Federica wrote: ↑Sun Nov 19, 2023 5:37 pm
AshvinP wrote: ↑Sun Nov 19, 2023 3:39 pm
Thanks Federica, these are great points. Actually, it relates to the LB-RB discussion as well, since one-sided LB thinking is exactly the kind that desires to hurriedly scroll through thoughts without taking much responsibility for controlling them.
Related to that, a tactic I have employed recently is to start my morning on the computer by switching the keyboard and the mouse, so I use the mouse (and the scrolling wheel) with my left hand for at least 15-30 min (I am right-handed). Incidentally, this may also harmonize the intellect more with RB functions, since the latter is associated with left-hand control (but I am not too sure about that). For one thing, it serves as an intentional gesture that I am committed to slowing down the scrolling intellect and doing things on the computer more purposefully. It also supports this intention by making it more difficult for me to indulge the temptation to scroll through things in a hurry, open a million different tabs, switch my focus between several different tasks in rapid succession, etc. In this way, we can start to find small yet important and creative ways of chipping away at our rushed and careless thinking tendencies.
Thanks for the idea, Ashvin. I like your exercise, I think it's good to make the cognitive process, from the sensory experience to the concept, more explicit. Using the mouse with the less familiar hand forces us to pay more attention to percept, thought-image and concept. As I see it, this is the main benefit. I wonder if the other aim, to "harmonize the intellect more with RB functions" does not imply some materialistic premises, or at least a spatialized view, that implicitly prompts us to imagine our head more spiritual and elevated on its right side? In any case, for me the exercise is probably too soft. I am right-handed, but only moderately, and controlling the mouse with the left hand is only slightly uncomfortable. Maybe something that has to do with specularity would be more challenging in my case. I'm really bad at those things.
About the left and right brain hemispheres, I think it's really important that you have explicitly warned against the risk of being misled by these characterizations that focus on associating functions with areas of the brain. I feel the question "How are the activities of the hemispheres different?" is one of those that implicitly contain some assumptions of materialistic nature, and is therefore quite 'dangerous' to delve into without precautions. You have provided the caveat, but I would maybe add another layer by specifying that, in the description:
Ashvin wrote:If we were to put it in esoteric terms, the LB is basically associated with the Ahrimanic intellect that wants to 'spectrum analyze' all holistic ideas at the level of their most fragmented concepts and perceptions. It is highly adapted to pursuing Earthly purposes and functions related to our lower impulses, feelings, and thoughts (that is obviously necessary and is the basis for all modern science/tech). Interestingly enough, the LB is associated with the right hand and Ahriman is considered the right-hand path of evil. The RB can be associated more with the Luciferic impulse to expand out from Earthly details and encompass everything as a whole. It is associated more with imagination and intuition. The key thing is to find the Middle Path that spirals these two together, so that the LB and obey the inflowing wisdom from the RB and the RB can use its higher insight to serve the LB's task of gradually spiritualizing the Earth.
...it is a question of standard
imagination and intuition, not of imagination and intuition in the sense of higher cognition. As I understand it, to a preponderant extent, the brain is where standard cognition is cooked, and the hemispheres have scarce relevance in that. The researchers who wrote the cell simulation paper in the cell intelligence thread definitely and extensively used both hemispheres. At the same time, their thinking activity was rational, intellectual and "from the side".
Conversely, as soon as the fruits of concentration, prayer and meditation start to mature, the brain as a whole
becomes the translator of higher impulses and conscious spiritual interactions into the individual physical sphere, rather than the enabler, optimizer and organizer of impulses at the service of the physical-intellectual-emotional sphere, in relatively close circuit. Does it make sense?
It was probably not too helpful to bring in the LB-RB distinction, because you are correct that our normal physical intuition can easily get misled by it. But since it has now been raised, let me try to clarify how we can understand it from a spiritual perspective. Some of what I write here is rooted in my intuitively reasoned inferences without direct experiential confirmation, so I am happy for any of it to be modified or corrected. Clearly, there is some
relation between spiritual processes and spatial orientation, although it is probably more subtle and complex than we imagine it to be. When we locate the Cosmic forces streaming in from the 'periphery' of the celestial spaces, for ex., there is certainly some concrete basis for that. One of the main problems is we tend to identify the physical organism in space as a localized representation of our personal
spiritual activity. That is why for ex. BK would speak of the physical body as a direct representation of an 'alter'. A more helpful approach is to contemplate the depth structure of ideational activity that finally imprints itself onto the physical landscape including our physical organism.
As we know from esoteric science, our physical organism is actually an image of the Cosmos as a whole
(remember it has been shaped by the etheric, astral, and ego forces). So we can elucidate the nature of the former by considering the latter. We could start by looking at the sphere of Culture. Let's say we are driving down the highway with a bunch of other cars, walking down a city street with a bunch of shops, or in the grocery store. We could say that most of our experiential stream will consist of encountering encrusted
intentions and desires. The cornucopia of meats, baked goods, plant-based products, soda beverages, cereals, etc. all reflect to us the quite unhealthy desires of modern humans. Same thing with all the crazy-looking vehicles out there with their custom features. If we were to travel back to much more ancient times in the dawn of culture, we would find the ideas and desires encrusted in the cultural institutions, practices, buildings, etc. were more harmonious with and reflective of Cosmic spiritual intents.
