “how could you embarrass me in line like that??” Something died in that child that day.)


From my limited experience, people in “Eastern Cultures” are as varied in their “mental illnesses” as we in “Western Cultures” are, and we’d soon recognize this if we lived within those particular “Eastern” cultures. Of course, there are numerous “Eastern Cultures” and they are as different from each other as they are from the Western varieties, which themselves contain vast differences. Just saying . . .


Good point.

A bunch just came to mind now that you mentioned it.

At the end of the day, it’s how we work with what’s arising in us I suppose. That’s about as deep as my “practice” is for now. No levitation etc for this sleep-walker! :smiley:

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