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PostSubject: Hemispheres   Thu Jun 03, 2010 10:54 pm

Benjamin Burnham
Composition II
Tonja Robins
ISearch Project
May 15, 2010

The Brain; a Perfect Sphere

“Hemispheres” is one of my favorite songs from the rock band, “Rush.” The album art features a primitive, naked man, reaching for a snappily dressed gentleman on the horizon of a brain-landscape.


The story discusses the fictional civilizations of two gods – Apollo, the bringer of wisdom, and Dionysus, the bringer of love. Apollo provides his people truth, safety, efficiency, tools to build their cities, and plenty of food and water. As his civilization progresses, his people soon realize how shallow and colorless their “perfect” life is and lose their interest in Apollo’s world. Dionysus provides an alternative. He promises art, beauty, and love. The people abandon Apollo’s cities to sing and dance with one another in the forests with Dionysus. The people were delighted, living and loving peacefully with each other, absolutely content. Unfortunately, the winter ends their paradise, bringing starvation, disease, predatory animals, and debilitating cold. The song ends, demonstrating the importance of balance; “Let the truth of love be lighted. Let the love of truth shine clear. Sensibility, armed with sense and liberty with the heart and mind united in a single, perfect sphere.”
This story is not a new one. It originates from one of the most prominent philosophical debates sparked by Plato and Aristotle over 15 centuries ago, and probably before them. Throughout the ages, we have seen this debate adapt to almost any two-ended spectrum; Liberalism vs. Conservatism, Communism vs. Capitalism, or Religion vs. Science. All of these debates show time and time again a common solution – balance. One particular spectrum presents an issue I intend to address; hemisphere dominance within the brain.
I am a poor student. I’m disorganized, inattentive, and opposed to irrelevance. I turn my work in very late; in fact, I’m writing this paper, along with two others, the night before final grades will be posted. My report cards indicate several lost assignments. Take a look at my binder and you’ll see I possess typical traits of someone with severe right hemisphere dominance.

People like me experience difficulties in society, as schools tend to teach only left-brained behavior, and teach it in a way that caters to left-brained learning. My motive for researching this topic was to find an explanation for my weaknesses and learn what right-brained people could do to improve themselves.
The human brain is divided vertically into the left and right hemisphere. Both sides have the ability to reason, but do so with opposite strategies. The left hemisphere is generally oriented toward detail, organization, and efficiency. It computes, crunches numbers, learns by repetition, and pins a given point down to the nearest infinitesimal unit. Yet, there are certain destinations that it cannot reach; corners that are not determined by units of measure, but by nuance. It can only be seen with what separates man from computer – the right hemisphere. The right hemisphere functions by feel. It is oriented toward the big picture. It connects all of the details. Simply put, it “gets it.” The left brain looks at a math formula and knows how to compute it. The right brain looks at the same problem and can identify what how it functions in life. Hemisphere Dominance is determined by which half of the brain is more active. A person with a dominant left hemisphere will often demonstrate the typical left hemisphere traits, and vice versa for the right hemisphere (wmich.edu).
Examine this list of left/right brain tendencies, and attempt to decide which side sounds more like you.
-Right brains often lose attention, as they think of many things at the same time. Left brains, on the other hand, are usually more focused.
-Right brains do not go from point A to point B as left brains do. They see the big picture quickly and finish a given project while the teacher is still explaining the steps, and loathe rules if they aren’t relevantly attached. Left brains often don’t consider the relevancy of a rule and follow through with them anyway.
-Right brains are poorly organized. They lose track of work, keeping things in “ordered piles.” Left brains file things away neatly and have a place for everything.
-Right brains are not good with words. When they attempt to relate a story, they sometimes spew out pieces of information in a random order, encountering difficulty deciding where to start. Left brains are good at telling a story with a logical beginning, middle, and end.
-Right brains embrace new ideas, enjoy controversial topics, and believe anything is possible. Left brains are skeptical of change and become good by practicing the same method several times.
-Right brains can see both sides to every argument. They are often non-judgmental, as they always see a whole person, rather than minute flaws. Left brains are more sensitive to flaws.
-Right brains are creative thinkers, and are good at inventing new ideas. Left brains are practical thinkers, and are good at putting theories into practice (Pytel).
As the left and right brain are very different, they learn by far different methods. Yet, at an early age, schools teach using methods that cater to the left brain, as the left brain is viewed as more valuable to success. Left brains teach and learn using lecture, rationalization, lots of rote work, and memorization. Right brains teach and learn using stories, diagrams, pictures, drawing, skits, games, and student response, yet it is not until the high school or college level that students are presented with these methods. Thus, right brains encounter greater difficulty (Pytel).
As stated at the beginning of the paper, the solution to right brain difficulties has been proven thoughout several centuries; balance. Students learn easiest when teaching is presented with both methods. Pictures greatly assist with math formulas, spelling, and reading comprehension (Craft). So I would suggest that schools take a lesson from Rush; the brain cannot be divided, but must be united into a single, perfect sphere.
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PostSubject: Re: Hemispheres   Thu Jun 03, 2010 11:17 pm

I'm very right brained. Also, Rush makes me want to play D&D. As not you rape the point you made, I'd like to say it was a good one; more research than I thought it would be.
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PostSubject: Re: Hemispheres   Thu Jul 08, 2010 7:09 am

Ben, your analysis of Hemispheres was great, but paripalu's analysis is clearly more accurate.

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PostSubject: Re: Hemispheres   Thu Jul 08, 2010 11:17 am

i agree completely, p's analysis is much more in-depth and accurate than anything you have said.
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PostSubject: Re: Hemispheres   Thu Jul 08, 2010 12:05 pm

I tried. P is too powerful. Sad

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PostSubject: Re: Hemispheres   Thu Jul 08, 2010 12:22 pm

haha P owned you. I love Hemispheres though. I bought the LP from the record store Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Hemispheres   Thu Jul 08, 2010 1:13 pm

i wish i had my lp player, but it currently belongs to my mom, but the time will come when i get it along with some of the greatest albums of all time!
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