Right-Brain Left-Brain – Part 1
Right-Brain Left-Brain – Part 1
Many years ago now one read a book by the eclectic writer Boyé Lafayette De Mente entitled, “ Why The Japanese Are A Superior People”, which explores the advantages of using both sides of the brain.
Keep in mind that Boyé Lafayette De Mente was among the first writers to introduce the Japanese terms wa, nemawashi, kaizen, tatemae-honne, shibui, and wabi-sabi to the Western world.
Interestingly, many of the observations in this book rang so very true, particularly after being immersed in the Japanese culture and society for over three decades.
Inside the ancient roots of the Japanese culture is a built-in condition lurking in their DNA, known as “kiga suma nai (気が進まない), where one could think of as “my spirit is not satisfied“
In other words, the Japanese have been culturally programmed to be dissatisfied with any thought, action, or product that is less than perfect.
Perhaps one could say this is where the spirit of kaizen comes from.
Science has ascertained that there are basic differences in the function and role of the left and right side of the brain.
It seems that the left sphere is programmed for linear or straight line thinking, and directs routine, repetitive physical actions, logic, direct verbal communication, and for making objective, fact based decisions.
On the other hand, the right side sphere is said to directs emotions, intuition, personal relations, aesthetics, mutual corporation, group orientation, and maintaining harmony throughout nonverbal communication and indirect speech.
Of course there is crossover between the right and left-brain, but the basic function of the two sides are different, with people behaving and reacting differently, depending on which side of the brain is engaged.
In left-brain cultures the right sphere is active when contemplating matters of religion, aesthetics, and other esoteric subjects, which are not based on hard, objective facts.
This can be evidenced as discussions of these types of subjects tend to become very emotional.
Some people in fundamental right-brain cultures are capable switching to left-brain thinking when pursuing practical manner such as engineering, math, and scientific research, which can be looked upon as an advantage.
Indeed these kinds of thinkers are able to benefit from using both sides of the brain in tandem a process known as holistic thinking.
Moreover, there’s also a significant difference in the basic brain orientation of men and women.
In predominantly left-brain cultures, women tend to be more right-brained in thinking and behavior. In other words, female attitudes and behaviour are more emotional and intuitive than males.
Clearly women are wired to be more caring, nurturing, and aesthetically inclined than men, and any observation of a nurturing mother confirms this point.
In predominantly right-brain cultures, women tend to be less right-brain oriented than men. While they are more caring and nurturing than men of the right-brain culture, they are typically more direct and practical in their attitudes and behaviour as a survival trait.
Many cultures are left-brain oriented such as China, the U$A, Germany, England, Russia, and Israel.
One can consider the cultures of all Spanish-speaking countries, as well as France and Italy, to have combinations of left-brain and right-brain thinking and behavior.
The two most right-brain oriented cultures on the planet are those of Japan and the Polynesian speaking nations of the South Pacific.
In fact, there is ample evidence that the right-brain orientation of the Japanese is the main source of many positive cultural Japanese traits.
It can also be considered the right-brain orientation of the Japanese played a major role in transforming Japan, which remains a tiny, resource poor country into an economic superpower in less than 30 years after the end of the second world war.
There is a reason for this astounding economic achievement, and this remains an advantageous trait that will serve the Japanese well into the uncertain future.
In the next several post, one will explore the left-brain right-brain phenomena and why the great writer Boyé Lafayette De Mente, thinks, “The Japanese are Superior People.”