Friday, May 11, 2012

left brained, right handed...

Scientists tend to get rattled by inaccuracies, and imprecise language, and when the topic of conversation falls to the left and right brain, some go ballistic, or at the very least are reminded to remind those of us on the artistic side of things, that we are indeed idiots even though we apply our own precision to the making of real things.

The scientists, are right, however in that the left and right hemispheres are not indeed separate things, but rather are intended to cooperate in the effective survival of each and every individual within each species and have been since the dawn of time.

In the same way, we regard the left and right hands as separate things, and note that we are either left or right handed, when nothing could be further from the truth. Take a small piece of paper and let it rest on the desk. Then take pen in hand (either one) and write with the other hand held behind your back. You will find that your behind-the-back-held hand would have been plenty useful in stabilizing your paper as you wrote.

The left and right hemispheres of the brain cooperate in the same manner. While the bird's left brain can perceive a seed in a field of sand, the bird's right brain is sensing the whole of life around it, sensing the field of friend and foe, just as you hold the paper in stillness as you write your letters with either your right or left hand.

When Jill Bolte Taylor suffered her left brain stroke as described in her book, My Stroke of Insight, she noted that as her left-brained organizational capacity failed (and she watched it happening) she was left in a state of right-brained nirvana, a state which no language could accurately describe without venturing into non-scientific spiritual jargon.

It was this spiritual domain that Pestalozzi attempted to describe as Anschauung (direct or immediate intuition or perception of sense data with little or no rational interpretation). Goethe used the same term in his efforts to get early botanists to look at the whole of life, to sense our biological wonders as more than a sum of classified parts... It is this spiritual domain that becomes lost when students are thrust only in worlds of words, with "performance" consisting of standardized tests.

In other words, in order to truly reform education, children need to be challenged to become active using both hemispheres of hand and mind and there is no better way than to:

Make, fix and create...

Today I've been making lids for the finger jointed boxes I assembled yesterday and today. After the lids are sanded, they will get a slot routed in the top for a pull made of walnut, reed and copper wire. Today's progress is shown in the photo above.

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