View Full Version : Analytical left brain thinking, and depression


Kunga Dorji
12-10-13, 11:52 PM
From a conversation with a longstanding friend of mine who has become very depressed:

I was thinking somewhat of your current difficulties and discomforts when I came across the following detail in a book I have started called "The Art and Science of Psychotherapy" by Prof Alan Schore.

He references a fascinating book on lateralisation of brain functions called
"The Master and His Apprentice, The divided Brain and the Making of The Western World" by a psychiatrist called Iain Mc Gilchrist.

I have read this massive book (McGilchrist), but Schore crystallises some vital points in his introduction.

Basically most key language processing functions are Left brain, and most key emotion processing functions are right brain.

The right and left hemispheres create coherent, utterly different and often incompatible versions of the world, with competing priorities and values.

The left is interested in detail, prefers mechanisms to living things, and is inclined to self interest, whereas the right has greater breadth, flexibility and generosity. In other words, basic concepts of interdependence and mutual support come naturally to the right brain. the left is much more argumentative and pedantic.

McGilchrist believes that only the right hemisphere is able to have and synthesise what both sides know.

McGilchrist and Schore both believe that for our own well being we need to shift away from the preference that has arisen in the West for using logic as a lead function, and shift more towards use of the right brain and social and emotional intelligence.

On top of this we also know that overreliance on logic/left brain lead functions tends to drive us into a state of sympathetic over arousal.

I will go into some detail here as I think you found some of the theory I talked over at your place about emotional regulation hard to accept.

The state of sympathetic overarousal is exhausting and presents to others as agitation, restlessness or hostility, even at a subconscious level. It tends to drive us towards guarded and even paranoid thinking. Both of these tendencies lead to increasing social isolation- and then the brain has to come up with an explanation for that. The explanations usually end up increasing our aversion to people contact and only magnifying social isolation. It also exhausts and depletes us, and that leads to a downwards spiral of less exercise and sunlight. In addition, the loss of fitness and tone leaves us in a state of relative dysregulation of our autonomic nervous system. Blood pressure and pulse become more unstable- even if this is not obvious to the person in this state. It is now accepted that the autonomic nervous system plays a central role in amplifying and sustaining emotion (Izard,C.E. 1977, HumanEmotions New York; Plenum Press) and in amplifying and sustaining emotion (Chwalisz, K., Deiner, E., & Gallagher, D., 1988 Autonomic arousal feedback and emtional experience: Evidence from the Spinal cord injured. Journal of personality and Social Psychology, 54, 820-828).

So any state of affairs that leads us into a state of constant sympathetic arousal is likely to lead to increasing social isolation, decreased activity fitness, sunlight exposure, and autonomic instability. This can easily create a negative feedback loop that becomes self sustaining and drags us into depression and keep us there as long as we are unable to see the nature of the prison our left brain has created for ourselves.

Now in that context, I have struggled with and finally abandoned Western Philosophy because it is excessively wordy. I find that the difficulties with Shelley require me to go to great lengths to explain myself, and that that analytical process is unpleasant and overarousing in itself.

Now, this analysis might cause you some discomfort but I wonder if getting entangled with a philosophy course has been part of the problem, in that it drives you further and further into logic lead functions rather than gestalt lead functions.

Many will disagree with my metaphorical interpretation of this passage, but consider this quote:
Prophecy: "But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased." Daniel 12:4

To my way of thinking, it is better to understand this as a reference that can apply to individuals in the course of their spiritual development rather than as a literal prediction of a global catastrophe.


I could and do, interpret this as an observation that people who spend to much time going down intellectual rabbit holes eventually drive themselves crazy!



So- the question is- how do I do what I do in terms of my intellectual processing without sending myself crazy?

The answer is "Dedication of Merit".


When I work with the sort of material I have to work with, I try to keep it foremost in my mind that I am doing this for the good of "all sentient beings'- so this holds any intellectual, left brain work I do enfolded in a right brain context.

The long and the short of it is that we get into some really picky, left brain arguments on this forum that get more and more pedantic, and lead till will. I am100% sure that that illwill is directly related to the style of thinking imposed by left brain preferences in the current social hierarchy.

McGilchrist argues that if we as a civilisation do not transcend this pattern our society will self destruct. I can see plenty of evidence to support that idea.

Kunga Dorji
12-10-13, 11:56 PM
(especially the sheer madness of environmental devastation caused by one eyed pursuit of the deposits of oil in tar sands, fracking and other massive mining projects that pollute and render large areas of the earth unproductive for centuries).

meadd823
12-17-13, 10:50 AM
I have discovered for my self that either or approaches are more destructive than any thing that resembles balance for human tend to become that which they disdain.Not to sure how that works it just seems to happen more often than if by chance alone.

