Lesson 38- Right Lobe Genius and Homosexuality
Well did you solve the problem that I gave you to do in the last program. Let me repeat it for you. On a paper draw three straight, vertical lines about two inches apart. Now here is the problem. Using only six more lines, create ten out of them. Now after you have solved that problem, take your pencil again and now draw four vertical lines about two inches apart. Using nine more lines, create nine out of them.
Both problems are solved the same way because what they require for their solution is your ability to think outside of the box. Let me give you a few more seconds to think about it while I discuss a related topic.
This phrase, think outside of the box, is one of those figurative uses of language which only the right lobe can understand because it is a figure of speech. The left lobe, because it handles language literally and thinks in a linear fashion would have trouble understanding what think outside of the box really means and would come up with some ridiculous misinterpretation. Let me give you an example.
When I was a little kid, there used to be a comic strip called Smokey Stover about this cartoon figure who was a fireman. I cant remember the storyline of any of the strips but I do remember that, scattered throughout the picture of each panel, there were visual puns, which is a humorous play on words, and also figures of speech that showed how the literal left lobe dealt with figurative language. For example, while the cartoon characters were acting out the storyline, in the background hanging on the wall there would be a picture entitled Frankenstein which would show a man named Frank peeking out over the lip of a gigantic German drinking stein in which he was standing.
We use these figure of speeches all the time without every really thinking about the literal interpretations and, often when someone is trying to learn another language, it is these figure of speeches which become most confusing because the novice to any language is concentrating on the literal meanings of words and has not yet learn the nuances which you almost have to sense intuitively. What, for example, does the statement, I was just hanging around doing nothing mean? Does it mean I have a noose around my neck? Or how about He was as cool as a cucumber?
Since intuition is a function of the right lobe of our brains, then these are examples of how it colors our language. See! Theres another one: color our language in a Smokey Stover cartoon would show a man coloring the words streaming from his mouth. So now that I have given you a few minutes to think about the puzzle, let me tell you what thinking outside the box means and why this puzzle is something that would be very difficult for left lobers and not as difficult for right lobers.
Left lobe thinkers are very logical and structured and once they start to move in a logical, linear direction, it is difficult, if not impossible, for them to change direction. Because they are so talented on focusing on a goal and concentrating on the specific, they often suffer from what is known as tunnel vision. Imagine yourself looking at a distance object through a spyglass. Now whatever you gain in clarity and focus, you lose by blocking out everything outside of what youre looking at. In other words, you see the Little Picture clearly but, the price that you pay, is that you dont see the Big Picture. The right lobe, on the other hand, is able to see the Big Picture but also pays a price, because it has trouble focusing on the details. Thus, thinking outside the box does not mean, as the literal left lobe might think, that a person is sitting next to a large box thinking. Rather, it means to think outside of the obvious logical structure of a problem by looking at it from different points of view. Thus, when the puzzle says, draw three lines two inches apart and using six more lines, make ten, the logical left lobe focuses on the word line and, seeing that this is a logical impossibility, becomes confused. How could three lines and six lines ever add up to ten? No matter how many times you add three to six it will always equal nine. Yet it knows that the puzzle must have an answer and so it tries to connect and arrange lines in all types of patterns hoping that it will find one in which they will somehow equal ten. It cant get off of its focus that this puzzle must have ten lines to be solved.
The clever right lobe, seeing that there is another way of looking at this puzzle, takes the first vertical line and with one line makes it a T. Then it takes the second vertical line, and by adding three lines, makes it an E. Then taking the third vertical line, it takes two lines and makes it into an N. One line, plus three lines, plus two lines equals six lines, added to the original three lines equal nine lines but and they spell out TEN. Do you get it?
The second problem is solved in a similar fashion. Take four lines and by adding nine lines make nine. Once again the left lobe gets stuck on the mathematical impossibility of adding nine lines to four and ending up with only nine. The right lobe uses two lines to make the first vertical line into an N. Then it takes two lines, and by placing one on top and one of the bottom of the second vertical line, it becomes an I. Then by adding two more lines to the third vertical lines, it makes it into another N, and finally, by adding three lines to the fourth vertical line, it becomes and E. Thus, by using only nine lines, it made the original four vertical lines into the letters NINE or nine. Clever, isnt it?
It is the genius of this right lobe with its ability to improvise outside of a set logical structure that allows it to come up with creative solutions to complex problems. If you would like to see a living example of its ability, rent the movie Apollo 13 that is a dramatization of the real life story of the Apollo 13 Mission in which our astronauts faced certain death unless some way could be found to compensate for various inter-related problems occurring on the space ship. Their lives were finally saved through the ingenious makeshift use of existing things to perform different functions for which they were not intended.
