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Annoyance comments on The Apologist and the Revolutionary - Less Wrong

161 Post author: Yvain 11 March 2009 09:39PM

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Comment author: Annoyance 12 March 2009 07:00:00PM *  15 points [-]

Theodore Sturgeon once wrote a short story (entitled "The [Widget], the [Wadget], and Boff") about aliens conducting a research study on humans, trying to understand why they don't seem to possess a specific neural circuit that every other sentient lifeform known possesses.

They discover that humans do have this circuit, it merely remains inactive most of the time, even when it's needed. Their experiments on what conditions DO activate the circuit end up improving the lives of a group of people in a boarding house - or more accurately, getting the people to improve their own lives once the active circuit makes them realize what's wrong.

The metaphor he uses to explain the functioning of this circuit is suddenly losing your balance and instinctively reaching out to steady yourself... which is what his hypothetical circuit does, only when your life (for lack of a better term) is out-of-balance.

Sturgeon might have intuitively grasped something important, there.

Comment author: Annoyance 12 March 2009 08:05:12PM 6 points [-]

I will further note that the sort of neurological findings discussed in the OP is consistent with the model that the left hemisphere has a narrow and specific focus, while the right is integrative and global.

Expressing thoughts is ways likely to encourage one hemisphere's techniques to dominate might be useful, as one previous commenter mentioned writing with his left rather than his right hand. Trying to avoid language might also be beneficial.

Since women's brains are less hemispherically specialized, I don't know that these sorts of experiments are likely to be effective with them. How well does the cold water thing work in women vs. men, I wonder?