by C. S. Franklyn Copyright (c) 1993-2000
CHAPTER III >>Browse>>
MENTAL DEVELOPMENT AND THE NDTS CHILD
Progress in this world has occurred because human beings are able to store information, ponder and analyze it and apply it in useful, different ways. The marvelous thing about our brain is not that it can remember things. Trained animals can do that! But it is the visualizing of existing information and facts in remarkably different combinations, leading to New and Grander Insights that is our great and unique faculty. Today, "link analysis" is a critical technique in the world of military intelligence. By studying a large amounts of information that has no clear relationship or relevance, skillful Right-mode analysts can assemble various plots and scenarios that suggest what the data could mean or indicate. Whether the LMO-types accept what these imaginative RMOs see is another matter!
Such creations as Languages or a moral concept that envisions an Almighty Creator spring from the Human Genius I speak of. Sadly, it is the same faculty by which some people envision and bring forth Evil into this World! As we see, the role of Morality remains a supreme presence!
The principal use of the brain is in solving problems and making decisions. Look at our modern world and one marvels at the accomplishments that have resulted from our brain's that not only conceived but designed and built the Man-made world around us. There is no true intelligence, however, if the brain cannot visualize or virtualize! Information and sub-skills may be crammed into our Toolbox -- the Left brain -- but without the graphic and relational power of the Right brain very little invention and innovation will ever occur. A successful Civilization is one that has both LMOs and RMOs! Every Empire was successful as long as it's Leaders used the contributions of LMOs and RMOs in a wise judicious manner! Every Empire enjoyed a Golden Age, then it slowly collapsed or became subjugated by an LMO-dominated society!
But what do we really know about how the brain functions? Since we are all born without the information and skills needed to survive, meaning that we are solely and desperately dependent upon Learning and Education, how does the brain learn so much so fast? But, why are so many of our young people not learning anything of value today? More important: why do they despise Learning?
Given the critical role of the human brain, you would think that we would know a great deal about it. Sadly -- depending upon one's viewpoint -- that is not true! We know very little! Shamefully little, in fact. Yet it is the single most critical part of our body. It holds the secrets to How we learn. Are we afraid to know the facts about our mental capacities? At a time when you can find criticism of everything we once held sacred, the answer probably is Yes! What specifically do we fear?
Frankly, I suspect no
one wants to know because the answer might indicate that we are not
created to be Equal! Wherever we turn today, honest investigation and true
understanding, are defeated by narrow-minded political thinking!
For centuries, Mankind was dominated by religious orders. Now, we are
dominated by conniving politicians! When will we - truly - be FREE?
EARLY DISCOVERIES OVERLOOKED
During the First Renaissance, and since that time, a few scientists have tried to understand how the brain functions. Much later, in 1836, a French country doctor named Marc Dax first observed and reported that a patient with an injury to the left side of the head, always lost control of his speech. Not true, he said, of those with right-side head injuries! He shared this observation with fellow doctors. The fact that his discovery indicated that language and speech skills reside ONLY in the left hemisphere of the brain went unnoticed for many decades. The idea that the brain is made up of many specific areas or chambers where certain specific functions are processed, escaped the attention of men of science and medicine for centuries. Is the human brain so sacred that we must not seek to understand it? Sacred? How? Why?
More recently, in this century, intriguing insights into the brain function have moved us closer to understanding Dax's observation. Even so, the record is full of doubt and speculation and, for a small number of Futurists, a mixture of hope, theory and trepidation. Meanwhile, for fifty years, experts have been tinkering with the American school system. Indeed, there IS a connection between these two as I shall soon explain.
We have already noted the work on brain research conducted by Dr. Roger W. Sperry and his associates at California Institute of Technology. Follow-up work by others has occurred since that time. Many papers have reported on this work, yet there is something missing. Education/Learning and the Dual Brain Theory have a direct connection -- not only generally but very specifically. More recently, “biofeedback” -- developed by an experimental psychiatrist named Hans Berger, reported in 1929 -- makes it possible to diagnose the state of mind of a child who is unable to learn or has behavioral problems. Berger developed the first successful electroencephalographic machine -- a "brain wave" device now called an EEG.
