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The Judgment of the Hemispheres

Paul Kiritsis - Wednesday, November 16, 2016

When the Universe became equivocal about which of the two cerebral hemispheres was better serving the human race it invited both to a festivity in honor of human flourishing and suggested that the two contest the right to ascension; whoever gave the most impressive and pleasing answer to a philosophical question posed by the universe would ultimately win evolutionary rights to unprecedented size increments. The universe didn’t really want the burden of selecting a winner, so it appointed this duty to you, its favored child.

            “Greetings to the two halves of a whole that wage war against one another, “said the Universe in the Hall of Two Truths. “I want you to explain in a clear and succinct manner why humans haven’t been able to solve the mind-body problem. The Left Hemisphere can go first, given Nature endowed him with the ability to speak.”    

            “It would be my honor,” he said. “So if truth be told, natural selection has pressured your perceptual mechanisms to be time-efficient and cost-effective. When it comes to survival what’s important is utility, not truth. What you perceive is one of innumerable versions of reality, a global electrochemical activation pattern in the brain that is an incomplete simulation of the world. Your way of encountering the world has been successful for it has allowed your distant ancestors and you to outcompete rival organisms for essential resources. Logically it has contributed to your reproductive success; to your domination and subjugation of Nature; and yes, to your flourishing on the planet. You can formulate plans and implement actions in their service, deliberately deceive others, ponder the place of a coherent self in the universe, move backwards and forwards in three dimensional space and time, solve complex mathematical riddles, and participate in consensual reality with thought that is both monosemantic and linear in nature.

On the downside though, the enlargement of prefrontal areas that made all of this possible also inflicted upon you this perceptual myopia called cognitive closure. Mind, consciousness, Oneness, the nonphysical force behind all things, call it what you will, is on the other side of that boundary. The current scientific tools you have invented for exploration of inner and outer space are products of an operative logical cognition with materialist assumptions about the universe; they cannot detect, let alone investigate, what remains a quintessentially nonphysical phenomenon on the other side of that boundary. You may never have the tools to penetrate that frontier and comprehend something you are couched in.”

            “Great,” said the Universe. “It’s common knowledge that the Right Hemisphere cannot speak so perhaps she can show us her answer to the question.”

            Within a few seconds you are transported to a gentle slope and find yourself seated atop a boulder equidistant from the foothill and the summit. A watercourse winds itself across the terrain below like an iridescent snake. A set of footprints delineating a path from the watercourse to the boulder are clearly visible; these you inherently recognize as your own. The sun is somewhere behind you, warming your bare skin and casting your shadow upon the slope. Shifting your gaze to the river you see that the sunlight halts unnaturally at the boundary separating water and earth; beyond is a dark veil with shadows of the living flitting about.

            There is a sensed presence behind you and you are gripped by the need to pivot and satisfy your burgeoning curiosity however you to resist the temptation; a small voice inside, a projection of your intuition perhaps, informs that you may not have the capacity to behold the sublime. This it is absorbed in some kind of perpetual work; the unfathomable action is heard as a hum, animating the flitting shadows on the other side of the border. The it behind you is responsible for the prodigious shadow being cast beyond the watercourse. Can anybody hear the humming, or are they deaf? Ommm….

            Out of the corner of your eye you catch sight of a nebulous entity which forms into an iridescent angel, hovering beside you like a dragonfly. Try as you might it is impossible to determine whether the angel is part of self or outside yourself.

            “The humming is what keeps it glued together.”

            “How do they not hear that?” you ask astounded.

            “It’s not within range.”

            “What about the animating warmth?’ you ask.

            “They mistake it as coming purely from within.”

            “What about the shadow then?” you ask. “Surely they can see that.”

            “They’re blind to it…”

            “Why?”

            “Because it has no edges…”  

            “Thank you for that,” said the universe. “Now, which explanation moved or impressed you the most?”

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