Beyond Left Brain Thinking and the Formation of Our Worldview
For the most time, I remember myself I have been what we call a left-brainer. I used to pray to God, though, for a few years, I think when I was in primary school but I don’t think it lasted much. And in most of the times, the prayer was in periods of anguish and anxiety, before the grades at school or if I had done something that either I didn’t want my parents to know or I had to let them know but I was sure they wouldn’t like.
I was also going to a bible school for a few years. There the environment was sincerely helpful. The teachers really seemed to care about us and we were having a very nice time as we were playing games and sports with many of the other children. However, it was mostly that for me, fun with my friends as in the classes I wasn’t focused and I was actually one of the noisiest children, I wanted to keep playing even when the game was typically over and given the absence of strictness I was doing my thing. Thus I shouldn’t have been too much influenced by the teachings. But now I understand that the behavior of the teachers indeed was the real teaching, I can remember only kindness coming from them.
No influences from spirituality since primary school and the left-brain society
The later years I stopped bothering about anything that had to do with God. There weren’t any influences for me to do otherwise anyway. My family wasn’t “too Christian”, I would say neutral. The society and the TV around me didn’t talk so much about spiritual issues and at school, the religion classes were funny even for young children.
Generally, the way I see it, in my generation our upbringing is left brain focused on all aspects. From a very young age we learn to quantify everything, we measure and compare. We gather skills, degrees, achievements that all come from competition and mathematical calculation of our performance under certain standardized conditions. The ones that have a higher grade at school are supposed to be smarter but in my view, the two are plenty of times irrelevant. It’s only that the one with the higher grade is better adapted to this specific educational system. And most of the times this adaptability is a result of pressure and not of the child’s real tendencies which makes it all look so fake to me.
Thus I was brought up to operate too much through the left brain as I was a good pupil, my grades were always far more than average and in the end, I managed to pass in a very good school for higher education, the National Technical University of Athens. My reality was built on calculations, I could only accept concrete proofs about an explanation and I was rejecting without any thought anything that couldn’t be validated by a scientific study. I had learnt to accept the established hierarchy not only in the educational system but in the whole society. Although, indirectly I would make fun of the status quo that looked already fake to me, in the end, I was a good and compliant boy.
The Immersion in the evolutionary theory and its attachment to the left brain thinking
As time passed, it doesn’t look like a coincidence to me now that I was amazed when I came across the fields of evolutionary studies. They were providing explanations about so many underlying aspects of a human being which they say were coming from an understanding of the circumstances that humans had to face. Since evolution “shapes” the species to be fit enough to survive and reproduce in the corresponding environment and operates in very long periods of time, we can know our tendencies today by looking at how humans lived 10,000 years ago.
This looked explanatory enough to know everything. If evolution is undeniable and we have so much knowledge about its process, then the whole field was like a treasure chest. By gaining knowledge about our evolutionary past everything in the human psychology would be crystal clear. Every action of a human being would correspond to a specific rule according to the way we adapted, simple as that.
You can easily understand how much corresponding is our whole worldview to our everyday actions. But most importantly how important is the role of the way we receive it.
My realizations about where I was heading in practice
So after some years of firm belief, as everything seemed grounded, I started realizing that some things were looking strange. My first break was at an ethical level, I noticed that I had changed for the worse in some aspects. Think that many mammals have evolved to be social and as a result hierarchical. So the higher you are in the order the better access you have to resources and sexual partners which is the goal for a gene and as a result of an organism.
Given this fact it looked natural to me then to care to go above other people so that I gain more convenience about myself. It also looked normal to praise the resources, the acquisitions because they would give me more certainty about my survival and many beautiful partners and good friends. Since so many mammals and primates seem to be of this nature and we evolved from mammals why would I go against it?
But I hadn’t stopped to think, what does it mean that the other mammals are doing it? So we either don’t have free will or we use it in order to manipulate and gain against others. Even if someone wins in this game (although there is no win in the numbers game, there is always more), in the very end it seems to me that they are still playing a game that could have evolved and pass in a different level especially in the countries with big economies but in the whole world as well. The levels of production and technology are so high that looks crazy to see people starving or not having enough money to have children. Or there is no need to be living in terms of survival and reproduction, there could have been a comfort for something higher than that.
