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Two Brains, Or 'The Two Modes Of Consciousness"!
By ColinWilson

Hudson was in his fifties when he wrote "The Law of Psychic Phenomena" With the sub-title "Working Hypothesis for the Systematic Study of the Vast Potential of Man's Mind".

In the first statement of the problem of the two selves in modern scientific literature he starts from the problem of hypnotic phenomenon as demonstrated by Liebault and Bernheim. Like Freud he draws the conclusion that man's mental organization is of a dual character (Freud, of course, was totally unknown at the time). That is to say, man has, or appears to have, two minds. Each endowed with separate and distinct attributes and powers, each capable, under certain conditions, of independent action. It is the objective mind which deals with the external world through the medium of the five senses and it is the subjective mind which perceives by intuition. It sees without the use of the natural organs of vision, that intelligence which makes itself manifest in a hypnotic subject when he is in a state of somnambulism.
Hudson has recognized the differing functions of the right and left cerebral hemispheres a half a century before they were investigated experimentally. It is an incredible piece of intuitive thinking.
In the middle of the nineteenth century, doctors noticed that the two halves of the brain seem to have two different functions! "A man whose left hemisphere is damaged finds it hard to express himself in words; yet he can still recognize faces, appreciate art or enjoy music. A man whose right hemisphere is damaged can speak perfectly clearly and logically; yet he cannot draw the simplest patterns or whistle a tune. Left cerebral hemisphere deals with language and logic the right deals with recognition and intuition.
Oddly enough, the right side of the brain controls the left side of the body the left arm and leg and vice versa. The same applies to our eyes, though in a slightly more complicated fashion! (Each of our eyes is connected to both halves of the brain, the left side of each eye to the right brain, the right side of each eye to the left brain.) In the 1930s, scientists wondered whether they could prevent epilepsy by severing the corpus callosum also called the 'commissure' (a bridge of mass nerve fibers that connects the two halves of the brain), to prevent the 'electrical storm' from spreading from one half of the brain to the other. In fact, it seemed to work. And, oddly enough, the severing of the 'bridge' seemed to make no real difference to the patient. However, sometime later and when Dr. Roger Sperry in 1950 began investigating 'split-brain' patients, he made the interesting discovery that they had, in effect, turned into two people!
Everything we have seen so far indicated that the surgery has left each of these people with two separate minds, that is, with two separate spheres of consciousness. For example, one split-brain patient tried to button up his flies with one hand, while the other hand tried to undo them. Another tried to embrace his wife with one hand, while his other hand pushed her violently away, as if his conscious love for his wife was being opposed by an unconscious dislike! We all do this, one way or another, from time to time.! And the irony is that, we are not split-brain patients, or are we!
Sperry made his most interesting discovery about the eyes of split-brain patients! If the patient was shown an apple with his left eye and an orange with his right and asked what he had just seen, he would reply 'Orange'. Asked to write with his left hand what he had just seen, he would write 'Apple. Asked what he had just written, he would reply 'Orange. It would prevent one half of the brain learning what the other half knew. If a split-brain patient bumped into a chair or a solid object with the left side of his body controlled by the right brain hemisphere, the 'silent partner' the patient was unable to 'verbalize' his complaint -to 'voice' it! The left-brain controlling language, talking, did not seem to register or 'feel' it, and therefore, failed to - or didn't respond! Naturally, the 'right brain' cannot talk! Not only did the split-brain operation give the patient two separate minds it also seemed to restrict his identity, or ego, to the 'left side'
Another interesting experiment, revealed this valuable piece of information: If a split-brain patient is shown a picture of nude - among a number of neutral images - he grins or giggles (a woman would blush); asked why he is grinning (or she is feeling shy), he or she replies I don't know. With the implication that driven by some 'unconscious' forces, we may be doing things, all the time, most of which, we don't seem to know why!
