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On hitch-hiking

I just had the interesting experience of finding a piece of my writing on a website that I totally forgot I had written, just a few years ago. It was a brief essay on hitchhiking in America and the sorry state it has fallen into, over the past few decades. A bit more than that, but that was the framework over which I hung what I had to say. And then down at the bottom of it was a single reader's comment, which I quote here in full:

this is the best passage i've seen on this site; irv thomas has got to be one of my top, oh, four, writers ever. and i'm a big reader. i'm off to buy some irv thomas books right now.

I don't know if he ever did — he certainly never wrote me about it — but what a nice touch, to come on that, on a day that otherwise was rather barren of satisfactions.

Anyway, it seemed something worth posting up here, but I'll have to do it as a cut. I don't know if I've ever made mention, here, of my hitch-hiking background, but it is quite extensive, having been resumed back in the 1970s as a practical necessity when I gave up the ownership of an automobile for reasons of economy. It turned out to be one of the most . . . no, I was going to say brilliant, but there was nothing brilliant about it at the time. It was simply the happiest accidental choice that I ever made, for it brought me uncounted hours of roadside adventure and carefree fun, all the way up to . . . well, heck, I guess I was 72 when I did my last long-distance hitching holiday, up the eastern flank of the Rockies, from Arizona to Idaho.

So here is this writing of mine...Read more...Collapse )

Interesting times

I suspect this is going to be a crash-bang year, from the way these weeks are already going by. I'm anticipating an annual visit to the Bay Area for early April, and it's already time to start making the arrangements. And what have I got to show for February? Doesn't feel like very much at all.

Not true, I suppose. But I don't seem to have the knack, anymore, for keeping things in perspective . . . seeing the receding past as a field of accomplishments. It's like I'm forever focused on what I haven't found time for. Yet, I could reel off a satisfying list of people connected with, things moving along. It's just that I don't seem to sense it that way.

One particularly rewarding cluster of activity has been a series of reconnections with people from my long ago past. I had been all through the web search route a few years back, trying to find the old friends I wanted to seek out again for the 'Spring of my life' book I was working on, and I was satisfied that I had turned up all that I could. And then my old college connection (San Francisco State, where I only completed two years), finally put out an all-time alumni roster, and I got myself a copy. Plunged $80 for it, but felt it was worth it, and I wasn't wrong. I turned up a dozen names in it, most of whom I hadn't even thought about in all these years.

The really amazing thing about it, though, was the particular way it made me aware of my antiquity. The school has expanded considerably since I was there: a pretty good size campus, now, out by Lake Merced, whereas the school I went to occupied a two-block midtown site. It was a college then, and it's now a university. So the back of the huge alumni book had a class-by-class index that ran to 196 pages of tightly packed names. And the time for which I attended was on the first and second of those 196 pages.

Anyway, for the ten old friends that I hadn't seen or heard from in some sixty years, I sent books out to half of them without any prior notice. The other five, I sent advance letters to when I suddenly realized, more or less as an afterthought, that they might not even remember me. Interestingly, only two of the batch of books sent right out have brought return responses, whereas all but one of the others wrote back asking for the book. The book was sent free, in both cases.

So, in just these past four or five weeks, I've been connecting with all of these really old friends (however you use the term) — guys that are only in my mind as young fellows. There were two women in the group I contacted, but neither one has yet responded. The reconnections resulted in some marvelous exchange, and I expect I'll be getting together with a couple of them when I get down to the Bay Area.

I'll also be meeting (for the first time) with three children – full grown now, of course – of one of my childhood friends who died 25 years ago. I had seen him just once, about a year before he died, in all of the succeeding sixty-three years. But I knew him so well, as a youngster, that I wanted his kids to have my reflections of a family and neighborhood background they know virtually nothing at all about.

I rather doubt that any of my LJ friends even think about such things, so this should prompt some interesting conjectures on your own part. Someday, you may arrive at some similar point. And the world you'll look back on – meaning the last years of the Twentieth Century – will look sweeter (by comparison with the time you'll be looking back from) than you can possibly imagine.

