Mind Body Seminar: November 1976
EDUCATING BOTH HALVES OF THE BRAIN
A Weekend Symposium
November 20-21, 1976
The Institute for the Study of Human Knowledge
In Cooperation with
The School of Continuing Education
New York University, New York City
Our contemporary system of education teaches only half the brain. It is specialized for verbal-analysis, the process of examining, separately many aspects of a puzzle. What this process leaves out, of course, is an understanding of the relationship between things, the perception of whole systems.
Yet many concerned people in diverse areas of contemporary life, from students of the mind to those concerned with energy policy, to those concerned with health and healing note the loss of this holistic mode of knowledge. Our students are not being offered the education they require to understand the complex nature of the world and themselves, an education for the whole brain.
There is, however, a growing understanding among scientists and educators that the capacity to understand in a holistic manner can be educated, as the capacity for language can be trained. This symposium brings together the new scientific discoveries on the functions of the brain and consciousness, a knowledge of the differences in brain function between people, and innovative techniques in education in a new synthesis; we are now, perhaps for the first time able to draw methods and an understanding from both Western scientific and Eastern experiential traditions towards an education for the whole mind.
This symposium is intended for teachers, educational administrators, parents, and all those concerned with education. The speakers are leading thinkers on education, brain research, the study of consciousness and of teaching and human development in the East.
PAUL BRANDWEIN is a member of the National Humanities Faculty; Adjunct Professor at the University of Pittsburgh and Director of the School Department of Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. He is author of PERMANENT AGENDA OF MAN, and of THE TEACHING OF SCIENCE.
JEANNINE HERRON is a Research Associate at the Langley Porter Neuropsychiatric Institute, San Francisco. Her current research interest is in left-handedness and brain organization. She has written on the subject in PSYCHOLOGY TODAY and has also published a book documenting her transatlantic sail to Africa.
ROBERT ORNSTEIN is Associate Professor of Medical Psychology at the Langley Porter Neuropsychiatric Institute, University of California, San Francisco. His current research interests are the psychology of meditation, biofeedback, and the conscious functions of the two hemispheres of the brain. He is the author of THE PSYCHOLOGY OF CONSCIOUSNESS and the editor of THE NATURE OF HUMAN CONSCIOUSNESS.
IDRIES SHAH is the leading exponent of Sufism and of a contemporary approach to mysticism in the world today. He currently resides in England where he is Director of Studies at the Institute for Cultural Research, and has traveled extensively in Europe, Asia, and Africa relating traditional thought to the modern world. He is the author of seventeen books on Sufi thought and action, travel, magic and the use of literature in spiritual schools. His books are used in university departments throughout the world.
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 1976
9:00 to 11:15 TWO MODES OF KNOWLEDGE AND THE TWO HALVES OF THE BRAIN
There is much recent evidence that the human brain is specialized for two distinct modes of knowledge, one analytical and sequential, the other holistic and simultaneous. This lecture will present the findings of the original “split-brain” research and its developments, and the recent research with normal people which extends the original findings. Research evidence from EEG and other studies which bear on how the two hemispheres specialize in the two kinds of thought will be presented.
11:30 to 12:15 EDUCATION AND LEFT HANDED PEOPLE
Not all people have the same brain specialization and hence, they need to be understood and taught differently. Left-handed people, who are about 10% of the population, have diverse brain organizations: some are similar to right-handers, some are reversed and some have intermediate organizations. This lack of understanding of the diversity of cerebral specialization has often caused left-handers to be discriminated against, condemned as “gauche” or “sinister” and suffer in education.
1:45 to 3:30 THE DUALITY OF MIND: IMPLICATIONS FOR EDUCATORS
At present, our schools address mainly the verbal-analytic functions. A complete curriculum would address the spatial and holistic functions, and provide balance between them. This lecture demonstration will draw together educational research and classroom experience on education for both modes.
3:45 to 5:00 TEACHERS OF THE EAST
In many Eastern countries, the holistic aspects of education are preserved through special methods and teaching materials. One such method is the teaching story which has been used for millennia to convey, to even the youngest students, a more integrated and comprehensive form of knowledge. The stories offer an education for both halves of the brain at once.
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 1976
9:00 to 10:15 NEW DISCOVERIES ON THE NATURE OF CONSCIOUSNESS
Contemporary psychologists are investigating many functions which would have seemed impossible only a few years ago, such as biofeedback, the psychology of meditation, states of consciousness and differing modes of knowledge. Their relevance for the educator is that many modes of learning and teaching are possible, both of information and of self-understanding.
10:30 to 12:00 ON THE NATURE OF SUFI KNOWLEDGE
As Western educators and psychologists begin to consider the possibility of developments of consciousness and modes of knowledge, they find that many of their questions in this area have been met and answered in the East. As the leading exponent of this approach in the world today, Idries Shah will discuss the development of a more holistic, or extra-dimensional cognition, for students and teachers alike.
2:00 to 3:00 SMALL GROUPS: QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS
BRANDWEIN, HERRON, ORNSTEIN
Questions from the audience and from the speakers themselves will be considered.
3:15 to 5:00 ARE THERE RIGHT AND LEFT BRAIN CURRICULA?
Many subjects such as mathematics, and physics have strong holistic aspects which are not usually taught by teachers. A lecture-demonstration of how to teach the whole mind using almost any subject, using film strips and the piano, among other things.