I won't mention that while right hemisphere thinking can get us away from the material mind a certain amount of materialism is required at least for me to survive - It simply isn't fair for me to live in a metaphysical world while expecting others to carry me financially

I dislike our current monetary system as much as any other but I have to face the facts that it is part of not only my survival but the survival of all charity endeavors in which I participate.

For me this means cats eat food daily and cat food for 75 cats cost a hell of a lot of money and I don't solicit donations which means I pay for all of it. Even though there is a vet in Austin willing to sterilize and vaccinate the ferals for free I have to get them from point A to point B which requires gas and a car both of which cost money.


While I like the gausault way of thinking as it comes naturally for me I have to balance that with the realism of individual responsibility and personal motivation.


While I support any system that one finds useful that does not entail harm to others I do find modifying in an effort of achieve balance to be a more useful approach to my spiritual walk than complete abandonment. I personally can live entirely in a metaphysical world but the world of those around me and the society in which I live isn't metaphysical - In order for me to fully participate and be of use to any one other than myself I have to live at least partially in the same materialistic world as my fellow humans.

IN this manner I have learned to simply allow myself to "be" as I am, a spiritual being experiencing a physical reality. . . .

someothertime
12-17-13, 11:00 AM
So- the question is- how do I do what I do in terms of my intellectual processing without sending myself crazy?


It's the emotional processing that sends us crazy...

Your solution feeds the emotions an alternate belief... AKA... "pacing" your intellect with "oversight" cues to feed the emotional reward system.

It's a good system... one's ( intellect ) quickly learns to smell carrots tho'



Now tell me the difference between an organic carrot and an artificial one?

Kunga Dorji
12-18-13, 02:23 AM
It's the emotional processing that sends us crazy...

Your solution feeds the emotions an alternate belief... AKA... "pacing" your intellect with "oversight" cues to feed the emotional reward system.

It's a good system... one's ( intellect ) quickly learns to smell carrots tho'



Now tell me the difference between an organic carrot and an artificial one?

Imbalance towards either left or right will cause trouble.
Balance and free flow between the hemispheres is critical for good mental and physical health.

However our whole society is skewed to the left, a bias othe way we do education and of the way our legal and bureaucratic systems operate.

See:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPjhfUVgvOQ

from a very reputable source.

sarek
12-18-13, 03:26 AM
My personal view is based on balance. It is important to always keep the balance between body, heart and mind. Our mind does not only consist of the two hemispheres but also of all the functions and nerves(and perhaps also chemical messengers) that communicate with and control physical functions.

So basically we are not 'two brained' but 'three brained'

In addition, especially in the west, we have neglected the very simple fact that we have the inherent ability to observe ourselves. We can do that in the form of meditation or any other kind of self awareness.
In the modern (western)world we learn to look to the outside, rather than to the inside and as a result we project all our troubles on the world around us.

Only yesterday I stumbled across a site (http://www.lifecoachcode.com/) that called this whole rebalancing process SEMP for:

- spirit
- emotions
- mind
- physical

All these must be given appropriate attention for a person to be fully stable and functional.

Kunga Dorji
12-18-13, 10:23 AM
My personal view is based on balance. It is important to always keep the balance between body, heart and mind. Our mind does not only consist of the two hemispheres but also of all the functions and nerves(and perhaps also chemical messengers) that communicate with and control physical functions.

So basically we are not 'two brained' but 'three brained'

In addition, especially in the west, we have neglected the very simple fact that we have the inherent ability to observe ourselves. We can do that in the form of meditation or any other kind of self awareness.
In the modern (western)world we learn to look to the outside, rather than to the inside and as a result we project all our troubles on the world around us.

Only yesterday I stumbled across a site (http://www.lifecoachcode.com/) that called this whole rebalancing process SEMP for:

- spirit
- emotions
- mind
- physical

All these must be given appropriate attention for a person to be fully stable and functional.

Balance- the middle way?
Analyses I have seen emphasise input from the heart and the gut as being very important.
At the very least all of "the mind" includes all of the body and everything it can sense.
Even the interspace between you and I is part of your mind, my mind, and the minds of any onlookers.
We are heading in to very deep waters here.

Fraser_0762
12-18-13, 11:04 AM
Over thinking about the way you think will make anybody depressed.

It's better to think without thinking.