Yay! I'm on my way...

Happily, my world seems to be settling down a bit. Not with any less activity, but somehow a bit more organized. I'm finally finding time to return to the book I'm working on. My habit has been to postpone it until other things are out of the way - which is probably a mistake to begin with, as things are never out of the way. But I'm getting better at the preliminaries: getting up earlier, limiting my meditation time, avoiding the computer before noon . . . that sort of thing.

What I'm working on is the story of my life. Volume 2, which covers my working years. That's not the intended scope of it, but that's what it's really all about. The intended scope is the Summer years of my life. My first volume was all about the Spring years. You can see the pattern I'm laying out. My 'Summer' was the second 21 years of my life. Actually, I worked a couple years beyond that, but for practical purposes I was done with it by then. I'm talking about wage-paying work, paycheck stuff. I didn't stop working then, but I stopped whoring myself for a regular paycheck. And it was not done out of principle (to begin with), but because my life had gotten so tangled up by then, that I had to bust out of the mess.

That's what I think makes my life an interesting tale. The second half of it has been as different from the first as day from night. From my personal perspective, in fact, I wish I had known better than to waste an entire season of it going in the wrong direction. I know, I know . . . I had to go the wrong direction in order to find the right direction. I suppose that's true, but I've never been convinced that it had to be so, or should have been. In my view, the schooling that taught me all the practical capabilities I possess (and for which I am thankful), should also have taught me some of the things I only learned by going through the hard knocks.

There's a letter in this month's Harpers in which the writer, a young mother from Mystic, Conn., says "Compulsive schooling, the brainchild of industrial magnates in the late 1800s, had the repugnant goal of creating a docile, easily exploited workforce. Schooling was, and is, intended to create parameters within which we are allowed to think."

Just think about that for a moment. We were trained to think within certain boundaries. And if you didn't naturally fit within those boundaries, it was just too bad. You went along with it anyway, because there was no one who ever told you there were other reasonable (or at least possible) ways of conceiving things. A vise-like grip on your mind, that you didn't even know existed.

My heresy is that I could not easily or usefully conform to the values and principles of the commercial world. So it took me some 21 years of rather pointless wandering, through every job field I had the continuing faith and stomach to invest myself in, before I finally realized that there was nothing there for me.

That's it, you see: I threw away some 21 years of my life, before I found the courage, or just the plain sense, to break out of those limiting parameters that the society and its schooling system had imposed on me. So part of my purpose, in writing about this journey of a 'seasoned life' is to help folks who are similarly stuck in the same dead-end alley, butting their heads against the same hard walls as I did, and not knowing WHY it never seems to bring them what they want.

Well, it is certainly about time that I get back to this neglected journal of mine! I more or less went into a January of seclusion, I guess to brood over the loss of my partner just before the holidays . . . well, no, actually because the month just felt right for that sort of retreat. It does take time to absorb that kind of blow. We didn't actually live together, but in the same apartment complex and had a nice mellow thing going, for about a dozen years here. Not a marriage, and not the first of my life's relationships, but almost certainly the last of them. So that has to be grieved, too.

And then I had to work up some kind of memorial to her, to share with my friends . . . around and about, and as a general update of what's going on with me. I made it a Valentine Letter, and put the pressure on myself to get it out in time. Barely did.

So that pretty much accounts for the month and a half since my last journal entry here. I've also been using the time to try and get a better feel for how I relate to this journal, and to LJ in general. I tend to feel pretty good about this space to work in, and the folks I relate to here (about half of those on my friends list, I guess — mainly the ones I respond to, so you can know if I mean you:). But fitting this into my head, when it comes to the best use to make of it is still not entirely clear to me.

