Monday, April 7, 2008

Good bye left side!

In yesterday's technology section of The New York Times an article was published titled, " Let Computers Compute. It’s the Age of the Right Brain". I don't know how to take it. First it crosses my mind how wonderful it is that large companies and the computer age so set in logical processing are investing in the creative end of the right side of the brain. One of the 'morals to the story' as they call it is that when people focus on the right side of their brain,

"There’s power in making career choices for fundamental reasons, such as doing something you love, instead of instrumental reasons, like hoping a job will be a steppingstone to something else."

That is important. I always value people who do things because they love them and not because it gets them a grade or a bigger paycheck. Yet, there is something about ignoring the left side of the brain that scares me. Where the advent of computers certainly lets some of that logical thinking off the shoulders of humans it arguably needed a lot of creativity in order to create the computers in the first place. I recall a book I read a few years ago, Plowing the Dark by Richard Powers, that to me integrates a lot of that left brain thinking with right brain thinking. In the book virtual reality designers, and a special artist look to create a space called 'the Cavern' where are can take form. Many of these virtual reality art pieces look just like the original. The virtual reality researchers are sharply countered by the story of one many held prison in a war torn country with little stimulation at all.

I think I just figured out the meaning of the book.

It's not about the left side, the right side, and the left side versus the right side but how the two interact and compliment each other. Yes, people tend to prefer one side to the other but both the logical and creative need to be stimulated in order to create masterpieces like 'the Cavern' in Plowing the Dark. Whether you are getting your BFA or MBA in order to truly excel to the top of your field, and probably to gain satisfaction, you need both. Okay, so not everybody is going to be a revolutionary in their career of choice but why not train kids early on to use both sides, or lots of sides as Gardner might argue.

Between the left side of the brain and the right side of the brain lies the corpus callosum. Where the left side used to be favored there is no reason now to focus solely on the right. People were born with thousands of nerves connecting the two, and that is the way it should ideally be.

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