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Einstein’s Brain and our Choice of Futures

November 2013.  Published in Eyes on BC Magazine. © Copyright 2013

It’s about time someone wrote about the obvious link between Einstein’s brain, a dog’s sense of smell, bean counters, seaweed, and the survival of the species – all of the species, including our own. 

Teilhard de Chardin said in 1957, “The day is not far distance when humanity will realize that biologically it is faced with a choice between suicide and adoration.”  Suicide is not our first choice, nevertheless, we continue down that path.  What happened to adoration?

Probably your dog adores you; no question my dog adores me. I’ve often wondered - how well does she smell – really?  To find the truth, I searched that most reliable source - the internet.  With fine pointed accuracy, my research confirmed that a dog’s sense of smell is between 20 and a million times better than ours.  That’s a wide range, and it only tells me one thing: with all due respect, our dogs think we’re stupid.

When Einstein died, the undertaker slipped off with his brain, and it is now being studied all around the world.  Why was Einstein so much more brilliant than the rest of us? Where did his expansive creative, imaginative, visionary, mathematical genius come from? His brain was no larger than average, but had several unique features. With a thicker corpus callosum, he had “unusually well connected hemispheres”; the right and left brain knew how to talk to each other.  His prefrontal cortex (abstract thought) was extremely well developed, as was the somatosensory cortex  - which “may be due to his violin playing.”  (Playing music is a right brain activity that increases our intelligence.) 

Let’s shift the conversation to a particular group among us who are not Einsteins. Bean counters are people who just count beans.  They live in the world of stuff, hard contoured solid stuff, and they love the stuff in their bank accounts most of all.  The music industry took its first serious blow when the bean counters took over. “Will this music make me money?” became more important than “This music is great and deserves to be heard."  Both musicians and listeners suffered. The next blow was “Music is free – why buy her CD?”  Musicians took the full whammy on that shift. After that, the bean counters moved on. Recently, they’ve set their eyes on the seaweed beds off the coast of Bowser. 

The whole brain mind of an Einstein would first of all stand in awe of something as majestic as the coastal waters of British Columbia, and then think about how to protect them. A bean counter will look “out there” to see only profit to be made.

How does this happen? It’s simple. Bean counters are half-brains. There is nothing wrong with the half brain they use, but it shouldn’t be making decisions alone. The left brain counts, gathers, strategizes, and chats all the time. The right brain envisions, creates, intuits and feels connection with what’s around it.  The left brain sees hard lines where the right brain sees no lines. We need both.

Bean counters are not “bad” people just because they are half-brains.  We use the expression, “He isn’t working with a full deck,” or “She’s lost her marbles.”  Well, imagine losing touch with half your brain.  Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”  Imagination is right brain brilliance. 

We are falsely made to believe that we have to make a choice between a strong economy and a healthy environment.  That is uncreative, short-term thinking.  Really, the choice we are making is between half a brain and a whole brain, between extinction and survival, between rape and gratitude, and between selfishness and compassion. As Teilhard de Chardin said, the real choice we have to make is between suicide and adoration. 

Einstein’s brilliance demonstrates what is possible.  But we desperately need to repair the bridge between our overly confident, scheming, bean counter left brain and our creative, spiritual, intuitive right brain. 

Profit for the few is not the solution.  It’s uncreative thinking.  It’s suicidal. It will stop. But will it stop because we wake up or because we’re dead?

Our dogs know we humans can be really stupid – and we are stupid if we don’t use both hemispheres of our brain in interest of our own survival. We live in an extremely imbalanced left hemisphere dominated society and that’s the cause of most of our crises. Creative problem solving is what we need right now. Creative problem solving draws from creativity – not far removed from right hemisphere gifts of writing, art, music, intuition, emotion, courage, connection, a sense of meaning, love – and adoration.

There are millions of ways to reconnect to the voice of our right hemisphere that speaks in silence, in shifts of awareness, in subtle insights that change everything. Sometimes it just requires taking a break from the relentless rant of the left brain!

How? By silence, art, music, a walk in the woods. Meditation, yoga, song, dance. By authentic spiritual practices, imaginative play, holding a baby. Immersion in love. Being present, being quiet, watching - inside and out.  By entering the semi-dream state that inspires composers, scientists and artists.

View everything as if it were a dream. What might you see in that dream? Millions of forms of life, from tiny bugs to birds that soar in the sky on wings and song, to grasses that wave in the air, itself alive with light. Exotic creatures large and small. Children playing and elders laughing. Beaches with rocks and sand, creatures shaped like stars.  Where did it all come from?

Our life here is still a beautiful dream, not because of what we have in the bank, but because of what we have in our lungs and under our feet and before our eyes and in the care of our hands and hearts.  We couldn’t make this up!  Adoration is the only reasonable response.

by Joanne Sales, Vancouver Island, BC Canada joanne@glasswing.com