I'm a pen & paper person. I've journaled for the past 35 years of my life, in one form or another, but it has always been in writing, so this still doesn't come naturally (which may also account, in part, for lagging on it as I do). And the argument that this is also a form of communication complicates the picture even more. I've no problem with sharing at the journal level; that's what I was doing with my Valentine Letter, and have done for many years. Heck, I have a hundred people or more on my postal mailing list. They are folks that go back years in my life, stemming originally from a zine I once put out, in the long ago.

Right from the start of it, I interacted with my readers on a personal level, and a good many of them remained in correspondence with me when the periodical (or 'sporadical', as I used to refer to it) faded away. Sharing is what my life has been all about. But it grew from a connection that had a focal point: we had a common sense of values (or else they never would have connected with me), and in most instances we had met and known each other face to face. So there was never any feeling that they were just names or faces on a screen. See, that's what makes LJ so strange for me!

Still, I've felt the genuine friendship and personal concern from those I do interact with here, and that saves the whole picture. In fact, I talked about that very thing, in my Valentine Letter. In that light, I consider it a superb way of breaking through the generational barrier that anyone my age ordinarily has to confront. I think some of you know the extent to which I've moved uncertainly with that; and most have affirmed me without reservation. So I'll not deny feeling a certain advantage in the spacey kind of friendship connection I find here.

But beyond those elements of gaining my '21st century footing', there is also the plain question of how I put my time to best use. While I'm admittedly slower than I used to be, my life seems as active as it ever was. Right now I'm working on my fourth book, as well as an article scheduled for someone else's book, and have recently been contacted by someone about contributing to a documentary he's putting together. So all of that crowds my 'LJ act' and it remains to be seen, how often I really will keep at this effort. Be assured, however, that my heart is really in it, and the effort will be made.

Thanks for all your patience. I have a few extra copies of the Valentine letter - a 6-pager - and if anyone would like one, send me your postal address <irvthom1@comcast.net>

Putting the year behind me

Well, I am going to officially say goodbye to this year while there is still time to do so.

It has been a helluva month on which to end a helluva year, and I say good riddance to both! It was pretty much a lousy route by which to reach 2007, but of course I had no say in it. Why people insist on planning their lives to the bone, when it clearly can't be done to any decent effect, is something I'll never understand. It would save a lot of wasted effort to just march bravely into it.

Exactly one thing came true for me as I planned it, a year ago at this time: I put out the first volume of the four I plan (there's that word again!) for my autobiography. (Well, I have to plan on four, because my life is running the full four seasons — I'm close enough, now, to make that reasonable assumption about it).

Otherwise, I should damn the planning, and strike out ahead at full speed . . . take it just as it comes. It could hardly be any worse than what I went through this year.

December, as I say, was a killer month. Specifically, it killed my longtime Sweetie. I spoke about that in my last entry, and it came to pass on the 15th of the month. Which partly accounts for why I haven't really been moved to post an entry since then.

It's a jolt, when it hits . . . even when you're expecting it. I mean, it drops you down to a whole new level of the drags . . . a floor below the one you thought was the bottom. It's a feeling of emptiness in your world, even if you were already experiencing emptiness, it makes you realize that you really weren't. You really hadn't known what emptiness was. Before, there was always the feeling that tomorrow could be different. Now you know that it won't.

That's the existential essence of it. But you bear up. Because you don't have any real choice about that, either. Tomorrow WILL be different, if I use the idea of tomorrow a little loosely. And if I have a little faith in my life. Which I do.

This week, I am pretty much hibernating. I always use this last week in the year to go through such journals as I've kept for the year, and write from them my annual retrospective of the entire year. I've done that, now, for more than 35 years. It really helps me to see the year with more clarity. As a case in point, it's reminding me, now, of some bright spots in this essentially terrible year that I had pretty much forgotten about. It wasn't ALL bad, like I said it was (and I'm alerted to how easily I fall into such generalizations).

The balanced view does help. It helps me to keep that awareness that 'tomorrow' WILL be different. Not because I say it will, but because it always is. That's about the only thing worth planning on.

