What I have often said to myself is, Gee, when I switch to my Chinese texts at night, I feel like I am moving from one part of the brain to another. It's a physical move that I can almost hear. Swooosh, kachunk. I experience similar shifts when I move from writing to drawing/painting.
I've not paid much attention to the left brain, right brain dichotomy, the notion that became mainstream with Betty Edwards' "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" over 3 decades ago. Each side of the brain has its unique and special abilities. The right side of the brain is intuitive, while the left side of the brain is logical.
(Not B.Y."s art. Stock Photo)
I've also been reading a book given to me by my Internet friend, Naren Jackson. It is Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor's "A Stroke of Insight, an astounding account of a neuroanatomist who suffered a stroke in the left brain. She recovered fully to tell the world about her experience of peace and Oneness as as her right brain took over and her left brain continued to signal to her that she had had a stroke. She became her own subject of study.
Since accessing this book, I've started to ask myself how my mind might process Chinese words, written and verbal. How might my mind differ from yours? Mine processes verbal Chinese all day long with my Chinese-speaking parents, but I read, write and communicate most efficiently and passionately with Redroom and the rest of the world in English.
By and large, every single Chinese character has four tones, each associate with different meanings. The complicated tonetic change is an important reason that makes Chinese one of the most difficult languages in the world.
Studies have show that Westerner's left brain light up when processing words, while the Chinese people's right brain light up 200 milliseconds before the left brain begins to associate and process the meaning of the sounds. Generally, rhythm is handled by the left side of the brain; pitch and melody are handled by the right side of the brain.
Scientists have learned that Chinese use more right brain than Westerners due to the tonetic feature of the Chinese language. Most of the western languages, with only one tone for each word, are directly processed by the left brain.
And what about Chinese writing, which are descended from pictographs? It is unlike the Westerner's alphabetic words, which are entirely linear. There are rules to the order in which the Chinese character's strokes are set down, but the characters are nonlinear in their placement on paper. They can be written and read left to right or right to left, or they can be read top down with the columns proceeding right to left or the reverse.
I need to ruminate with my left brain and shape the whole with an aha moment with my right brain.
P.S.--I've always felt that Emily Dickinson was Chinese in her previous incarnation, but that's another post on the Belle of Amherst and poetry. Poetry and music, as far as I'm concerned, are the raisons d' etre for man's existence. I am particulary drawn to meter (a left brain function). Gotta go read my Chinese text now, and when I tire of that, I'll read English poetry, using both sides of the brain. Each brain does indeed have its own story/history to tell.
P.P.S.--I wonder if happiness, better yet, CONTENTMENT, has anything to do with the balanced use of one's right and left brain? I worked on the images of my graphic novel all day and now I have worked on this piece for more than an hour and-a-half. It's as if my brain has had a good all-over deep massage.
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