In that sense, when we eat certain types of foods like Twinkies, we can call them 'unhealthy' because we are actually interacting with encrusted lower desires (i.e. certain elemental beings of the astral world). We shouldn't feel it is "materialistic" to find spiritual influences in these material substances - actually, it is more materialistic to deny
them any spiritual influence. We should also start thinking about the spheres of Nature in a similar way, including the natural processes and components of our physical organism (including life processes). They are the encrusted manifestations of temporally extended Cosmic Ideas. Once we get beyond a certain threshold of the higher animal kingdom, the spheres of Nature are almost directly reflective of Cosmic intents and their harmonious rhythms. When we interact with these domains of Nature, we are actually interacting with spiritual beings and influences.
It is our selfishly conditioned soul-life
that creates the disharmony between holistic spiritual activity and the manifest world we perceive and interact with. The physical organism itself would reveal these Cosmic intents to us if not for the disorderly soul life. So what you say here absolutely makes sense:
Conversely, as soon as the fruits of concentration, prayer and meditation start to mature, the brain as a whole becomes the translator of higher impulses and conscious spiritual interaction into the individual physical sphere, rather than the enabler, optimizer and organizer of impulses at the service of the physical-intellectual-emotional sphere, in relatively close circuit.
The physical brain itself was structured by the Cosmos so as to allow a continual dialogue
between the Earthly tasks carried out by humans and the Cosmic intents. This dialogue takes place with the lower kingdoms as well but they are more unwilling conversation partners. The brain allows us to condense thought-perceptions that reflect our spiritual activity back to us, so we discover our own will in the entire process by which reality evolves and find an orientation for voluntarily participating in that process. Our ancestors were clearly using their brains (and hearts) to develop religious practices, social arrangements, etc., but their waking consciousness was more attenuated to the RB than ours is. The LB was still a baby at that point from the cognitive perspective. It passively received higher impulses and images and instinctively condensed these into pictures and concepts that could be communicated. The higher activity of the RB is still with us but it has become mostly dormant and subconscious.
When we are driving down the road, for ex., the LB allows our spiritual activity to focus in clear-cut concepts on where we are going, what directions to take, what we are going to do when we get there, and so forth, but if a driver comes out of nowhere and cuts us off, the RB allows us to react almost instantaneously. Sometimes we react to such events before we even register perceiving anything with the senses. Our normal physical intuition conceives of that as an 'instinctive reaction', but in reality is it as if the Cosmic spiritual activity of the RB encompasses all the relevant states of being and karmic factors and then intelligently directs our will in a certain direction. Esoterically, we could say embedded in the RB are the forces of our Guardian Angels. Similarly, we may come upon some decision to make in the outer world and the voice of conscience approaches us, instructing us in no uncertain terms that we should do it or avoid it. We could say the RB is more attuned to this voice of conscience, which is the Voice of our higher spiritual members
Yet as long as we remain unconscious of this continual dialogue with the forces of our higher self, the intellect begins conceiving this higher self as comprised of lower animalistic and mechanical 'instincts'. As the Buddha said, "Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think.
” Since we need to become progressively more responsible for shaping our soul life, and eventually also our life and physical processes, if we don't become more conscious of how those functions are already carried out for us
within our physical organism and associated WFT processes, we will eventually reshape our organism in the image of our current mechanical conceptions of it. In that sense, we need to become more conscious of what the RB (as outer physiognomy of Cosmic spiritual forces) is already
doing for us as a living expression of Cosmic forces. Right now the scientists dimly explore that through 'split brain studies' and related intellectual research, but we can endeavor to experientially explore those Cosmic forces without the LB intellectual mediation.
It is true that when we seek higher modes of cognition, we need to liberate our spiritual activity from the brain processes. In a sense, we need to withdraw our personal thinking activity from these processes so the Cosmic activity can think through them
, and we aim to remain conscious while that occurs and experience how our higher self participates in this Cosmic structuring of the Earthly domain. Then we start to realize that our brain activity is actually the decohered reflection of spiritual activity that utilizes our whole body
to cognize and perceive (outwardly and inwardly), and to bring karmic streams of destiny to fruition on Earth. The brain activity we perceive is the collapsed 'wavefunction' of spiritual activity that flows through the heart and the larynx, for ex. That can be compared to what Steiner speaks about when discussing how the Earth dialogues with the Cosmos when we are sleeping (when our own activity has withdrawn) by thinking through our physical-etheric organism.
As well as the human beings think with their brains, the earth thinks with these sleeping human bodies. It perceives continually during the day — and the percipience consists in the fact that it is shone by the sun from the universe, this is the perception of the earth — and at night it processes thinking what it has perceived. The earth thinks, the clairvoyant says, and it thinks using the sleeping human beings. Every sleeping human being becomes as it were a brain molecule of the earth. Our physical body is established so that the earth can think with it if we ourselves do not use it.