Day 45: Two Sides to Every Story

by ashleighpenrod

Remember that post I wrote about Jill Bolte Taylor and her “Stroke of Insight?” (That’s okay—you can find the post here and watch her TED Talk here.)

Last Sunday, Robert Klitzman, M.D., Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Columbia University, posted a Huffington Post article inspired by Dr. Taylor’s remarks and warning against the tendency to simplify how we think about the brain.

I’m certainly no brain science expert, but I do find myself drawn to deconstructions like the below image, pulled from a Mercedes-Benz advertisement (it wasn’t directed at me; I drive an adorable little Hyundai).

Mercedes brain

Klitzman writes that the right brain has been romanticized as the seat of creativity and freedom, pitted against the logical and analytical left side. He says that in normal brains—in which the connection between the two halves is healthy—“the two sides work closely together.” So close, in fact, that our simplification of the brain into binaries “ignores critical intricacies, challenges and unknowns, doing ourselves, and our brains, a disservice.”

It will be exciting to learn more about the galaxies of the brain as science uncovers the mysteries. Perhaps Klitzman is right, and we are currently doing ourselves a disservice by creating a mythical two-sided brain creature.

But perhaps that’s just his left brain talking.