thinking outside ‘answer mode’.


It struck me the other day about how kids are content with small answers that require no thought. From the moment they start talking, they are looking to wrap it up and move on to the next thing. One sentence is enough for young children, 2 sentences are often enough for older children etc. It appears the older we get, the more we require bigger answers until we get to a point where by no answer is convincing enough. I’m thinking about is there ever a point whereby the search to be convinced is actually detrimental to being happy in the first place?

Is it all down to the left part of our brains being dominant?

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The left side of our brains are the verbal, rational side thinking in numbers and letters and words, whilst the right side is non-verbal, intuitive side thinking in patterns, pictures and other whole things. Artists are taught about how to access the left and right sides of the brain, and how they can turn off the left side, by giving the brain tasks that only appeal to the right side.

Experiencing what happens to us whilst trying to access our least dominant side at best difficult and at worst comical. One way you can try this out, is by having a pencil and paper, turning away from the paper so you can’t look at it (usually facing the opposite way) and with your other hand ‘cup it’ so its all wrinkled up. Then to spend 5 minutes (time it) looking only at the creases in the cupped hand and trying to draw them, without looking at the drawing hand. Remember you won’t be drawing the shape or outline of the hand, just the creases and folds of skin itself.

As you draw you’ll experience the left brain, questioning what you’re doing, it trying to convince you that you’re stupid for even trying, it will also try and convince you to stop and look at the paper, it may even be powerful enough to turn your head around without you wanting to look. Eventually the Left side will settle down, it will become bored and realise that as much as it wants to control/help, its not being allowed to, so the Right side will begin to take control.

Now something different will start to happen. You’ll experience a calmness, or a silence in your head, you’ll start to concentrate incredibly at the folds of skin, you’ll start to see all the tiny intricate shapes and details and may also get ‘lost’ within those lines. You’ll stop thinking about the paper and whats going on with the other hand. Your Right brain will be in total control.

The end result of the drawing will be a mess, but an intricate detailed mess of connecting lines. It also won’t look anything like a hand, but that’s ok, because that will be your left brain trying to tell you thats what it should look like, when actually you’ll have to remember that you were only drawing the creases and not the hand outline itself. Eventually, whilst looking at the drawing, your left brain will get bored and wander off, leaving you with your right brain to study the details in silence. hooray 🙂

Another example is doing a task repeatedly until your Left brain no longer needs to think about the actions and motions, allowing your Right brain to start day dreaming or processing other thought. It happens to me whilst driving or swimming. I’m not entirely sure whether this is the exact same left and right separation of thought that I’ve described in the artistic method above, but its certainly another example of turning off ‘thought’ in some way.

Anyways the point is, that supressing the ‘left side’ won’t damage your dominant thought, if anything, continual practice, will probably enhance it. But one thing I’ll be certain of is we’ll start to understand how a child can look at a flower or an insect for ages… focusing on all the details and intricate lines, without interruption from the left side telling it to stop and move on to something more constructive.

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So I’m still wondering about if ‘answers’ directly contribute to happiness? I don’t believe they do, I think answers are a contribution to a false understanding of how to reach happiness. I bet if we could measure our pre answer state with our post answer state, the feeling of happiness won’t be anywhere in the equation.

Some people get to the level whereby answers aren’t the point of searching in the first place. Now this is great, I’m all in favour of it. But even forgetting the ‘answer’ itself, is the process of searching for answers a pointless exercise? Ultimately I guess people who revel in extended thinking, probably don’t care about the answer in the first place, and also understand that chasing the development of thought is often not in anyway related…. ergh….

You get the point. Possibly.

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