November 30th: A rather awesome day.

Well, it's been the kind of day, for me, that doesn't come along very often in life. In fact, it comes about ONCE. And only if you're past seventy.

Maybe that doesn't even cover it. It's been a triple-feature day, which shouldn't happen even if you're past seventy! Not all bundled together, anyway. Maybe it's the kind of day that doesn't even come along for anyone more than once every seventy years.

The lady of my heart, most recently, who sort of changed that status at the start of this year, and is very ill with cancer (all of which I told you about, not long ago) told me tonight that she is going into a hospice home. I knew she was headed in that direction, of course, so I'd already been through the shock and distress of it, awhile back. But then it hits again, when it comes down to, like, the end of this week, or next. Yes, it kind of kicks you in the gut when you get the hard reality that you won't be seeing her any longer.

That was one of today's three features. Then she called me back, a few moments later, with something she had forgotten to tell me. When our falling-out came about, at the start of the year, after a relationship of more than twelve years, she had banned my favorite term of endearment: 'Sweetie' - a term that both of us had used, for so long. I was just to call her, henceforth, by her first name, and she'd do likewise. Well, she called me back, this evening, to let me know that the ban had been rescinded; that I had been so kind and thoughtful of her, these past few months as she descended down into her hell (toward her heaven, actually), that she'd had second thoughts about the break between us, and had decided to forgive and forget. That was the second of my day's series of three.

And you're wondering, of course (if you haven't lost track of how this all began), why I said that the day could only happen if one is past seventy. Okay, well, that has to do with the third of the day's three features.

It just so happens that today, of all days, is my 50th wedding anniversary. I guess that has to be put in the past tense . . . it would have been my 50th anniversary, except for the fact that the woman I married, all those years ago, embarked on her own sad passage into heaven just a few years ago. Yes, just a few years ago, but about thirty-five years after I decided that I could no longer fulfill myself in the context of that marriage. This day would have been singular on that account alone, had not the rest of the strange confluence come into it as the day went by.

Do you think it odd that I should even recognize a wedding anniversary after all of that? Well, the full fact of it is that we had never gotten divorced. We were still married on the day she died. It was always an open question, with me - or at least, for many, many years - whether I should go back and resume that marriage. That is, if she would have me. I think she would have. She had no other love or lover than me, over all those years, and we stayed in touch, even did things together. I had brief relationships, myself, before this recent one. But there has seldom been any question, in my own mind, as to that earliest one having been the most significant love of my life.

It can certainly be strange, the way life unfolds. At every point along the way, we tend to be pretty sure we know what it's all about, for us. But we seldom do . . . even after seventy years.

...and the oldefool continues

Wow! He was so eloquent in his opener, so sensitive and insightful that his audience just sat there . . . stunned.

Well, yes, it wasn't exactly a thundering response. Not discouraging, but it gave me some pause for thought. Thank God for saltysea, or I'd have wondered if the mic was even turned on. It kind of reminded me of a strange passage by the French author, Alain Robbe-Grillet, in The Novelist as Philosopher.

He pegged a remarkably similar situation:Collapse )

Nevertheless, and as you can see, I rose above the challenge. Response or no, I shall pursue my intent here, and harbor no ill will about it. I have much to say on this site, and may eventually stimulate some interest in it . . . and in me. So let me get on with it...

I am a writer, as you can hopefully tell, though not what I tend to regard as a commercial writer. Most who aspire to it seek the commercial venues, but I have done with that, long ago. Oh, the urge still creeps up on me, now and then, but destiny deems otherwise for me, and I am quickly reminded of it.

Destiny: the way things happen for one. I used to fight my destiny, asserting my will, this way and that, but proving only that I could flip around like a fish out of water. Most will do that, of course . . . and some fish actually flip themselves back into the briny, so there is certainly something to be said for the practice. But I learned, for myself, that it was little more than a terrible drain of energy. Not to mention time. So, over the course of time (and I mean years), I learned there is a more congenial way to live: I simply follow the lead of events, and they invariably lead me to smooth waters and a usually successful passage, relative to whatever I am considering.