The implications are clearly staggering. It seems,then, that we have two different people living in the two halves of the brain and that the person you call 'you' lives in the left side of your brain. And a few centimeters away there is another person, a completely independent identity, who is virtually a stranger - yet who also believes he is the rightful occupant of the head. Where language is concerned, this other person is almost an imbecile. In other respects, he is more competent than the inhabitant of the left-brain, he can make a far more accurate perspective drawing of a house! The 'left-brain' operates in an 'analytical' manner, 'linear time', and 'sequences'; the 'right-brain' sees through 'relational', 'space' -spatial-, and rather 'holistic'! In effect, the 'left-brain' person is, more or less, a 'scientist', the 'right-brain', again more or less, is an 'artist'. A little introspection also makes us aware that the left seems to be turned outward towards the external world while the right is turned inward towards our inner-being. The business of the 'left is to 'cope' with everyday problems The business of the right' is to deal with our inner-state and feelings (And it also seems to be in charge of our energy supply).
Consider this. If I were to wake up one morning, with many things to do through the day, and then realized that it was cold, cloudy and rainy outside; now if 'I' (the 'left') -discouraged by the weather- reflected gloomily about the situation and wished that 'I could stay home instead'; the 'right' would overhear 'me', and soon it would feel depressed too and will recoil on it-self, 'depriving' me from the energy necessary to go out and do the work! (Unless I vanquish my 'scruples', i.e. re-state my need to go out to do these things, I will be dragging myself through a very dull and boring day!)
Now, on the other hand, if I was suffering from a long day of work, fatigued, and was almost half asleep, then something of an emergency -or crisis- happens, like the neighboring house being on fire, the fatigue would immediately vanish and I would become wide awake, with an 'energy' that will be difficult for me to explain its 'real' source, or its 'magnitude!
Using Wilson's simile It is the Stan/Ollie relation. Ollie consciousness the 'left- is basically the boss. Stan the right, the unconscious takes his queues from Ollie. If Ollie is cheerful, Stan is positively ecstatic. If Ollie is angry or unsatisfied, Stan would recoil onto himself, feeling puzzled and at loss Stan always 'over-reacts. In short there is a build-up of 'feedback' between the 'two', both 'negatively' and 'positively!
Norman Vincent Peale may not have been a great intellect, but he understood something about the human mind that Freud managed to overlook. It also seems that the so-called 'other mode of consciousness' perceiving horizons of distant facts and meanings, is the work of the right brain the subjective or the unconscious mind! What Freud described as 'a moldering cellar full of rats and centipedes, an ocean full of squids and sharks', is quite simply a libel on that invaluable and highly creative area of the brain. For instance, we are bound to 'enter into' music if it is more than just a meaningless noise... But when we become so 'absorbed' in a piece of music, and feel like 'identifying' ourselves with the composer, with his inner-feelings at the time of composing, we would be experiencing an unusually deep sense of empathy, ten times as deeply as usual! In fact, this 'other mode' of consciousness is a state of perception rather than empathy or an awareness of a wider range of 'fact'-of the actuality of the world outside.
Much of the law of Psychic Phenomena is concerned with the incredible powers of the subjective mind, but, we must avoid falling into the obvious trap of regarding the right as a hero and the left as a villain. The error is more dangerous because it is not entirely without foundation. The left does tend to behave like a nagging and self-opinionated housewife, obsessed with its own trivial purposes, continually imposing its own simplistic notions on the complexity of reality.
However, Hudson made another basic observation about the objective and the subjective that would shed much light on the 'two brains' functioning's and domain of specialty, which, again, would prove indispensable to the inter-connectivity, and essential synchronicity, between the two and the work of so called Inspiration! And would also, put the left in its proper place! It would restore its original function or purpose! The objective mind is capable of reasoning both inductively and deductively while the subjective mind is only capable of deductive reasoning. Induction is the ability to swoop from a number of given 'facts' to the general principle underlying them; i.e. the recognition of laws. Deductive reasoning starts out from the laws and can predict the facts that follow from them. This seems at first contradictory; surely, if the right brain, subjective mind, sees over-all patterns -another name for laws- then it should be capable of reasoning from the particular to the general? The answer is that it can only do so after the left-brain has provided the 'facts'. When the left-brain has provided the trees the right will recognize a forest. But inductive reasoning is a feedback between the left and the right. So if; the left-brain has been put to sleep by hypnosis, the right can only operate deductively. Its deductions may be as brilliant as those of Sherlock Holmes; but it cannot see its way to new laws or principles. Only the left can do that, with the aid of the right.
