What comes after “belief in a Flat Earth” in psychology and college curricula?
Inspired, expanded, adapted from Brain Etsy, https://www.brianesty.com/bodywork/2014/05/top-down-vs-bottom-up-models-of-awareness/
I was recently asked by an educator my opinion on why there is so much professional and academic resistance to the researched benefits of brain integration methods. Here’s how I responded in an email:
I think what you are running up against is our major unexamined cultural belief.
Verified-validated benefits of brain integration directly challenge a cherished cultural myth, the major cultural myth of the last 250 years. Our culture has been running on this myth. Everything rests on top of this myth.
What is the myth?
It is the male conscious mind (90% or more only left hemisphere) determines all awareness.
Not only this, the male conscious mind — 90% or more only left hemisphere — determines “what is real” and “what is not real.”
Putting numbers on this myth exposes its inherent, unsustainable nature of this fantastic claim.
For subscribers to the myth of left hemisphere dominance, what value do they place on each hemisphere? In the last 250 years of academia, psychology and college-level teacher training curriculum, the relative value of each hemisphere seems to be:
- Left-hemisphere is weighted 90%,
- Right-hemisphere is weighted 10%.
Any research challenging these relative values threatens top-dog males in all professions and occupations. Why? In this myth, this mindset, the child’s game, King of the Hill, is endlessly playing: only one can win. All others must lose. There can be only one King.
It may help here to widen our scope to include the topic of gut-brain and head-brain.
Research on the polarity of gut-brain~head-brain encounters similar professional-academic apathy and resistance to the view of equality between left and right brain hemispheres.
1907 corpse-cadaver dissection research, preserved by the Edgar Cayce people for decades, demonstrates the amount of nerve tissue in our enteric (mesenteric) organs; and, in our brain and lateral spinal nerves is about equal by weight. (If of interest to you, I have a digital copy of this original research I can share).
If the conclusion isn’t obvious, if gut-brain and head-brain have equal nerve tissue by weight, their optimal function can and should be, as equal teammates and partners, each contributing valuable, complimentary intelligences.
If partnership is optimal between gut-brain and head-brain, could equal partnership exist between right and left brain hemispheres? Can they, should they, optimally be equal teammates and partners, each contributing valuable, complimentary intelligences?
Q: Wait, isn’t it natural to have one hemisphere more dominant, even one quadrant more dominant?
A: Yes it is. Conversely 50–50 equality between both hemispheres is extremely rare. We’re not talking facts here, only about the MYTH. The myth’s goal is left hemisphere functions can and should dominate, can and should be preferred. Win~lose. Therefore K-college education emphasizes, trains and educates primarily to left functions. A better myth and better goal is developing as much equality on both sides as possible. Win-win.
Such views of equal and complimentary neurology, each contributing to our perceiving of what is real, threatens male egos at a deep level: CONTROL.
If both hemispheres have roughly equal, complimentary, intelligences; and, the same is true for gut-brain and head-brain, then — left hemisphere is NOT 90% in control. In our waking state, at the most, it could only be 50% in control. This threatens males and women-who-think-like males, if they subscribe to the myth of left hemisphere dominance. There is no natural, God-given, absolute superiority of either hemisphere.
Discussion and research on neuro-equality threatens the whole “house of cards.” which house of cards? The one built on Extreme Patriarchy; and, its handmaiden, extreme run-amok, unregulated, greed-obsessed Capitalism.
The threat of equality between right and left hemispheres; and, gut and head-brain is NOT just a mental challenge. It threatens:
- The values and leadership of most cultural institutions,
- Academic elites in power.
- All rent-driven, wealth-extracting strategies practiced by economic elites.
Fear is the normal-natural response to any threat, real or imagined. Elite males have a right to feel threatened and fearful. The proposed natural equality of brain hemispheres and gut and head brains is an existential threat to them.
In this way, any challenge to left hemisphere mythic claim to dominance threatens both Patriarchy and Capitalism.
What does the research say?
In infant-child development, feeling comes first. Words and conscious thinking come later. Compared to conscious thought, conscious emotions are of a lower frequency. 100 years ago, Rudolf Steiner put all this on a scale:
Low frequency ← — — — → Higher frequency
Sleeping <=> Dreaming <=> Waking
Willing <=> Feeling <=> Thinking
Imitation <=> Taking truth on the authority of worthy adults <=> Independent (critical) thinking
Since 1990 or earlier, in Touch for Health and many subsequent holistic methods, especially, Specialized Kinesiology, an impressive body of peer-reviewed neuroscience research supports BOTH brain hemispheres as equally significant to healthy function. Research papers connected to:
- Paul Dennison’s, Laterality Repatterning,
- Dr. Charles Krebs’ LEAP, and
- Susan McCrossin’s Crossinology; Brain Integration Technique (BIT)
…have the most impressive research papers available online, at no cost, I’m aware of:
- Susan McCrossin’s research page https://crossinology.com/articles-media/
- A healthy chunk of Brain Gym research is online here: Abstracts of BG research summaries:
“A chronology of annotated research study summaries [with abstracts] in the field of Educational Kinesiology” by Brain Gym Intl. (2003?) 20 pg. — https://breakthroughsinternational.org/wp-content/uploads/securepdfs/2022/11/bg_research.pdf
Apart from the above holistic brain integration methods, since 1990, professor Antonio Damasio has published a series of books of neuroscience research showing how emotions play a central role in social cognition and decision-making. His work has had a major influence on current understanding of the neural systems, which underlie memory, language, consciousness — “Antonio Damasio” — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antonio_Damasio
The above have done much to erode the myth of left brain dominance in every area where left brain dominance used to be claimed and assumed.
Useful metaphor: Change from flat Earth to whole Earth
Since 1995 or earlier, in psychology and K-college teacher training education, I believe we are entering a period analogous to what physics went thru when male Roman Catholic Church hierarchy had to abandon their belief the Earth was flat; and, the Sun went around the Earth (end of infantile egocentrism).
In 1971 the back-cover of the Mother Earth News, showed the Earth seen from the Moon, one of the first such images published widely anywhere. This image had a caption, “We can’t put it together, it is already together.” Since then, it’s been really hard going for Flat Earthers.
Now the myth of left brain dominance faces the same death. How big will this change be? What magnitude of change? The change from the old myth:
- Our two brain hemispheres have unequal values, significance, importance, function,
- The two human genders have unequal values, significance, importance, function,
- Children and adults have unequal values, significance, importance, function,
- Compared to humanity, Nature has unequal values, significance, importance, function.
What comes after collapse of the old myth?
Both brain hemispheres have equal value.
If one has more relevance in 2023 for the survival of humanity, it is surely right-hemisphere. These two can work as partners, as teammates, weaving together responses from each side as useful in the moment.
As well, gut-brain and head-brain are also complimentary, can also function as as partners, as teammates, weaving together responses from each as useful in the moment…
I believe the magnitude of this change is likely to be comparable to the change from a flat Earth model to a spherical Earth model.
In 2023, it seems timely for this changed mythology to impact academia more. It’s becoming harder and harder for academics promoting belief in left hemisphere (mental, male) dominance. It’s becoming harder and harder for economists, like Larry Summers and the British The Economist Magazine, to promote an endless, rosy future for rent-driven, greed-driven Capitalism and wealth extraction from the Earth and the labor of the 99%.
I do Not expect males to lead this change in any way, shape of form. I DO expect women and women’s voices and values to lead this change.