It was Sperry's work and the neurosurgery by Vogel and Bogen with epileptic patients in the "split-brain" experiments that proved that the Left and Right brain hemispheres perform different functions and contain different perceptions. By separating the two halves, the experiments proved conclusively that the Corpus Callosum is a critical communications link or interface between the two hemispheres. They also proved that when disconnected, the two halves can function separately with considerable success.
With the brain "split"-- both halves "isolated" and with the Left eye closed -- an image revealed to the Right eye, was neither recognized nor remembered by the Right hemisphere. With the Corpus Callosum severed, such information was not shared with the other hemisphere. It had no way to get there since the Left eye had been covered. In the normal person, the Corpus Callosum permitted one hemisphere to share or transfer information back and forth the other. More recent neurology has shown that the nerves or telephone lines between the two hemispheres are connected to exactly the same cortex areas in each lobe. This arrangement means that an area in each hemisphere is available to establish two, or a dualistic, memory system. This dualism provides for two kinds of information retention: 1) alpha-numeric data and 2) graphic or pictorial and tonal data.
It has been known for a number of years that certain functions, like speech, are located or "localized" in the same brain area (or sites) of all humans. Marc Dax's observations were correct! Validation of findings and theories in all fields takes a long time due to competition between fellow scientists and a human tendency which I call "cerebral inertia". The Not-Invented-Here (NIH) factor does much mischief in the fields of science and technology, too. Scientists are juveniles playing “one-upsmanship” with each other? Of course! Why not! -- they are human beings like the rest of us. Eventually, however, through their articles and manuscripts their work become more widely known.
Eventually, Sperry's work won the 1981 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine. Given this recognition, which took thirty years to crystallize, have these many brain-related insights found their way into everyday life? Not much! Yes, much experiment and clinical analysis has occurred since then but their impact has not been felt where it is needed most: in the training and education fields. There are opportunistic efforts to produce and sell machines that directs the brains delta, theta, alpha and beta vibrations. That approach, however, is another way to intervene the normal activity of the brain much the same as we use chemicals, drugs and hypnotism.
In this same context, I
note that during the 1800s, an intense interest was generated by phrenology, a pseudo science involving the
"reading of bumps and protrusions on a person's head"! Supporters of
this procedure sought to read the heads of people and then determine
their behavior, attitudes and mental power. Naturally, like other Gee
Whiz entertainment, phrenological readings which started in Europe and
England, migrated to the USA and created a stir among those who believed
the process was a surefire way to prove
mental power, even saintly characteristics. Today, you can buy a
of a human head which shows which part of the brain controls certain
functions. The item bears the name of L.N Fowler, the most famous of
phrenologists in the USA. While repudiated during the early 1900s,
were certain aspects of it that were accurate such as the fact that
specific areas of the brain are dedicated to controlling certain
like, for example, the locomotor movements of hand, feet, toes, fingers,
Interesting as all this work has been, it is clear that many questions have been left unanswered. True, possibly due to the absence of input from other disciplines. Scientists usually operate for long periods of time in a vacuum -- not always by choice. Even as Sperry broke through scientific barriers in the '50s, books were being written by others on Creativity, Lateralization and Imagination. Yet such books showed no knowledge of, nor interest in the Right/Left brain phenomena, per se. They covered peripheral issues that publishers believed they could promote and sell: all sizzle, but no beef!
The first use of new and stirring science in the USA seems to be exploitive in nature, proving once again Barnum’s famous statement that “a sucker is born every minute”. While these events occurred in America, Jean Piaget and his wife began to study how children learn, a body of knowledge that US scientists were too busy to consider at that time.
