I’ve been enjoying an extended “aha!” moment this week. You know the kind of thing: suddenly it all falls into place and seems to make a new kind of sense.
It’s a profoundly satisfying feeling.
I could sit about enjoying it all day – except that this particular insight has to do with the nature of my contribution to the world, my business, and what I should be doing with my time, so it’s sent me into a flurry of activity instead.
I suspect it has to do with the unknown becoming known. And that means that it has to do with the relationship between the right and left hemispheres of the brain.
(OK, OK! To the woman who’s reading Iain McGilchrist’s The Master And His Emmissary, it is quite possible that it seems like everything has to do with the relationship between the right and left hemispheres of the brain. But bear with me just a moment.)
As McGilchrist points out in his fabulous RSA Animate video, it’s not true that the left brain “does” reason and the right, emotion. Nor that the left “does” language and the right, imagery. It’s more interesting than that.
In fact modern research shows that the left hemisphere is specialised for focussed attention, for analysing the parts of things, and for attending to things that are already familiar; the right for broad attention, attending to whole things and their contexts, and looking out for novel things.
In his book McGilchrist explains that new ideas and experiences need both hemispheres to be understood: new information is perceived by the right hemisphere, “passed” to the left hemisphere for analysis of its parts, before being “returned” to the right hemisphere to be understood as a whole in its context.
I’m wondering if the “aha!” moment is simply how it feels when the right hemisphere “gets it” on the return leg. Or am I stretching the whole idea too far?