edge of a civil war
Have you one eye different from the other? Yes, everybody doest, but what I
mean is, do you have a vision problem that is stronger in one eye? or even
different vision problems in each eye?
I will try to convince that you have a political problem....
but first of all we need to talk a little about the right and the left hemispheres
of the brain.
If you visualize a brain it looks like half a nut which is in turn divided
into two parts connected at the base. So, if we want to be precise, the brain
has the shape of half a sphere, and what we call hemispheres are in reality
half of that half.....
The first thing to know is that the brain is connected to the body, via the
nervous system. in a cross pattern, so that the right hemisphere is connected
to the left part of the body, and vice versa. This applies also to the eyes,
so we can say that the left eye expresses mainly the right hemisphere of our
The second thing to know is that in humans the two hemispheres are not developed
to the same degree. Therefore, the related parts of the body are also developed
differently. In fact 90% of humankind is right- handed, and 10% left- handed;
almost nobody is equally developed.
This already means that the activity of the left hemisphere (connected with
the right part of the body) must be dominant for at least 90% of people. In
reality, it is even more than that. Also many left- handed persons have a left
Science has long known that the mechanism of speech is located in specific
areas of the left hemisphere (in 98% of the right- handed, and 75% of the left-
handed). Now speech and words are really important in our way of life; we could
take them as synonymous for reason, since logic, what we call "man’s
ability to think", is based on words. So we may say that the left hemisphere
is our reasoning part, and the right hemisphere is good for something else
(probably unimportant). In reality, it's more complicated than that.
As a matter of fact, both parts have very sophisticated and distinct ways of
elaborating information which is then integrated through the so- called corpus
callosum, which is a veritable bridge between the two parts. Through the integration
of these two channels of elaboration of information, we attain a rich representation
OK, the left part has functions which are verbal and analytical, this is clear,
but scientific research has proved that the right part has an elaborating system
which is fast, complex, synthetic, spatial (based on space) and propriocetpive
(based on inner perceptions of the body). Most of the time our two parts find
a way to collaborate, or at least to avoid disturbing each other; sometimes
they even trade places, sometimes they actively fight each other.
Right is right!
When they don't we generally tend to prefer the left hemisphere, i.e. our right
part of the body. And when I say "we" I mean all of us, everywhere,
since many thousands of years!
Consider this: in basically every language there is a connection between the
right hand and the idea of just, correct, right.
And left, on the other hand is connected with the idea of treacherous,
weak, bad. (It is related to the basic discrimination between male and female; right has
a lot to do with male, and left is seen very much in connection with
female, we will come back on this, some other time).
Let me play a little with the political connotations of this.
Yes, in the brain there are two political parties: the conservatives (the right
part, corresponding to the left hemisphere of the brain) and the socialdemocrats
(the left part, corresponding to the right hemisphere). Now, you know, the left has
a certain tendency to anarchy; if you allow it free rein you will live a very
artistic, bohemian, passionate life, forget all about order and moderation!
And the right has, like every right wing, a certain tendency towards
....authority and dictatorship.
Dictatorship in this field means that most of the time the left hemisphere
(right wing) will dominate, ignoring his counterpart.
On the right (left hemisphere) side we have organization, law, linear
logic, language, time (the idea of now- and- then). Through it we are able
to say things like: "given a b c, if a is bigger than b and b is bigger
than c, then a is also bigger than c" (Aristotelian stuff...).
On the other side (right hemisphere) we find intuition, subjectivity, globality,
space (but no time); we dream and understand metaphors.
Now, our society is much more oriented towards the values of the left hemisphere,
with everybody pretending to be very logical.
From time to time there is an explosion of repressed values, a wave of irrationalism,
but only rarely it is able to involve significant minorities. The Hippie movement
was the last significant example. But after a while the dominant values, i.e.
the right (= left hemisphere´ s) values prevail again. And today
there is no doubt that these are the prevailing values. Even where irrationality
seem to prevail (as in current wars and nationalistic movements) it expresses
itself in ways that are more akin to the political right wing (hence to the
So the fact is, left hemisphere is always dominant and society always pushes
in that direction, now more than ever. This in turn means thatt almost all
our brains are unbalanced and tend to use and favour the right eye much more
than the left! See the point?
The right eye is our silent majority (good citizens)and the left is
the troubled minority. That means that normally the right eye sees better,
because the other eye simply receives less attention and feed back.
But sometimes the left eye sees better because the right one receives too much
information and attention (and therefore stress).
This situation may evolve in different ways. Sometimes in a very authoritarian
way: If the brain has to choose (or thinks it must), as in squint, or in certain
cases of farsightedness, it will sacrifice the left eye- just like a government
makes cuts on social welfare.
Other times it is possible that the two eyes develop problems in two different
ways. That means that the two hemispheres are losing their ability to collaborate,
and are giving contrasting feed back to the related parts of the body, just
like some kind of secession, which will probably lead sooner or later to a
civil war (thinking of Yugoslavia is all too easy).
Where is the way out? Democracy, of course!
Democracy means first, with respect to your eyes, to protect and involve the
minority more than we normally do.
You need to give more space to your right brain hemisphere (art, space, emotions
etc.) and thus to your left eye.
You also should use it more, as well as the left hand, the left foot etc.
The second meaning of democracy is: mutual respect and negotiation.
In our approach all these things are achieved with a simple technique: first,
you spend some time seeing the world with your weak eye (and covering the other
with a blindfold; then, you have your right and left eye talk with each other,
using a technique called Voice Dialogue, so that they can understand each other
and find points of agreement.
The majority (right eye) has also some right to your attention: make sure that
it works less! Treat it like you would with a workaholic, who doesn’t
know how to stop: force it to do so! This means, again, using the one- eye
And if you cannot solve your political crisis alone, bring both your eyes to
the next Holiday on Eyes summer course in Italy or in Spain and we will manage
to convince them.
italian conference of vision educators
english links Summer holidays in Italy
The birth of Buena Vista refractive operations