TOWARD A GLOBAL PARADIGM SHIFT – PART II
This is a continuation of a post I made last year. Part I explains how difficult it is to make a global paradigm shift – a transformation of our core view of reality. It is more difficult than say pruning the branch of a tree (thinking here of a “branch” as a metaphor for an idea coming out of core worldview or the “trunk” ). Thomas Kuhn in his famous Structure of Scientific Revolutions did describe some paradigm shifts that we might consider branch ideas coming out, again, the core math-based cosmic vision. This is what dominates physics and chemistry through and through. From that core presepctive, we get electro-magetic theories about nature, we get quantum mechanics, and so on. Here we do something radical different. We cahnge the core, trunk, root and overall seed-sprouting idea! We move onto a different tree. We change what I call a “central paradigm” – the center of a worldview upon which the whole hinges – and we opt for a whole different worldview.
Now this second part begins with how I came to consider such a larger shift in my own thinking and inner vision.
When I was 17 years old, my left-brain shut down after having a high fever. I became temporarily aphasic. This means I was unable to talk in whole sentences. Here was a linguist and mathematician who suddenly couldn’t do either.For more information on this, the reader can visit my more complete bio.
WHAT IS INVOLVED WITH A LEFT-BRAIN SHUT DOWN
A left-brain damaged person stops being able to sharply “separate elements of consciousness.” Now let me give the reader several arenas in which this manifests to make clearer what the phrase “separate elements of consciousness” points to. This applies especially how we orient our consciousness in spatial vision as well as the use of words. In psychological realms, it involves the development of an ego, a sense of separation and identity. The latter is a little more involves, so let me just outline the basics.
A left-brain damaged person may be able to draw a square as a whole connected figure like a square. This means four lines meet to form a whole square. This is because the right brain can direct the connection of elements of consciousness and the left brain their separation. Thus black lines against a white background tend to be drawn not sharply if the left-brain is damaged. The lines may be oddly jagged or strangely crooked looking, as if drawn by someone with a shacking hand. They are definitely not straight as an arrow, nor sharply defined or finely linear. Metaphorically, we might compare this to a dirt road with many potholes vs a straight and smooth asphalted road. Now the figure of a square is drawn as a whole figure, the four lines connect even if roughly drawn. You can see an example of this in the book called The Right Mind by Robert Ornstein. One whose left-brain is damaged essentially loses his or her overall “cutting sharpness” of mind. A right-brain damaged person, by contrast, does the exact opposite. Again Ornstein gives pictorial examples of 4 sharply straight lines that are drawn without connecting to form a whole square. Fascinating!
A left-brain damaged person can become aphasic as I personally experienced. He or she will have trouble thinking, writing and speaking precisely – or with general and ordinary verbal skills. Why do verbal functions also shut down along with the ability to draw straight-as-an-arrow lines? How is this related? What role do words play in this context?
Written words appear most often as black marks against white backgrounds or oppositely white on black on a chalk board. Opposites like black and white are the extreme farthest separations of elements of consciousness in a spectrum. Opposites like black and white may be employed to make the “”sharpest distinctions” or again separations of consciousness. Anything dramatically different in our consciousness can be called separative, and in our context black and white are symbolic thereof. The left-brain quintessentially functions in this separative modality and thus it has an affinity also to the geometry of straight lines drawn as black marks against a white background. It is really simple. The left brain consciousness, again, not only tends to live amid sharply distinguishing elements of consciousness of all kinds – especially black marks against white backgrounds – but it also best recognizes the tiniest of separate details. Again Ornstein demonstrates this by testing his patients. A right-brain damaged persons can look at a given picture and describe in the picture the tiniest of little details but unable thereby to recognize what the whole picture is all about. The same happens to Alzheimer’s patients who can describe details of a face without recognizing the whole face, and even of a life-long loved one. Overall the left-brain’s consciousness gravitates to the process of “focusing” – the tunnel vision separating of details, again black to white contrasted marks – and not just for drawing of lines and individual alphabetic letters. A word-filled text has separate letters to form separate words which form separate sentences, paragraphs, pages, chapters, and ultimately books. The right brain gravitates to a different way of taking in consciousness. It is a connected ocean that cannot easily be described with words.
