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How Whole Brain Thinking Can Save the Future: Why Left Hemisphere Dominance Has Brought Humanity to the Brink of Disaster and How We Can Think Our Way to Peace and Healing Paperback – January 10, 2017
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"How Whole Brain Thinking Can Save the Future reminds us that we have the freedom to adjust our perception--and our creativity--by consciously shifting our attention, as the occasion demands." -- OM Times
As informed and informative as it is thoughtful and thought-provoking, "How Whole Brain Thinking Can Save the Future" is exceptionally well organized and presented making it a very highly recommended addition to both community and academic library Psychology/Neuroscience collections and supplemental studies reading lists. -- Dunford's Bookshelf
In a world wracked by seemingly intractable hatreds and divisions, it may seem odd to focus on brain function as the key to healing societal ills. But that's the premise of How Whole Brain Thinking Can Save the Future (Origin Press). Integral philosopher James Olson believes that our world depends too much on logical, analytical left-brain thinking. This leads to excessive dualism, a polarizing, my-way-or-the-highway approach to life that leaves people in perpetual opposition to one another. As a result, he says, "the right brain's intuitive abilities and expressions become weakened and distorted." How Whole Brain Thinking Can Save the Future is Olson's response to this dilemma. In it, he lays out what underpins his reasoning before looking at how bringing the brain's two operating systems into harmony is crucial to breaking the dualistic deadlock and creating peace both individually and collectively. As Olson states at the end, "The final responsibility and power for nipping violence in the bud and achieving peace rests in the heart and mind of each individual." -- Energy Times
How Whole Brain Thinking Can Save the Future maintains that a dominance on left-brain thinking is bringing humanity to the brink of extinction, and it combines sociology with psychology and neuroscience to advocate a better approach promoting "whole brain" consciousness. It maintains that using both hemispheres will result in successful approaches to life, thinking, and decision-making and it shows how genetics and brain function combine to direct and often skew thought processes in one direction or another. Readers somewhat familiar with theories about right- and left-brain thinking may not have drawn the extra connections between these and choices in business, politics, and lifestyle; but How Whole Brain Thinking Can Save the Future adds an extra dimension to the process which is missed by many, and presents many political and social scenarios in which the absence of a whole-brain approach is contributing to many problems. The result is a powerful survey that goes beyond the usual psychological and neuroscientific approaches to brain operations to apply them to everyday living. -- Midwest Book Review
“As a gay man who has worked for decades running a comprehensive human services agency focused on youth and families, I found Olson’s original treatment of sexual orientation to be plausible and very insightful. I believe his book will serve as a helpful guide for the gay community.” ―Dr. George Belitsos, Founder and CEO Emeritus of Youth & Shelter Services
“A fascinating and important read. Olson provides an essential missing piece to understanding ourselves and each other, and charts a path to a more holistic governance of peace.” ―Anodea Judith, PhD, bestselling author of Eastern Body, Western Mind
“The author’s multidisciplinary approach harnesses neuroscience, philosophy, and careful observation . . . Olson’s tone and style is clear, concise, and accessible across academic realms and areas of interest. Audiences will have much to ponder and apply as they better understand the functions of their own brains―and how those elements affect their perceptions of the world. . . [Olson’s book] offers a thoughtful message of hope that transcends today’s polarizing culture.” ―Foreword Reviews
From the Inside Flap
How Whole Brain Thinking Can Save The Future
Why Left Hemisphere Dominance Has Brought Humanity to the Brink of Disaster and How We Can Think Our Way to Peace and Healing
How Whole Brain Thinking Can Save the Future explores how we can achieve peace--with ourselves, with others, and inthe world--by better understanding the functioning of the brain's twomanagement systems. When we look at how the brain influences ourbeliefs, the programming that governs our day-today existence, we seethat when our beliefs are limited to the insights of only onehemisphere, they can sabotage even our best efforts to realize ourdeepest longings and desires. The book also addresses the politicalpolarization that is tearing America apart. If politicians and punditsemployed a whole-brain perspective, Olson shows, this would allow themto see the complementary nature of the two sides and ultimately unifythe country.
What you'll learn inside this book:
- The way brain hemispheres work and why you think the way you do
- How men can better understand women and women truly understand men
- How to improve your decision-making by consciously using both hemisphere
- Why you feel certain attractions, repulsions, and compulsions
- A revolutionary theory about sexual orientation
- The source of our political polarization and how to reverse it
- Each of the hemispheres houses an "operating system," a management systemserving to coordinate the interaction of the two sides of the brain.
- As a result of three types of genetic dominance--complete, incomplete, and codominance--four types of brain operating systems are produced.
- Recognizing that information inflows into the brain are separate from informationoutflows, Olson posits that the brain's information input and output are independently subject to dominance, permitting one of the four systemsto manage information input and one of the four to manage output,creating 16 different genetically determined operating-systemcombinations.
- Olson's model explains masculine tending straightwomen, gay men, and lesbians, as well as feminine tending straight men,gay men, and lesbians--and more.
- How do the two hemispheres differ in terms of their viewpoint and the focus of their attention? How do their responses differ?
- How does brain lateralization affect our polarized political discourse?
- How can we facilitate greater harmony between our brain's operatingsystems--and thus begin to heal ourselves, our cultural divisions, andour planet?
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I appreciate how the author provides details about how each hemisphere of the brain operates and why humanity has predominantly used the "left brain" to develop civilization as we know it. He then proceeds to make a strong case for integrative thinking and lays out evidence about how a left-hemisphere dominance has created much of the struggle and suffering that we experience on this planet.
If you are interested in and serious about finding better ways to live together on Planet Earth, this book will provide deep information about why it hasn't been working and what to do about it.
This false dilemma signals the shift from text book to personal manifest. Even if Olson is spot on regarding the science, that message is lost as he slips off the rails and determines instead to settle the scores of all injustices, great and small.
The tragedy of this book is that, even though Olson starts out with an intriguing premise, the narrative loses sight of its original purpose. From a political perspective, Olson allows the weight of his outrage (even though often well placed) to strip the book of the credibility necessary to sway an objective reader. Too many by modern scholars reach the John Lennon-esque conclusion that all you need is love to cure the world's ills. While it's a nice thought, it does not translate well into practical governance at any level.
Understanding the Cultural Brain
How Brain Dominance Affects Our Perception of Abortion
The Brain behind the Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex
MakingWar: The Default REsponce of Left Brain Dualism
Finding Peace, Being Peace.
I interviewed James on my radio show that airs on Blog Talk Radio.