We're in for a wild ride. Exponentially accelerating technological, cultural, and socioeconomic evolution means that every year will see more developments than the previous one. More change will happen between now and 2050 than during all of humanity's past. Let's explore the 21st century and ride this historic wave of planetary transition with a confident open mind.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Left-Handed People: Natural Leaders?

(disclaimer: This isn't a self aggrandizing article. I am right handed.)

Left handed people's more decentralized left hemispheric analytic functioning allows them to bridge the gap between left and right brained populations. They push society's transition towards playing by new rules of the game while maintaining order

Before we get into neural and psychological dynamics of leadership, here are some of these intel core 2 duo left handed people you may be familiar with:

4 of last 5 US presidents (13% of population disproportionately represented in highest office. Guess which one doesn't belong)

  • Ronald Reagan (this puppet had cross dominance but fits into the category)
  • George Bush Sr.
  • Bill Clinton
  • Barack Obama

Other Notables (one can take the really historical ones with a grain of salt as left handed want to claim them on perhaps dubious evidence)
  • Benjamin Franklin                                                                       Nelson Rockefeller
  • Thomas Jefferson                                                                       Herbert Hoover
  • Napoleon Bonaparte                                                                   Harry Truman
  • Julius Ceasar                                                                              Gerald Ford
  • Winston Churchhill                                                                      Sam Adams
  • Jon of Arc                                                                                   Fidel Castro
  • Otto Von Bismarck                                                                     Bob Dole
  • Charlemagne                                                                              John McCain
  • Alexander the Great                                                                   Steve Forbes
  • Da Vinci (cross dominance)                                                        Michelangelo (CD)       
  • Ross Perot                                                                                 Mahatma Gandhi  (CD)
  • Robert S. McNamara                                                                 Horatio Nelson
  • Edgar Hoover                                                                            Benjamin Netanyahu

So what's the big deal you may say? There are plenty of notables who aren't.

Left handed do not stand out as much due to their over representation in power but due to their interesting neural structure that perhaps allows them to be better transitional leaders once in power (I'll explain what transitional leadership means towards the end).

It appears the human herd is split relatively evenly between those with left brain dominance (52.5% of the population) and right brain dominance (47.5%). As mentioned previously, in discussion of Myers-Briggs personality and difficulties of political progress, this division and further subdivisions within the two major groups are essential for the herd's survival and evolution. Besides differences in consciousness (which mostly correspond to intra-Homo Sapien discrimination and deference), hemispheric factionalism in the herd seems to be the key source of lifestyle disagreement among individuals.

Find out where you lean here if you're interested.

Left brainers are the strong Js (ISFJ, ESFJ, INTJ, ENTJ, ISTJ, ESTJ, INFJ, ENFJ)

Right brainers are the strong Ps (ISFP, ESFP, INTP, ENTP, ISTP, ESTP, INFP, ENFP)

For information on which parts of the brain the other letters correspond to, you can refer here.

The lifestyle differences appear to stem from left brainers getting tasks done while the right brainers always modify and evolve notions of what tasks are to be done and how to do them. In essence, the right brainers always strive to modify and reevaluate the rules and mechanics of the game while the left brainers excel at playing within the existing order. We can see how arguments instantly arise. If you are physiologically good at dominating within the current framework, you'd have a problem with those who advocate reform or even abolition of the framework since it'd weaken your position (think how professional football players would react if some called for rules of football to be radically altered). The left brainers have lots to lose in terms of personal investment and perfected routines. In addition, the right brainers appear lazy, chaotic, and incompetent to LBs due to RB insistence on seemingly random tinkering and hoping to find shortcuts. The tasks and rules of the game here can be anything ranging from emotional, mechanical, political, religious, etc.

Here is a great short video speech by a neuroscientist who briefly lost control of her left hemispheric functioning. She became disconnected from symbol manipulating linguistic hardware and entered a powerful dissociated ketamine type state which she pretty much described as nirvana. The video helps understand the great importance of both hemispheres properly functioning and how physiological hemispheric emphasis can even influence one's spiritual inclinations.

The interpersonal conflict between LBs and RBs of course neatly translates to macro herd level. We can see who has more invested in the status quo and who is better organized and able to fight change. In fairness, a small number of left brainers (ENTJs and INTJs) are the most capable of making the jump into the new order of things even if they need some guidance, RB trailblazing, and inspiration. These NT LBs then drag the rest of LBs after them and even at times meaningfully contribute to formulation of the new order through rapidly thriving within it.

What does this have to do with the potentiality of left handed people being natural leaders? Well, unlike women whose brains have better data flow between the hemispheres compared to men due to thicker corpus collosum, left handed people have a bit of left brain processing within their right brain. This makes their brain hardware qualitatively different than roughly 87% of the population that is right handed. Left handed people are not just straddling the border between two worlds (someone who say, consistently scores as a hybrid of J and P on Myers Briggs in a good communicative balance) but have a kind of neural yin yang going for then.

A left handed person's overall biocomputer thus appears to have decentralized the analytic left brain to a degree. There are multitudes of brain scans showing a range of decentralization patterns that are possible. Considering that people who suffer from total blindness have their hearing and smell neural clusters pick up the slack and develop what could only be called "super senses" compared to the general population, we can only speculate the processing advantages a person acquires from "left brainization" of their right hemisphere. Those born with such neural arrangement of course are best positioned to exploit it than those who try to decentralize through exercise. Some exercise to decentralize processing for a right handed person of course involves using the left hand daily to create new neural connections in the right hemisphere. Other forms of longitudinal exercise (such as LB and RB people taking certain drugs over time that either stimulate their weaker hemisphere or hamper their dominant hemisphere) just create a balance but not neural decentralization for the most part.

We can now begin to conceptualize the neural dynamics of natural leadership. Such a person would:

1) Physiologically be able to bridge the gap between the LB and RB populations by being both simultaneously rather than a watered down mutt with poor understanding of both extremes
2) Intimately understand both RB and LB points of view to create reconciliation on a national scale
3) Have enough uniquely decentralized left brain computation to be one of the first Js jumping into a new framework created by right hemispheric people (assuming those left handed who have the patience/focus to crawl up the ladders of power to be J leaning overall).

Such combination would allow left handed leaders to dominate (be) both strong reform minded LB strategists (ENTJ/INTJs) and RB theorists (ENTP/INTPs). They would aid in transition of society from playing by one set of rules to another to help it survive and prosper.

Those who are cross dominant may take issue with this and say that cross dominant handedness is perhaps even better in terms of allocating neural computing power (CD examples include Richard Feynman, Einstein, Tesla, and Gandhi as mentioned above). But that is a story for another day.

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  1. Interesting read! Being left-handed, I'm always curious about the differences between left handed and right handed people.

  2. im left handed i make fencey panesl and use nail gun i intensley get all my sencsh my self the more faster louder and clearer the more i push my self to want to learn more and compate and active the more my sense nataual sences inhence eg my focus on aming nail gun be comes ten times faster and more acterret , my hearing becomes for senative my heart rate rises up and my over all body tem rises quick , so all at the same time im planing my next move while moving around at riaped speed while seeing the dangers yea i think way to mch lolll

  3. I'm left handed, but i push my self to work with my right hand, even if the task is easier to accomplish with my left hand. Just to exercise balancing both brain halves getting even blood flow to the brain. I actualy try to focus my whole attention to the right side. A change my default left handed stance to right dominant, taking first step forward decisively with my right foot. Focusing on objects with my right eye and making my left eye a bit out of focus! It works great as a body control exercise! I feel refreshed and rested after this exercise.