A Brain’s Proclivity to Integrate

Expert Jerome Kagan says to value arts as fuel for the brain in ways that maths and sciences alone cannot generate balanced solutions.

Former defense secretary, Robert McNamara says war is flawed by mere rationalism while the brain’s reflective powers, enable us to avoid errors of judgments.

Former Federal Reserve Chairman, Alan Greenspan, says that mere rational decision-making cannot mend our economic crisis – out of control from mechanistic reasoning

Since brains integrate knowledge naturally, while humans tend to separate facts artificially, I say we reconfigure learning with integration as core. What do you say?

Integration would:

When integration finds its place within learning, then diversity will describe more leading circles and we’ll finally see no brain left behind. Who knows, perhaps different cultures, genders, beliefs and values would come together in beneficial peace plans as a result. Or maybe racial differences would fuse into smarter lifestyles for all. What do you think?

10 Comments

  1. Wally Bock says:

    Great post. Ellen. I do wish that Robert McNamara had caught on to that before he became Secretary of Defense and led us to the land of body counts as a measure of success, instead of 35 years later.

    With that off my chest, the material you’ve got here is vital. Minds weren’t made to be fractured. We hare whole beings and function best that way. I tried to get at that in my post Read your fiction. It’s good for you (http://blog.threestarleadership.com/2009/01/13/read-your-fiction-its-good-for-you.aspx ). You’ve done a better, more complete and more scientific job here. Brava.

    Wally Bocks last blog post..6/7/09: Leadership Reading to Start Your Week

  2. eweber says:

    Wally what you say is equally potent and so true. In spoite of a busier term than usual I took time out recently to read Housseini’s book, “A Thousand Splendid Suns.” It impacted my life and my work and my understanding of the middle Eastern conflicts.

    What an amazing read – sad as it was at time. It inspired the art in me also – and I was reminded that life is short and we are far better off when we ensure that others are too:-)

    Wally, all to say that I hear and agree with your wise take here:-) Now off to more of the arts and science of a new week – may your integration efforts add wealth to yours!

  3. Dan Erwin says:

    The relationship between the arts and science has always fascinated me. I’ve never seen the issues elicited better than Jonah Lehrer’s Proust Was a Neuroscientist.

  4. eweber says:

    Dan, like you I am fascinated that these two mental reaches engage such different parts of the brain, and that with each act we can grow new art and science talent in both. Your work sounds intriguing.

  5. Elisabeth says:

    Agree completely. I wish Alan G had figured that out *before* he used rational thinking (and neoclassical economics) to get into this financial mess we’re in. Hindsight is 20/20.

    I agree with you that integration is needed. Now what we need is creative thinking and solid insight how to apply this to education, K-12 and beyond, so we can teach people how to think in an integrated manner from day one.

  6. eweber says:

    Thanks Elisabeth, the tactics are much more clear now that brain research is helping us. Imagine leaving less to hindsight and more to mind-bending ideas that improve our lot!

    We’re excited about the coming Brain Institute in Aug. to help rejuvenate learning with brain in mind:-) http://twurl.nl/xxw6yu

    From there we plan to set up an institute for business leaders as we already have folks requesting participation. It’s so doable — but not without a clear vision that leaves folks with new mental tools that rejuvenate old thinking patterns:-)

    What do you think?

  7. The arts have helped me grow as a person. While rational knowledge is needed, the arts help us as humans to be more than we might be with rational thinking alone.

    An example comes to mind from religion (philosophy).

    God began with the old testament… the rules and foundations. But, He saw that wasn’t enough and he sent Christ who went beyond the rules, broke some of them, to begin the artistry of the life of faith in God.

  8. Nice post! I subscribed, look forward to reading more!

  9. eweber says:

    Many thanks for your kind words and thanks for jumping into the Brain Leaders and Learners Community! We’ll be richer now that you are here. You’d be interested in the way cycling can improve brainpower also:-) but you probably already know that:-)

  10. […] can you significantly raise motivation and achievement in both arts and sciences. Consider the brain’s proclivity to integrate, for instance. The idea is  to engage both sides of the brain, to increase […]

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