In the USA, it is difficult to bring truly important things to public attention. The Mass Media and advertisers have bombarded the American Mind to such an extent that only shock and awe awakens people in the USA! Disinterest in what is Important in a given time seems to reoccur throughout History. A small minority will see what should be of concern to us. They are the Right hemisphere types who visualize the interaction of trends and events. But to get Left brained, non-imaginative people to act on long range goals versus short range goals, is where every Society and Culture fail to serve themselves and their children. In our country, where the Citizen possesses great influence over what happens, nothing happens or ever moves forward until it has shock value.
In 1947, barely 20 years after Hans Berger had demonstrated "electrical brain writing", as a math/physics teacher with plans to earn a degree in educational psychology, I focused on "brainwaves" as an area of research. It was an intriguing area. I foresaw a potential impact on learning. Brainwaves, I theorized, was the Open Sesame to understanding brain function which could lead to a significant change in human learning behavior. The great challenge in brain phenomena is to study the healthy brain in a non-invasive way. Brainwaves seemed to be where neuropsychology and physiology would meet and produce that vital information. Now, more than ever, I see EEG and Left/Right Brain phenomena as twin disciplines -- Siamese twins, perhaps!
Actually, it was the philosophical aspect of the subject (i.e., learning) that had captured my imagination. That quest to study non-verbal, brainwave communications and how it would alter human existence had to be set aside, however. But I did not forget Berger’s work, the Theory or the Dream!
Now, after a forty-five year detour that directed me away from graduate study and into the world of business and research, development/ engineering, I have returned to the place I had left years before: wondering why a modern Society like ours squanders its treasure upon such places as Space while avoiding the great mystery of our own Brain -- indeed, the very foundation upon which our very Being, Social systems, Science and Civilization are constructed!
With the human woes of the world, much of it attributable to Ignorance and its handmaiden, Poverty, why do we continue to avoid research in how the Brain manages to Rationalize and Visualize? Why should it be the last Frontier? Why should it be pushed farther and farther into the Future? What are we afraid of?
As our Nation has changed in many ways -- political, social, ethnic and multi-cultural -- I have come to believe that our Society will not understand its problems, nor solve them, until we turn to Left/Right Brain research and ask WHY we become What and Who we are. We must know more about learning from a physiological perspective! This was Piaget's original objective and thesis!
The much needed re-thinking of our educational and political dilemmas cry out for a new approach to eliminating Ignorance. Today, in the aftermath of the Civil Rights Movement, there is an unbelievable animosity toward being learned and highly competent! Why? To make this subject more confusing but enticing, underneath all of the overt animosity toward Learning and the development of Intellect is a profound craving by the masses to be Smart, Intelligent, Gifted and Famous for some reason -- a craving to be Important! This strange dichotomy of hating the Intelligent, Talented, Smart people in our Society while secretly coveting and craving it for themselves will someday emerge! The future of the World Wide Web could be the technology that will unleash this secret yearning of the Masses!
Why has the most modern and most expensive educational system in the world failed to develop greater numbers of knowledgeable and competent people? The consequences of Dishonesty at all levels of our Society -- and its insidious effects -- have a direct relationship to these fundamental questions. There are many other areas of human activity that could benefit from such studies, too.
In the beginning, I was convinced that the Moral and Intellectual bankruptcy, already evident in the late 1950's, called for a dramatically different approach. The call was not answered, not then nor even now!
Instead, we continue to innovate ways to teach children without considering the implications of L/R findings. The objective is simple and obvious: we must enhance the capabilities that lie in the Right-lobe of the brain. An ambitious, new strategy is needed immediately to address the root cause of non-learning and the seeming unteachability of large numbers of children AND the untrainability of many adults.
Today, the Federal government funds large "retraining" programs in an effort to make men and women more easily re-employed. Most have few basic skills to begin with. The problem is not so much that we must provide such retraining. It is the shockingly large number of people who require it today!
