Life is interesting and complicated because reality is a duality. This means there can be no one Truth but instead many truths most of which are all true at the same time yet conflict. This is why we are in trouble when it comes to artificial intelligence (robots) but I will get to that later.
An example of one of these dualities is wonderfully and amusingly depicted in the book furiously happy by Jenny Lawson.
A machine can be built to be either sensitive or specific. As you get more of one you get less of the other. Sensitivity is the ability to pick things up and specificity is the ability to be correct. If a machine picks up everything i.e. sensitive it has a lot of false positives. If a machine is to be correct and true it then misses a lot i.e. false negatives
The brain is a machine. Essentially the more you notice the less correct you are. The more correct you are the less you are aware of.
The author Jenny in Furiously happy displays a highly sensitive mind. She is aware of everything but a lot of what she is aware of is not true. This is the basis of her anxiety and many more of the issues that she describes herself to be dealing with. In humans’ sensitivity is synonymous with Empathy. At high levels of empathy you are always aware of others but how you are aware of them mostly is not true. This makes her empathy, sensitivity, highly false positive and thus more about her assumption of others than of the others themselves. She is aware of and sensitive to the suffering of others but to an extent of which her assumptions of how others are suffering is completely erroneous. It is experiencing others as if they were you, to which they are not. Highly empathetic people experience themselves as others. There is no self / ego.
Sensitivity is right brain and specificity is left brain. Sensitivity/right brain is based on emotion and specificity / Left brain is based on data. What is true in one can be not true in the other at the same time. Right brain people experience emotion as data but emotion is not data it is emotion and emotion is changeable and true for the moment.
Our sense of self / our ego is held in the left brain as well as memory and intellect and learning. Our sense of others, group, emotion and empathy is held in the right brain. The chemical that coordinates most left brain activity is dopamine and right brain activity is serotonin. The balance of left and right brain is controlled by norepinephrine that turns down serotonin and oxytocin that moderates dopamine. The meaning of it all is BALANCE.
The right brain emotion also works 12x faster than the left brains intellect. This is so to keep us alive. We don’t need to be correct but to react quickly if any possible danger so the majority of us are built to over react but some people are clearly experts in this. They are the human version of a peacock. Peacocks are the alarm bells of the animal kingdom. They react immediately and intensely to any environmental change.
Much of modern psychiatry screws this right left balance thing all up as focusing on details of symptoms they miss the big picture of how this balance is off. Highly empathetic individuals are not grounded in self thus are all over the place but it is not adhd but the inability to get out of everyone’s head or limit their sensitivity to emotional data. Too much data and no way to categorize it. Most of human’s language is nonverbal which is right brained and picked up instantaneously and unconsciously. That’s why super right brained people get overwhelmed in groups as there is so much information and it comes so fast – people describe it to me as feeling almost clairvoyant. Verbal language is left brained and the words to describe feeling places a box around them that prevents being overwhelmed by them. Allows for the categorization of it. Rothko the artist depicted this with his geometric shaped painting with chaotic vibrant colors trapped within them. His art contained/boxed his right brain experiences. This is not adhd. It is the inability to tag the emotional pictures such that they can be stored and no longer attuned to. Right brain thinks in emotion but sees in pictures. It only takes tad stimuli to create a picture that makes one feel they know that. But a lot of that is really made up information. Right gist wrong story. This all can cause anxiety as the picture of how a very right brained individual sees things works for a while then all of a sudden doesn’t as reality moved on from the picture/ expectation and the person can’t shift or change the picture in their head once it is formed. Mood swings can occur as one needs that picture to be true as they can’t erase it and recheck into the environment to form a new one. When the picture is cracked a person is for a time untethered and can become dysphoric i.e. limbo sucks. A new picture or explanation of things will eventual form and they will now be 100% in that reality for a while.
Our two brain system I believe creates free will as there is never one answer to anything but just the best balance we can achieve. Everyone naturally leans toward either L or R brain but most people have some balance of both. Some people in extreme lean either Right or Left brain functioning i.e. Bipolar individuals are primarily right brained and Asperger’s individuals are primarily left brained. If you are only using 1 brain you don’t check your experiences against the other and might miss the big picture or be out of sync with other people and reality.
This is one of the purposes in being in a relationship. Our openness to others allows ourselves to be more grounded in reality. The fun thing is the more extreme in either direction the less we are aware of the fact we need to be with others who conflict with our views.
Another right brained situation people can find themselves with is Dyslexia: Dyslexia isn’t just seeing things backwards the Dyslexic personality is someone who can’t take assumed knowledge as real and true until they discover it for themselves. I read that if a dyslexic walks into a room and everyone is sitting on the right, they will sit on the left. They wouldn’t see or assume that one should sit on the right.
These figuring things out on their own if misunderstood often can lead to anxiety or depression as there is a large social pressure to fit in and be just like everyone else. If the person is highly empathic on top of this there will be a lot of guilt with this not fitting in naturally. They may even try but it won’t work for long. As the book Fish in a tree points out. They are a Fish in a tree. That’s why dyslexic’s like to make up their own words rather than use the tried old true ones for theirs are just so much better and the way the language should be. This is another example in both Fish in a Tree and Furiously Happy.
Now why are we in trouble from our future artificial intelligent robot friends. Again reality is a duality and a machine can only be built either sensitive or specific. Our robots will be built specific and literal because at this juncture we know much of squat about right brain emotional processing. This will be a problem as Asperger individuals (future robots too) are often really annoyed by others who they can find “stupid” or wrong or inefficient.
We really shouldn’t build AI computers until we have the capacity to build them like us with two conflicting brains. Otherwise the most logical thing to do with humans might be to get rid of them.
Caveat: Left and right brain in reality is a simplification, more a metaphor to make it easier to talk about the subject. Reality is more like how Deepak Chopra described it, each point of time and space is like a multifaceted diamond. Each facet is different representations of the same point. Therefore, Left and right are really all happing at the same time and in the same place. But this makes it hard to conceive. The idea of duality also is this way. It isn’t really a duality but a multifaceted reality all happening at the same time in the same place only not. That’s why we will stick to simpler metaphors.