Not too long ago, a friend posted this video on Facebook. Go ahead and watch. It’s fascinating.
And then, today, TED posted this video about the brain. It’s 12 minutes long, and worth the watch.
What does one have to do with the other, you ask?
A Pendulum swings from one extreme to the other. If it goes so far in one direction, it will go as far in the other direction.
I was reminded of this as I watched the second video. Near the end, it discusses humanity’s move from an “intuitive” mindset (the right side of the brain) to a “rational” mindset (the left side of the brain). A pendulum swing. In our history humanity used to be very intuitive based. It is only relatively recently we’ve “swung” in the other direction, in some cases leaving the intuitive behind completely.
There are several facets of our society that are in a pendulum swing. Racism, for example, used to be on that end of the pendulum swing. What does the other side of the swing look like? Everyone equal? Racism and prejudice against white people? We aren’t there yet. Maybe we’re in the middle somewhere. So we don’t know.
Sexism. Sometime in our past history it may be that women were in control, and the pendulum swung over to men in control. Now we’re swinging back again, but not yet at the other end of the swing…
Political Correctness – a completely different pendulum to the ones above, even if they are related. How PC can we get until it becomes ridiculous and we have to swing the other way?
Politics, too. We even refer to it as a pendulum of sorts, as right wing and left wing. It swings to the right, then it swings to the left.
And then there is religion. Once upon a time the pendulum was so far into the religious that if you didn’t believe in one God or another there was trouble. Now we’re swinging to the other side where the religious are often made fun of and discriminated against. Possibly a good example of the intuitive versus the rational?
Of course, the problem with pendulums is that they expend a lot of energy going back and forth before they can come to rest smack dab in the middle. And the amount of time and energy they spend going back and forth depends on the length between the pivot and the weight, and the angle of its swing. I don’t think any of us are objective enough to see the pivot, the weight or the angle.
Maybe that’s why they say it’s best to just go with the flow?
Even if we can’t see the pivot, the weight, or the angle, I think it’s important to be aware that those pendulum swings exist. That ideas, movements and facets of our society can and will swing back and forth. And that sometimes, it’s beyond what we can control. We just have to move with the swing of things.