These people are not
"drop-outs" in most
cases. They are high school graduates and in some cases, they are
graduates. They all hold diplomas that declare them to be skilled and
in a particular field. How many really earned those diplomas? Why have our
colleges and universities failed to stop the slow but sure drift into
SEARCHING FOR A WAY TO STUDY THE RIGHT-BRAIN
To address the question of "hemisphere-switching", I returned to the idea that a language that could not be spoken, yet was word-like, might be that unspeakable language. I wanted to create a unique language that aroused the Right hemisphere to find a solution. Once this language was available and it drew upon the powers of the visualizing part of the brain, I could study more closely how it derives the algorithm and how that process varies between individuals. In time, I would know how many different ways the Right-hemisphere tried to solve the Algogram puzzle. While not entirely like an infant's "schemas", described by Piaget, Right-mode strategies are unique schemes or approaches to grappling with such puzzles. By understanding the various "approaches" invented by different people to solve the Algogram, I hoped to discover how the Right-brain performs. From that point, I could then draw a map of the Right-brain -- finally!
The next step is attaching an EEG to pupils who are simultaneously solving Algograms. As a pupil develops an algorithm (i.e., the approach) by which he solves the puzzle, brainwave traces should help us understand what we mean when we say that we THINK. I wanted an electronic trace or picture of THINKING, not unlike high speed filming of a galloping horse, or an Olympic runner or a bullet in trajectory! By other means (without the EEG), I knew that at least six distinct strategies (i.e., schemes) are already in use. But that is only the beginning of what we must know.
The result of that earlier work is the diagnostic tool mentioned earlier called ALGOGRAMS, a compressed word-form that I have associated more and more with Right brain function research. If Sigmund Freud had access to L/R knowledge and an EEG machine, how different would his work have been in the area of dream interpretation? If others who made great contributions to the technology of teaching such as Mann and Dewey had known about L/R and EEG, how different would education be today? As you gain an appreciation of these phenomena, you will arrive at your own conclusion.
A final thought here: development of fundamentals in learning technology has been at a standstill for nearly one hundred years! Why are we still depending upon "rote & memorization" process? Evidence has existed for fifty years that it is NOT the way to teach young people! People must be taught to "understand" something, not merely to "remember" it!
The details covering ALGOGRAMS (al-jo-grams) appear in the APPENDIX section for optional reading. However, the following comments will help you understand why they are an important part of this paper. (Not included with this Internet advanced edition)
To solve an ALGOGRAM, you must find and use an algorithm (i.e., a logical procedure) to "reconstruct" the WORD. The strategies for deriving these procedures -- which can vary between different individuals -- will help "map" the individual's Right-mode profile. We will eventually be able to display an individuals "mental landscape" or his/her "Mind Map".
When we enter new and uncharted areas, it is the Right-hemisphere that leads us into the Unknown. The Right-hemisphere, once believed to play a minor role in human behavior, is an uncharted world, no doubt more complex than the galaxies in Space. It is also a laboratory where unbelievable accomplishments were first imagined and conceived by Nature’s Great Engineer!
Eventually, I planned to catalogue those various strategies or algorithms. In 1982, the unspeakable language tool was fully defined and proved to be unique. I applied it first in the word game and writing analysis fields.
As noted earlier, the
conclusion of this
ambitious work, I theorized, would provide us with a better
of how humans Learn and Think. We could finally understand the source
Interference and Conflict that is the result of two intellectual
once regarded as a single organ called the Mind, that is now clearly
distinct, yet mutually supporting -- sometimes competing -- entities.
Left and Right entities have distinct functions and "personas". Even
they have the capacity to act as a replacement for the other hemisphere
it become damaged or diseased. The magnificent adaptability of our body
applies to the brain as well.
Equally true is the fact that the brain
to be exercised in order to keep it viable and healthy. Its one defect
that brain cells cannot be regenerated or rejuvenated. Much depends upon the
development of the cortex. It does not have
erasable memory. As it gets older, the brain is less inclined to retain
information. Does that mean our memory system has a definable
limitation? Possibly! As more and more interest is developed into intellectual
development, we will learn more about how the Brain functions. Much research
into dementia and Alzheimer's Disease (AD) is pointing us in that direction! It
could arrive too late, however!