Rivalry of Thought

Posted by on January 3, 2011

Uptight vs. Anything Goes

“Proverbs contradict each other. That is the wisdom of a people.”
– Stanislaw Lec

EXAMPLE 1. “Win the heart and the mind will follow. The intellect can always find logic to justify what the heart has already decided.” In other words, speak to the right brain – the heart – if you will persuade.

EXAMPLE 2. “Specifics are more believable than generalities.” In other words, speak to the left brain – the mind – if you will persuade. “If you say that there are elephants flying in the sky, people are not going to believe you. But if you say that there are four hundred and twenty-five elephants flying in the sky, people will probably believe you.” – Gabriel Garcia Marquez, novelist, winner of the 1982 Nobel Prize in Literature

The conscious and the unconscious – left brain and right – struggle in a perpetual tug-of-war.

Neurologist Richard Cytowic says, “Not everything we are capable of knowing and doing is accessible to, or expressible in, language. This means that some of our personal knowledge is off limits even to our own inner thoughts! Perhaps this is why humans are so often at odds with themselves, because there is more going on in our minds than we can ever consciously know.”

Psychologist Carl Jung compared this “unconscious” to swimming in the silent and weightless world underwater: above the waterline exists the sunlit world of the conscious mind filled with air, birds, trees and people. But below the waterline, in the unconscious mind, is a timeless world of twilight and shadows, symbols and beauty, metaphors and music.

But there are monsters in the deep.

The intellect rescues us from our emotions, to be sure. But just as surely do the emotions provide escape from the cold, hard jail of the intellect.

“We are our own dragons as well as our own heroes, and we have to rescue ourselves from ourselves.” – Tom Robbins, novelist

Dr. Roger Sperry won the Nobel Prize in 1981 for his discovery that humans don’t have a brain divided into halves as much as we have two separate, competing brains that perceive radically different information.

The left brain gathers objective data to facilitate rational, logical, sequential, deductive reasoning. “Zoom in close and get all the details,” the left brain seeks to forecast a result. Our language functions exist in the left brain, allowing us to communicate specific details with accuracy. The left brain puts us in touch with the world that IS. The left is intellect. The left is logic.

The colorful, musical right brain exists primarily for pattern recognition, observing and cataloging recurrent series of shapes and colors and musical notes and symbols and events and behaviors. Although it has no ability to interpret spoken or written languages, the right brain does interpret tone of voice as just one of the many, meaningful patterns it observes. The right brain puts you in touch with worlds that could be, should be, ought to be, might be someday. The right brain is heart, not mind. The right brain is intuition.

The engineer stereotype mocks the “touchy-feely” world of the artist while the artist stereotype mocks the cold and sterile world of the engineer. Each of these stereotypes – the engineer and the artist – is a fool.

Robert Frost said,
“Young poets forget that poetry must include the mind as well as the emotions. Too many poets delude themselves by thinking the mind is dangerous and must be left out. Well, the mind is dangerous and must be left in.”

When Robert Frost spoke that truth about poetry, he spoke the grand truth of ad writing and salesmanship as well. But Honest Abe said it first:

“If you would win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his sincere friend. Therein is a drop of honey that catches his heart, which, say what you will, is the greatest high-road to his reason, and which, when once gained, you will find but little trouble in convincing his judgment of the justice of your cause.”
– Abraham Lincoln

If you would

1. Sell products or services,

2. win the support of those around you and

3. achieve the next level,

you must win both heart and mind.

Would you like to know exactly how it’s done? The penultimate squabble between left brain and right is the 3-day Magical Worlds Communications Workshop at Wizard Academy and it’s happening January 11-13. We’ve held a room open for you in Engelbrecht House so that you can stay on campus. Room and board will be on us.

If you need to persuade women, or even one woman in particular, then you must – this is not a suggestion but a simple statement of fact – you must attend the inaugural session of Unzipped on January 26-27, taught by that Musical Maestra, Michele Miller, and Dancing Tom Wanek, known in South Florida as Twinkletoes Tommy.

Come, make 2011 a very good year.

Roy H. Williams

Where is this lovely lady headed?
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