I did have to decide, of course, whether I was writing for money, fame, or just because of the drive within me to write. It took me half a lifetime of terrible struggle, to finally start putting money in its proper place in my life. Half a lifetime during which I scarcely found time to write, at all. I mean, I was too busy trying to get money! (With varying degrees of success, but none quite sufficient.)

I never was fully able to discard the urge to fame . . . it still dogs me, now and then. But let's just say I have come to terms with it; I've learned to laugh at it. Maybe the biggest part of the hurdle was in getting just a small touch of it. (A very small touch of it!). Okay, if you have to know, I somehow found my way into Who's Who in America. Been there going on five years, now, and I honestly haven't the vaguest idea of how it happened. But it is enough, thank God. It is enough to keep that raging old hunger at a reasonably low ebb.

So I am fairly content to write, at this late stage of my life, just because I damn well find fulfillment in it! And the devil can take those poor souls who must keep on struggling for fame and fortune.

No, I don't mean to cast calumny upon them . . . they are more to be pitied than disdained. For the fact of it is, they are enslaved by their passion, and I am not enslaved by mine. I have three fairly recent books to my credit, all of them self-published, two of them available from web resources, the third (and most recent) available only from me. One of the most interesting factoids about them is that on this final one, I truly put down the lingering urge to make a few bucks on it, and actually have given the book away to all who requested it -and I'm talking, here, about a full scale book: 6x9 and 252 pages- and yet, it is the only one, of the three, for which donations received (non-requested donations!) have fully covered the cost of its production, and actually given me a profit.

But I'll not say another word about those efforts unless specifically requested by anyone. I merely wanted to note that I feel vindicated in my views, on these matters I've mentioned, including this idea of a destiny that rules our lives . . . if we are wise enough to allow it.

Entering the Millennium!

Yes, the Millennium has finally arrived! No, not the one that arrived six years ago, I'm talking about the one where I finally begin (again) making journal entries. I say again, because I actually made a start on it early last year, but it bogged down in the realization that I hadn't really conceptualized it very well. I thought I wanted to write a series of related essays in it, before I actually had a feeling for how LJ was best used. So I went to observing, instead of writing. And then it was one thing after another that kept getting in the way.

I joined an LJ group called _discussion, thinking it a good start, but the longer I stayed with it, the more discouraging it became. Though it had a lot of members, it was dominated by just a few of them: first a guy who called himself Mindwindow, whose main project, it seemed, was raking women over the coals, and the most amazing thing about it was how he got away with it! I mean most of the women - and guys, too - appeared to tolerate the language he used, which gave me a surprised insight into the common failure (in this new millennium) of common decency! I mean, I know I'm a Rip van Winkle to even make the point, but the mid-20th century was at least a somewhat civil-ized place! After that, I was increasingly aware that a cluster of neo-fascists (even by their own admission) was continually dominating the discussion.

I finally gave in to my better judgement and quit that group, but had waited way too long before doing so. Fortunately, I had by then joined the addme25_and_up group, and begun to acquire some very selectively chosen friends, from whose entries I gradually came to see a more human side of this LJ experience. It richly enlarged my sense of what might be possible here. In fact, I was somewhat amazed at how deeply that could go. I mean, how honest and up-front so many of you new LJ-friends could be. (Well, allowing for the fact that you are all, nevertheless, maintaining your distance with anonymity :-]...but I can make allowances for that).

I would have started working with this journal about that time (early this year, I guess), except that . . . all hell started going on in my world.Collapse )
Yes, I have been too long gone from the premises. And I shall not waste space with excuses. I have something much better to 'waste space' with, so this will be a brief detour from where our earlier text had been going. Not really off the track, but actually a very useful confirmation of it from an unusually authoritative source. I want to give you the full text of a recent (6/12/05) Commencement Address given by Steve Jobs, the head and founder of Apple Computers, to the graduating Stanford University class. Here it is...