WRITTEN WORDS WITH VOWELS
In ancient times the Greek alphabet had no vowels. In order to understand the written word, it was necessary to know the overall context. This reminds me of how the word “man” might be a noun in one context and a verb in another, as to “man a boat.” The dualities of meaning are common in ancient languages like Chinese. Once vowels, however, were added, each written word had a more specific, detailed and exacting meaning – something that thrills the left brain or makes it feel at home. Within a hundred and fifty years after adding vowels to the language, reading culturally shifted from right-to-left to left-to-right – or from the manner in which Hebrew is read to how English is read. This change in eye movements reflected something profound, namely a brain polarity shift. Soon afterwards the Golden Age of Greece was born, including key left-brain dominant foundation ideas for our modern western world.
THOUGHT PROCESSES WITH WORDS
Words essentially start as “outline images” in our minds. An tree is out there in the experience of our senses but the concept of a “tree” not the same as the actual tree we experience. It is only anoutline image that can help us point to many such trees. A metaphor for this is a cartoon caricature. Cartoons are drawn using outline images. Outlines involve lines. Lines are made, again, by physically drawing black against white. Before that they are consciousness separations in visual images. These distinct caricature images have a phenomenally important use. The concept “tree” or the concept “chair” helps us to point or focus onto something. To focus is to separate. You get the point, and a “point” is the foundation of geometry because it is the universal symbol of spatial separation. In this terrain, what we are separating is ever and always an element of consciousness. Since left-brain awareness has a main functioning that is separative, the ability to create and use words is distinctive there of – and made more precise via exact linguistic definitions. Such skills disappear when the left-brain shuts down as I personally and painfully learned!
THE ULTIMATE KICKER & ILLUSION
When the left-brain shuts down, what one gains is a more dominant right-brain point of view. This is connective. Consciousness appears as one ocean and not as separate drops of water. The extreme opposite view is epitomized by the atomic. If the foundation building blocks of geometry are points, and for mathematics numbers, then the physical world should be similar. Thus everything is thought as being made out of something most separately distinct. In this case we are referring to the atomic view, born in ancient Greek times.
Now imagine that the latter resulting view, the math-bound and atomic, while most powerful in helping us design machines made of separate parts, is from a deeper (right-brain dominant) viewpoint “surface/separative, ultimately false and illusionary.” Illusion occurs via a breakdown of the integrity of consciousness, or when a surface appearance is simpy mistaken for something about the depths. To make such countercultural statements and about our most revered use of mathematics in physics and chemistry begs further analysis.
Math symbols are the highest or penultimate symbols for all of left-brain dominant consciousness. Saying it this way implies that our vision is eschewed and brain-side biased, rather than objective as assumed. Learning the use of math represents also the greatest of left-brain skills – why we admire the mind of an Einstein. They are really the highest, meaning the most universal or abstract symbols for the separation of all elements of consciousness and to the sharpest of distinctions. Thus something might be 2 feet long or 2.1111546 feet long, offering a finer distinction. From a right-brain point of view, however, math symbols still and even more so create and deepen what is an essentially illusionary view. I know the foregoing is for most a hugely stunning and revolutionary statement. It is virtually impossible to believe this could be true in the context of our modern culture. It would threaten the foundation of our vision of nature. Nevertheless, I know with inner certainty that this math-based vision of nature that rose to prominence in the 17th century and has remained dominant until our times, is undeniably surface-true but depth-false to its core. This is the root reason why I believe our world is also in such trouble or why we are surrounded by a globally-polluting mess that penetrates our own being with illnesses like cancer.
Can we make a shift from what is presently a most deeply-ingrained math-based vision of nature?
This will be discussed in the next segment.