So, and in a sense, what we call inspiration, is the result of the 'two brains simultaneously working together' at their best. One -the right, provides the idea, the theme, and the other -the left works on executing it perfectly or as perfect as possible! i.e. It seems that, again, we are talking about one form or mode, so to speak, of FacultyX. Towards the end of The Law of Psychic Phenomena Hudson made these extraordinary statements:
1. The subjective mind exercises complete control over the functions and sensations of the body.
2. The subjective mind is amenable to control by the suggestions of the objective mind.
These two propositions being true, the conclusion is obvious, that the functions and sensations of the body can be controlled by suggestions of the objective mind.
T. J. Hudson's last statements, described by Wilson as, "Extraordinary Statements" are the 'hinge' on which Psychology, and probably everything else hangs! The implications are that, the Psychology of Freud along with the rest of the unconscious school (that the Unconscious is nothing but a dungeon full of spiders and monsters) and that the Unconscious for its massive powers, is also -or according to 'their' observations, should be- the 'real' master (the driver) of the Psyche, and therefore of the rest of the 'body'; and that the Conscious mind in this respect, is no more than a carriage (carrying orders), or at most, a passive observer or 'partner' that cannot do a thing before, or towards, the massive powers of the Unconscious; anyway is a psychology of Total Miscalculations!
The brain may be a Frankenstein's Castle', but we shall not find "mad monsters lurking in its cellars". Also, it is apparent that the unconscious mind with its 'real' massive powers can do miraculous things, but it also needs the conscious mind to steer it out, to steer the 'whole (of us) out! Just as the safety -and the maneuvering- of the 'huge' ship, depends on the intelligence of the 'little' man behind the wheel! Or, as in the 'little boy leading the 'elephant'! In fact, this is where the 'Freudians' went totally wrong: It is the 'little man' -the captain- that actually 'drives' -controls- the 'ship'; and that the 'size' -the massive powers of the 'unconscious'-, in this case, is totally irrelevant! A misconception! It is only Our 'pessimistic romantic nature or temper', that 'drives' us to believe otherwise; no more, no less (and Freud was not an exception!)
It would certainly lead us to 'false observations' like this one; that the 'right', the 'subjective', the 'unconscious', (because of its massive size and great powers) is -or should be- the 'real leader'! It may be that, 'right-brain moods -of relaxation and expansion- are so obviously desirable, they fill us with optimism and replenish our energies, but the ' unconscious (Stan) is not cut out to drive or to control, to be the 'leader' and make decisions! (If cases of 'secondary personalities' is anything to go by, 'surrender to the right' would be no solution at all.) But even in cases or moods less extreme or drastic than that, the 'right' should not be the one to lead or make decisions about it! i.e. for its deductions, or rather for its inability to perceive logical consequences for instance, if things are done under 'its' supervision, or command, nine times out of Ten, it would lead to a disaster! Again, the 'right' may produce the 'musical theme', the 'idea', but the 'left' is the one that should 'write' the score down, 'conduct' it, or 'execute' it!
All this underlines something that should be quite clear in any case; that in a sense, we are all split brain patients. Hysterics! For part of the time, we are entrapped in our 'left-brain' ego of 'everydayness trivialities'! And for the rest of the time, we are doing things, 'driven' by some mysterious force, not knowing why we are doing them! And this is what mostly hindering us from arriving at the so-called "Totality of Oneself".
(H.S.) 17-2-2000 "Frankenstein's Castle" The Right Brain "Door To Wisdom" (c)1980.ColinWilson.
"Poltergeist" A Study In Destructive Hauntings";. (c)1981.ColinWilson.
"Two Sides of the Brain" An Essay by Robert E. Ornstein. From
"Understanding Mysticism" Edt. by Richard Woods.(c)1980.R.Woods.
"The Laurel and Hardy Theory of Consciousness" From "The Essential Colin Wilson". (c)1985. ColinWilson.