Sep 2, 2009

Making & throwing stone weapons: The gift of handedness

Unlike crossing the Rubicon, crossing the corpus callosum is a two-way task. We can go back across the connection between the two hemispheres of the brain. However, too often we are lazy, we don't push the thought process to use both sides of our thinking. When we're in conversation and the language centers are humming we often allow our sensing side to languish. When we're working out or moving in performance we often get into a state of languagelessness - a place where we might say we're "in the zone." These are a result of the dualistic nature of our brains. While the motor cortex works, behind the scene, neatly controlling the left side of you body from the right side of your brain and vice versa, our limbic system which surrounds the core "brain stem is exempt from hemispheric dichotomy and the cortex, where our "conscious thoughts originate, is usually under the glamour of this cross brain odyssey. ( what the heck does that sentence mean?)

Here's my idea. Our cerebral cortex –the outer folds of our brains; the place where language, tool use, conscious thought, creative juices, style, advanced planning and many other human traits originate– is hobbled to some degree in most people's brains because of the difficulty of processing ideas, thoughts and nerve impulses across the corpus callosum. Meanwhile, down low, in the core of our brain the limbic system, a knot of brain structures we share with mammals and probably marsupials & monotremes, the crossing is less an issue. And, when we get to the R-complex, that brain stem at the top of our spinal cord, it becomes entirely about reaction.

When we learned by mimicry to fashion and throw tools, weapons and play things we used the same hands for the same tasks as the individual we were learning from. As these skills were passed along from generation to generation handedness, in most cases right-handedness, became the norm. But, even this long, long evolutionary tree can be reversed. We can become ambidextrous or, less dependent on our dominant hand by practice. I assert that by working to be more ambidextrous we can increase our brain's connection to the other side.

1 comment:

Will Conley said...

That is one helluvan assertion. It's worth a shot! And why not. Perhaps...perhaps...the moment the non-dominant hand "crosses the Rubicon" to a level of dexterity commensurate with that of the dominant hand, that will be the very moment at which dormant synapses in the corpus collosum will begin to awaken - thus beginning a chain reaction that will eventually become a physiological/spiritual transcendence. One could almost extend your assertion to say that the fate of all humanity depends on trying something as simple as writing with the non-dominant hand! I say this straight-faced, I swear. Who knows, right?

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