Coherence is a left brain attribute

Ian McGilchrist argues that our left brain hemisphere insists on coherence, or internal consistency. In The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World, he writes:

In the left-hemisphere situation, it prioritises the system, regardless of experience: it stays within the system of signs. Truth, for it, is coherence, because for it there is no world beyond, no Other, nothing outside the mind, to correspond with. That’s what it says here.’ So it corresponds with itself: in other words, it coheres. The right hemisphere prioritises what it learns from experience: the real state of existing things out there’. For the right hemisphere, truth is not mere coherence, but correspondence with something other than itself. Truth, for it, is understood in the sense of being true’ to something, faithfulness to whatever it is that exists apart from ourselves.

In A Liberated Mind - How to Pivot Toward What Matters, Stephen C. Hayes explains that the coherence effect” is a heuristic the brain deploys to get to a likely answer quickly. Because an accurate assessment of the causes of a situation can be extremely complicated, our minds often end up boiling down our assessments to grossly simplified explanations that fit with what a rule or set of rules tells us.” This is the left hemisphere at work, ready to sacrifice nuance, context and the unexpected in favor of matching an existing pattern.

For reasons provided elsewhere in these notes, it seems to me that Dasein — the problem-solving being — is a product of left hemisphere dominance. In contrast — because the right hemisphere prioritizes what it learns from each experience and what is the case now — I tend to associate Deinos-being with the right hemisphere. Deinos presents a general attitude of responsive flexibility to the environment in which it finds itself.

Last updated on May 30, 2024

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