So the technology exists but it appears to me that is used only for the few and to impress the ones that matter, the voters of the western countries in order the policies to be maintained. Instead then of going towards a direction of abundance and most importantly in connection with others, we keep measuring our points at an individual level. These instincts of greed and societal status, even if evolution indeed is as described, were needed in times where survival was hard and life was usually in danger. You don’t need to be the best and gather the most things to have chances to be alive or find a woman or a man as a partner. You can much easier acquire what is really important for your needs and then slow down. You can donate in secrecy. You can spend time in meaningful activities even if you don’t make money. You can try to create groups with no leader with full equality among the members. As well you can spend much time only with people that suit you while caring for all others’ good and not only for the ones with the same genes. You also don’t need to necessarily have a partner with a high social status because that may not be enough to maintain a sincere intimate long-term connection, I’m afraid you have to look at the other person as a whole.
Many of these might go against our evolutionary past and our subconscious tendencies, however, I am a human being so I think I have the potential to see life as an individual creation that each conscious step brings us closer to our environment (humans, animals, nature, cosmos) and not the other way around.
Evolutionary theory associated with other societal tendencies
I think the evolutionary theory is gaining ground in terms of popularity and it makes sense as the left brain thinking is purely satisfied by its calculating-labeling manner. We want specific quantified answers.
So it also seems to me very much connected to the free market theories in economics. Or at least it is used to justify this fashion of societies going towards it. Since genes and as a result the organisms, which are their vehicles, fight among them to survive and reproduce better without any external intervention, the same should be happening naturally in the market. And like evolution, the invisible hand will take care of the rest. However, the way I see it this “hand” has started becoming visible since at least the 18th century. As a result of this and many other observations of mine, I can’t be convinced that in a free market economy the fight will be fair. And even if this is natural, same as in evolution, I don’t think that I even need to explain that a society with this level of technology can do way better than that. Plus that in an evolutionary level nothing else can be inherited apart from a good quality-adaptable set of genes. On the contrary in a societal level in a capitalistic society all resources can be transferred from father to son and this, of course, can increase too much the inequality.
As well, evolutionary theory seems to be used to justify the intense mixture of cultures that we nowadays see. On the one hand, mixing genes of different cultures is supposed to result to more fit descendants according to the theory plus all humans are the same as they have the same genome so a mixture of any kind looks natural.
However, I have hardly noticed people preferring to be immigrants and leave their places. They do it because they don’t have other choices. It seems clear to me that it is distressing for both sides to be mixed in the same areas but at the same time having so different customs. I am not saying of course that any fight is justified but I have noticed that most people do better with similar people with the ones of the same culture, feel better when they are in the place they have been brought up and are better used to the climate they have passed most of their lives. At the same time the governments that receive the immigrants most of the times are not ready for such amount of influx.
The way I have experienced it, I believe that evolution is attached to atheism, too. So most scientists are atheists and they explain the beginning of the universe coming from the big bang. The process of evolution works automatically and there wasn’t there anything or anyone to put this process into action or there can’t be an external intervention of any kind to the world we live in. Plus there can’t be any connection between organisms apart from the potential physical ones. They also don’t leave any opening for a phenomenon that is not accurately projected through experiments coming out of specific rules.
Violations of Epistemology and how they influenced me
It makes me wonder now how I wasn’t impressed earlier by the violations of basic epistemology that I notice now every day. If nothing else, science is a search for the truth, is not a book of laws. This is actually what atheists accuse religions and spirituality in general for. A real scientist is supposed to start waiting to be contradicted even from the very moment that the first times speaks of a finding. How can a scientist don’t leave an open door, even for phenomena that have been so many times experienced by people or been demonstrated? How can a scientist disqualify so easily books that formed and influenced billions of our ancestors? Books that were accepted as holy in cultures that have been admirable throughout the history of mankind.
This made me consider my own way of thinking. I realized that I had become very absolute in every aspect of life. From everyday activities to my worldview. To what is real and what is not, to what is serious and what is funny. I was using findings of a specific scientific field without acting with a scientific enquiring mind at all but I was polarised.
Another interesting fact about science is that there seem to exist studies that prove literally everything. There are studies that have found tomatoes helpful and studies that have found them harmful. There are studies that say homosexuality is shown in the genome and others that claim that is a result of upbringing. There are studies that explain that meat is essential for the human body and there are studies that prove the health benefits of vegetarianism. There exist meta-studies and reviews that try to reach an understanding inside this mixture. Even when we go to different doctors about the same issue, in the vast majority of the times they have different explanations. I’m not saying here of course that all scientific papers are of the same validity and indeed there are differences in the quality, however, this phenomenon shows how complicated things are.
Also, do we ever wonder who is financing each study and who gains by its findings? Who decides if a paper is accepted for publication? The invisible hand (like in the free market) or specific people? And who are these people, are we sure that they aren’t acquainted with anyone that gains from the study? There is no predisposition to disqualify the findings that we receive from any scientific field, however I am trying to prove that reading a book or a paper that explains something is not even a beginning for us to come to a deep understanding of the truth of the subject.
