Where is our future headed if left brain thinking is the sole concern of education? It seems that as humanity has evolved, society has tended to focus more on left brain activites than on right brain activities. Although some may see this as more sophisticated, there is a huge problem with this. The left brain is nothing but a calculating computer. It can take the facts, the numbers, the figures, and all of the data and make decisions based on this. Any computer can do these same basic calculations. The problem, however, is that there is a huge piece of humanity that is missing from this equation. Emotion. Without emotion we loose our humanity. What is in store for humanity if we focus on the numbers and calculations and leave the right brain to shrink and shrivel. How will we survive as a species without love, compassion, and creativity? What seperates us from animals without these deeper aspects of ourselves?
The American educational system continues to encourage left brain thinking all the while dumbing down the right brain activities. When there are funding cuts, it is usually the arts that go first. Our children are being raised to be consumers. The powers that be are not thinking about our children being able to think outside of the box. In fact, they prefer to keep them in the box, easily controlled and easier to manipulate. The more we focus on the bills, the price of gas, the paychecks, and our jobs, the less we focus on the ethics. The more concerned we are with the numbers, the less we are concerned with what is right and what feels good for the whole. The issue at hand is that as we continue to encourage left brain thinking, and diminish right brain thinking, we begin to loose our humanity. There is nothing wrong with left brain thinking as long as it is balanced with a good amount of right brain thinking, but we need them both. We need to balance reason with compassion. We need to balance the facts with imagination. It is important to be able to follow steps and directions as required with linear thinking, but occasionally there is no map or instruction book. Sometimes we end up in situations where we must use our imagination and vision to figure our way around a problem. What will our future be like when our children can no longer function under such circumstances?
Its time to start thinking holistically, with our right brains more often. The linear thinking of the left brain has us so distracted by the figures that we are not looking at the big picture. Without the vision of the right brain, we focus on the here and now of the situation, leaving the future out of the equation. What good will all of the money in the world be if we fail to look at the big picture and protect the planet that we live on? What good is money when there is no air to breath or water to drink? We cant spend all that money when we are dead. When decisions are made based on highest profitability instead of the greater good for all, we begin to loose our humanity. Take one look at how our governments and big businesses are functioning and it is easy to see how much humanity has already been lost due to these ways of thinking. Our clothes are made in other countries where children sweat and suffer working for pennies a day so that we can have high quality clothes at a good price. Most of our countries big businesses don’t rely much on their right brain faculties such as compassion and love. This just wouldn’t be profitable. What will happen if we continue down this road? How human will we be if we continue to cut the humanities out of our education and our daily lives?
Martha Nussbaum was right when she said that we are in the middle of a crisis. In her book, Not for Profit, she says, “We are in the midst of a crisis of massive proportions and grave global significance. No I do not mean the global economic crisis that began in 2008. At least then everyone knew that a crisis was at hand, and many world leaders worked quickly and desperately to find solutions. No, I mean a crisis that goes largely unnoticed like a cancer; a crisis that is likely to be, in the long run, far more damaging to the future of democratic self-government: a world wide crisis in education.” (p. 1) We can not continue to look the other way while our children are brainwashed and our society is dumbed down any more than it already has been. We and our children are desensitized by the news and the television shows daily. We are loosing our morals and our imagination. Society as a whole is loosing its compassion. We can’t afford to loose any more of the humanities in the educational system or our daily lives. We can’t afford to loose anymore of our humanness.