Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Left brain versus right brain? logic and emotion

Left brain versus right brain?  Logic versus emotion?
Logic is governed by the left brain, and emotion, by the rightbrain (Damasio, Grabowski, Frank, Galaburda, & Damasio, 1994).  As both make up the entire human thinking, there is oftentimes conflicting interests – dilemmas, so to speak.

Logic and emotion play a pivotal role in decision-making.  I hear many people, and even myself, agonise over the many decisions we make in our lives.  How can we make the best decision?  What is the best?  How can we decide to decide?

Logic and emotion make great slaves, but not great masters.  This is my opinion on how we can make our best decisions.

There are three main categories of decisions, minor, intermediate and major.  These categories are based on the degree of time and how much the decisions impact our lives.  Minor decisions can range from a few minutes to a few days of impact.  Intermediate decisions range from a few days to a few months of impact, and major decisions range from a few months to a few years of impact, and even for your entire life.

For minor to intermediate decisions, both logic and emotion come into play.  However, when it comes to the crunch, logic is the over-riding factor.  For logical thinkers, this would be great for them.  For emotional thinkers, strict discipline is required on their part to enforce the logic breaking point.

Interestingly, for major decisions, such as what we want to do for the rest of our lives, our careers, the places we choose to live in, many people are torn between logic and emotion.  They are vexed to a greater degree, especially if they employ logic and emotion in making their minor and intermediate decisions.  If that is the case, how can we make the best major decision?

The best major decisions are made with emotion.

I reiterate, the best major decisions are made with emotion.
The reason?  We are gifted with two brains, left and right.  There is a reason for having left (logical) and right (emotional) brains.  Ponder on this.  If we were to be logical thinkers only, we would only be equipped with left brains.  On the other side, if we were to be emotional thinkers only, we would only be equipped with right brains.  The best part is, the two brains are divided into half, one on the left, one on the right.  This division suggests an equality of the two processes – logic and emotion.

The logic makes us intellectual, the emotion, makes us human.  Take away any of these two, we are not living anymore.  Making major decisions is living.  If we are living, and major decisions impact our lives in a big way, emotion is our helpful assistant.  Let us make our major decisions with emotion, and glorify our intellect with the human side of us.

Presented below is a summary of Logic or emotion.

Logic or emotion?

1. Minor
  • Impact?  Few minutes to few days
  • Breaking point? Logic
2. Intermediate
  • Impact? a few days to a few months
  • Breaking point? Logic
3. Major
  • Impact? a few months to a few years of impact, entire life
  • Breaking point? Emotion
Damasio, H ., Grabowski, T., Frank, R., Galaburda, A. M., & Damasio, A. R. (1994). The return of Phineas Gage: clues about the brain from the skull of a famous patient. Science, 264(5162), 1102-1105.

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