"I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I've ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That's it. No big deal. Just three stories.

"The first story is about connecting the dots.

"I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?

"It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: 'We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?' They said: 'Of course.' My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

"And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents' savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn't see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn't interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

"It wasn't all romantic. I didn't have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends' rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:

"Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture, and I found it fascinating.

"None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, its likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.

"Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life."

click here for the closing two talesCollapse )

[cross-posted to the _nuffism group]

#5. Somebody else is inside my head!

NOTE: This journal has a continuity, in which this is only the latest entry. Please begin with #1.

I think the best place to start, the best place from which to approach the matter of Reality, is with something we all know, but perhaps have never considered where it can take us.

A simple fact: our brain has two hemispheres. It is lateralized in such a way that the left hemisphere controls all the physical facility of the right half of our body, while the right hemisphere controls the left side of our body. Paralysis or stricture on one side of a person or the other tells immediately which side of the brain may have been hit by a stroke, or damaged by an aneurism or a tumor.

If it happens to be the person's right side that's suddenly dysfunctional, indicating a left hemisphere problem, it's also highly likely that their language use will be crippled — in many instances they won't even be able to speak, though quite able to hear and understand others.

Starting from such points of known effect, neuro-physiological exploration has opened a wide avenue of discovery into the differences between, and the separate influence of, the two hemispheres that all of us carry in our heads. Without detailing that long trail – though it makes fascinating reading for any who are curious – we can leapfrog to some extremely potent conclusions . . .

The two hemispheres are actually two independent centers of consciousness which seem to coordinate and work together, in most of us. But this is actually a bit (maybe much more than a bit) illusory. Under certain circumstances, they can be tested as separate entities, and have thus revealed functioning capabilities that are not only fully independent from one another, but quite often in contradiction, and even in outright conflict with one another!

Yes, we have in our heads, each and every one of us, not a single unitary brain, but a strangely yoked team, or more properly a partnership up there: working hand-in-hand, but not necessarily in agreement!

This is a fact, not an invention of mine. And it opens up a whole realm of things to think about. But let me add one more element to the picture, before you start thinking about it: While each hemisphere has a 'mind of its own', only one of them is able to directly let you know what it is thinking. The other side is, in a certain sense, mute. It must convey its own thoughts, perceptions, impressions, moods – whatever it has to convey to your conscious awareness – by some kind of indirection. Maybe an impulse, maybe a hunch, maybe a dream, maybe a sudden turn in the way you're feeling, maybe even an accident . . . Who knows what might be the extent of its options? Otherwise, it is quite arbitrarily kept in check by the more dominant other hemisphere. (Which is why you are generally accustomed to thinking of yourself as 'of one mind'.)

So we have, here, a fascinating start-point for all sorts of questions and conjectures. Like . . .

Who is really me? If it's the hemisphere that is literally speaking through me, then . . . Who is that silent one? When and how does it enter my thoughts? Does it perhaps contribute to my indecision? ...to my ambivalence? What part does it play in my stress? Or my physical well-being (or lack of it)? And how can I tap into it?

See what I mean? But that's only the top layer of questions and concerns. Let me now introduce an added measure: There is good reason to believe that one hemisphere – probably the left-side and communicative one – is also the locus of our rational thinking, our 'down to earth' practical and logical side, while the other hemisphere is largely where feeling and sensitivity hold sway, and perhaps a more free-wheeling creativity.

In other words, while we are generally (or perhaps hopefully, in the sense of our desire to maintain responsible values) rational, reasonable persons, we also have a less rational, less 'reasonable' side to us that we tend to ignore, or hold down, or at least keep in the background — though not entirely with success. At times, it slips out, and manifests in odd, sometimes 'inexplicable' ways.

Can you begin to see the can of worms that is being exposed here? It seems enough to chew on, for the moment, before we take this discussion a further step.