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radical ideas

I read somewhere that the right hemisphere of your brain is dumb, blind and mute, but it does feelings and imagination really well. It’s where your brain goes to process the information that enters through the left side during the course of the day, and a lot of this processing is done while sleeping. The right side of your brain is a dark, windowless room and what it does is organise and reorganise, sort and resort; it hypothesises, models and re-models the world in order that the left side of the brain can function successfully.

The right side of your brain houses your imagination, your fears and your most basic emotions. It’s the speculative side of the brain.

Left-handers tend to be more governed by the right hemisphere and they’re more imaginative, more emotional, more likely to come up with radical ideas and, sometimes those radical ideas work. It’s not an advantage, having a powerful right hemisphere. It’s just the way it is. Being imaginative is not more important than being able to count. You want an architect with imagination, but he needs to be able to calculate equally as well, or the building falls down and, on balance, staying up is more important to a building than being pleasing to the eye.

We can’t survive if the farmer doesn’t get up before dawn every morning and tend his crops and his flocks. We can’t live unless an engineer designs trucks and fridges and a pricing system to ensure we get, and pay for, our food. But we can live without stories and music and art, at a pinch.

The point of this is, don’t let the word ‘creative’ awe you. It’s just the product of hard-wiring. I suspect it helps us in the long-term. I suspect that someone, somewhere, a long long time ago, watched a log roll down a hill and the right-side of their brain thought, hmmm. 

And now, ten or fifty or two hundred thousand years later, here we are.


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