Monday, October 25, 2010

Late afternoon, gray day, mild, a bit muggy. I feel alternately too warm, on brisk walks outside, and then too cold, bundled in layers indoors. In a reflective mood, or maybe just tired. Phantom lovers. I could use a corporeal one. Alternate universe, I suppose, is what I need to wait for. Or perhaps I'm having a good time there already. I used to. I took my antibiotic. I've been folding a bit of paper between my fingers and twisting it around. I changed out handbags today, pulled out a heavy dark brown leather workhorse. Found two "sugar in the raw" packets at bottom of summer bag. Bought a pumpkin today, and a squash at a farmstand. Was hoping for fresh spinach, but one gets what they have. There was a long-rig truck driver there, beaming, buying himself a bag of fresh apples, marveling at the trusting self-service nature of an off-season farmstand. Delicious quesadillas for lunch, essentially a mixed salad on a tortilla with melted cheese, leftover roast chicken, and black beans with chorizo. Reading Iain McGilchrist's magisterial The Master and his Emissary, whose essential concept (systematically laid out in the course of very nearly 600 pages) has so absolutely the ring of truth about it that I find it electrifying. Basically, that the divided nature of the human brain (right and left hemispheres), and their different functional approaches towards apprehending the world, do a lot to explain the nature of (a) an individual's essentially conflicted nature, and (b) the conflicted nature of the whole of human history (especially Western civilization) up to the present day. Essentially, the Left Brain - the bureaucrat, in a sense - has been whomping, dissing, and seizing the reins from the Right Brain, the loving, intuitive, connecting, metaphorical, letting it be/grow/flow one. The book is chilling and frightening in its dispassionately passionate avowals. The way human evolution seems to be going, the left brain - privileging not so much "reason" as "rationality" (there's a difference, one is in Emersonian terms, "Man Thinking," the other rigid "thought") (that's me, not McGilchrist) - is not only trumping right brain, but pretty much trying to eliminate it. Left brain wants nothing short of complete control & hegemony. Right brain (what used to be God, the very raison d'ĂȘtre in the fullest possible sense of the phrase) is.... the dissenter.

(Have I mentioned that I could use a kiss right about now? Can you tell that I won't be writing book reviews for the New York Review or anywhere else anytime soon? It's okay. XOXO)

Anyway, it's a brilliant book, and I think it explains a great deal in (for example) American history and politics. If I thought that Supreme Court Justices such as Roberts, Alito, and Thomas were actually capable of "thinking" (as opposed to simply cynically (no - even more chillingly, without such benefit of implied irony or reflection) applying their rigid ideologies to court decisions) then I would urge this book on them. I'm afraid they are the examples of inferior Emissaries where we used to have Masters. But I do believe (from what I've glimpsed of him on Charlie Rose) that Justice Breyer would appreciate it, and - well, anyone at all - please at least glance at the book or finer appreciations of it than mine - for a very very nail-on-the-head central organizing metaphor (nay, more than metaphor - jeez, just on a scalar level, the way things are)...

Darlings, dinner tonight will be leftover Sicilian Spicy Chicken, and now it's the gloaming, but I've beaten it to the punch by going about the house a half hour ago putting lamps on here and there in the rooms. Penelope and Rafe are brooding like hens in respective corners of the neglected vegetable beds.

I have a divided brain, right and left, like absolutely everybody else. Maybe I'm a bit more intelligent than average, probably. I'm mostly right-handed, but I can play a few Bach inventions, which involves the left hand. I'm functionally blind in my left eye - my visual perceptions come mostly from my right. My mind reels thinking about "right brain" and "left brain." Which is which, from which perspective.... But I do know this much in myself, I try to cultivate, capture, respect capacities of both sides of myself (indeed a lot more of the subtler aspects), it's not a zero-sum, either/or game.

Perfect song on just now, thank you so much you champions of the "Master" - John Lennon's Across the Universe.

I love you. But I'm serious about the real kisses. What the hell do I have to do?

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