The World of the Senses, metaphysical phenomena and the change in my overall approach
Furthermore, I started learning about the world of the senses. I figured that these 5 senses that we have been made to receive information-energy with specific characteristics. For example, our eyes can only see waves with length from 400-700nm. By knowing the wavelength you can calculate the energy and the frequency of the photon which are the numbers that describe it. So if ultraviolet light reaches our eyes we cannot notice it and we need specific instruments because it has a wavelength between 10-400nm. Similarly, other animals have different senses and receive the energy from the environment differently. For example, dogs see everything in black and white.
The above is an example of the subjectivity that comes from the senses. So science is supposed to come and cure this subjectivity through objective experiments. But the experiments come from humans, too. So what if we haven’t imagined an instrument yet that can accurately measure several metaphysical phenomena? What if we don’t know yet what to measure in order to see its metaphysical manifestation? Or what if there can’t exist any instruments in the 3-dimensional world that can measure phenomena of the 4th dimension?
Actually many metaphysical phenomena have already been demonstrated in labs since the beginning of the century. Many of them are very well described in the book Supernormal by Dean Radin. But the point here is not to prove who is right and who is wrong. The point is to sharpen our critical mind towards what we personally accept or not.
So I shifted my perspective totally in terms of this issue. I no longer wait for any scientist, or any guru, or any book to describe me in words how reality looks like. Even though, as aforementioned, I can’t trust my senses, I have started trusting my instincts more. I am focusing on the experience itself that can only provide me with the knowledge of what is true. All this wonderful information that exists around from people that try to make an understanding of all this is very useful as a tool because it opens my perspectives but can never be enough to know what is true. Because the truth is an experience which most of the times doesn’t even have the need for an external demonstration later.
But I try to remind myself to have this in mind when I connect with other people and listen to their thoughts. I want to accept their perspective as their view and then understand better their needs even if I disagree. I may believe what they say, I may not, but I can’t be certain if I haven’t experienced it. Same way that my experiences have led me to a certain understanding of truth it has happened to others. And who knows, some things that look strange today might look normal in a year. It certainly has happened too many times to me in the past.
All the explanations that come from the minds of others are just explanations of their own perception of reality. Apart from the fact that language can never be enough to describe any experience accurately, these are all models. It’s very difficult to manage to avoid being subjective. So if we aren’t careful it’s very easy to be trapped and thus limited if the models come from someone we admire. Because when you see the world through another person’s lenses then most of the times you don’t get the results that are helpful to your own needs.
Absolute Experience and the main pylon of spiritual teachings
Thus one can ask how can we then reach the level of a clear and absolute experience. You may have experienced a situation when all looked nice and pretty but you couldn’t stop having thoughts that made you sad or angry and generally unfocused. So the experience comes when we are taking the mind out of the equation. When we release all kind of thinking about future and past when we forget any model existing in our minds that try to abolish the unrepeaτability of any moment, when we forget what others are expecting from us so we focus with a sincere interest in the enjoyment of the process.
From what I have understood, most traditional spiritual teachings have the above as their main pylon. Since my understanding is also that their real perspective is mostly esoteric they give great importance to the work on the mind. All of these models that we have in our minds to describe the world and many times are copied from others and are spread in the societal level (memes) keep influencing our everyday thoughts and as a result our feelings and bodies. The thing is that we seem to have too much belief in our beliefs so we are stuck, limited and most of the times harmed.
But when we start looking at the bigger picture we start realizing one by one these models as what they are, models and not accurate representations of reality that we used to show trust in them. Thus their influence on us decreases and we believe them less. The thoughts that are arising are starting to lose their meaning as they can’t stand anymore, they are ruined. And during this process, the reality, the real self with its specific needs and likes arises leading us automatically to more meaningful directions. While we simultaneously and full of veneration realize the individuality of every moment that we are present.
Consequently, when we drop the labels and the models a new reality arises. If you aren’t attached in any specific set of rules at any time you are free to break them. If you don’t belong to any set of ideas then you can more easily listen to others and learn something that you were missing. You can experiment with unlimited contradictory topics and see by yourself how it is working for you and if something is real or not. You don’t need any more to have high intense dialogues as you are not trying to prove your point with certainty. There is no spirituality and science anymore. There is no body and mind. They are all different sides or different ways of looking for the truth or trying to express it. But all of these once again seem to be tools in our search for truth that seems to lie inside us, it was always there and manifests with unpredictable potentiality at any moment that we look at it with sincerity.