Analysis and Synthesis
It’s no secret that our brains have two hemispheres or that the two work differently. Despite how we talk, people aren’t really right-brain thinkers or left-brain thinkers. Everyone uses both sides of their brain in everything that they do. Each hemisphere takes charge of certain specialized thinking.
What is managed by the left hemisphere of the brain?
- action and response on the right side of the body
- sequential and linear thinking — a, b, c, . . . 1,2,3
- reading left to right
- interpreting the meaning of text without context
- analyzing details — drilling down into spreadsheets
- knowing logic
What is managed by the right hemisphere of the brain?
- action and response on the left side of the body
- simultaneous thinking — That’s a math book. That’s newspaper.
- reading right to left
- interpreting the meaning of context
- synthesis — the global view
- knowing the world
Call the first approach L-Directed Thinking. It is a form of thinking and an attitude to life that is characteristic of the left hemisphere of the brain — sequential, literal, functional, textual, and analytic. Ascendant in the Information Age, exemplified by computer programmers, prized by hardheaded organizations, and emphasized in schools, this approach is directed by left-brain attributes, toward left-brain results. Call the other approach R-Directed Thinking. It is a form of thinking and an attitude to life that is characteristic of the right hemisphere of the brain — simultaneous, metaphorical, aethetic, contextual, and synthetic. Underemphasized in the Information Age, exemplified by creators and caregivers, shortchanged by organizations, and neglected in schools, this approach is directed by right-brain attributes toward right-brain results.
Of course, we need both approaches in order to craft fulfilling lives and build productive, just societies. But the mere fact that I feel obliged to underscore that obvious point is perhaps further indication of how much we’ve been in the thrall of reductionist, binary thinking. Despite those who have deified the right brain beyond all scientific evidence, there remains a strong tilt toward the left. Our broader culture tends to prize L-Directed Thinking more highly than its counterpart, taking this approach more seriously and viewing the alternatve as useful, but secondary.
But this is changing . . .
What changes do you see? Are you using your right-brain talents more? Are you feeling less appreciated for your left-brain abilities?
–ME Liz” Strauss
Behind every successful business is an outstanding manager –The Perfect Virtual Manager.