However, we would greatly mistaken if we thought that the right lobe accomplished this feat all by itself. Certainly, it provided the creative genius, but, throughout the whole experience, it had to constantly check and test its theories against the logic of the left lobe. And the left lobe had to plan the step-by-step construction of the creative insights of the right lobe. What we are looking at in this movie, is the right and left lobe when they are operating at their best. And, when we see them operating at their best, we are viewing the harmonious relationship that exist between the Father, the artistic creator, and the Son, the logical craftsman, who, with the Holy Spirit of enthusiasm, make up the rational mind of the Godhead. All one has to do is to look at the fantastic improvisations used by the creatures in nature to survive to sense what this dynamic trio is capable of doing. Truly, the heavens and the earth proclaim the glories of God.
The problem arises when this harmonious, loving, cooperative relationship that exists among the three Persons in the Godhead and is supposed to exist in every rational mind is upset when they get out of balance. Too much spontaneous creativity without any structure leads to chaos; too much structures and inflexibility leads to rigidness. And enthusiasm without a constructive goal is simply excitement. Thus, in some Pentecostal churches people who are touched by the Spirit start to jump around or shout or laugh and, although this might really be the Spirit, its the Spirit without the dreams of the right lobe and the planning ability of the left lobe and it will never accomplish anything constructive.
Later, I will show that the right lobe, without the balancing structure of the left lobe, is a liberal out-of-control who is always pushing for change just for the sake of change. The left lobe, without the balancing spontaneity and creativity of the right lobe, is the conservative with too much control who is always resisting change just because it is change. And the frontal lobe is the moderate who knows how to balance the old with the new by creating a type of organic change which while improving on upon what is, does not abandon the basic identity contained in the old. The Catholic Church is a perfect example of this type of organic growth that, although it changes in the non-essentials, continues to uphold the essential beliefs passed on to it through the Apostles. Therefore, although it is always growing and renewing itself through the thousands of years of its existence, it is yet forever the same. It stands like a rock in the midst of the turbulent winds and tides of modern society as they try to erode away its foundation. And while other churches debate and discard essential elements of their Christian identity, the Church stands firm and with authoritative certainly proclaims the truths that were entrusted to it from the very beginning. It didnt even have to think twice on issues like contraception, abortion, homosexuality, cloning, euthanasia and other moral issues because it has an historical memory and it has seen these issue come and go before in the past.
Although its members, including members of the clergy and the hierarchy, might sin and fall short of the very teachings which they are suppose to espouse and defend, the Church itself never commits the unforgivable sin of declaring that which is sin as being non-sin. It upholds the nature of sin even when it is a condemnation on its own members and illustrates its own shortcomings.
The Old Testament says, Woe to him who calls good evil and evil good! And the reason that it issues this dire warning is because this is unforgivable sin against the Holy Spirit of Truth that even God cant forgive. It is an sin which declares itself to be non-sin; it is a lie that declares itself to be true; it is an abnormality that declares itself to be normal and it can never be forgiven even by an all-forgiving God, whose mercy extends from one end of the universe to the other and who, even though our sins might be as scarlet, He will make them as white as snow. Why cant they be forgiven? Because the first prerequisite for forgiveness is repentance and the second one is reform and the person who tries to justify and normalize their sinful behavior, which means to miss the mark, will never repent and never reform because he or she doesnt see any reason to change what they have decided is normal. The problem is not in God who stands ready to forgive the worst imaginable sin once one seeks repentance and reform; the problem is in them because they, not God, have become the final arbiter of what is right and what is wrong. Like Frank Sinatras song, they did it their way, not Gods way.
One of the major differences between the sinners of the past, which is made up of most of the people in my generation, and the sinners of the present, which constitutes the young and those older persons who, lacking Wisdom, have decided that the young and those who manipulate them, know the way, is that we sinned and knew it. They sin and dont know it. Therefore, as many times as we fell into sinful behavior, we sought the Sacrament of Reconciliation, which used to be known as confession, where we acknowledged our sins and reaffirmed our intention to avoid committing them again. And how many times could we be forgiven. Well Jesus when asked how many times we should forgive others said, You have heard it said seven times but I tell you seventy times seven times. By this He meant, as many time as the person sincerely seeks forgiveness. In other words, there is no limit to Gods mercy because His agenda is to change our behavior not to condemn and punish us. As a teacher, I can empathize with Him because I have had students with whom I am totally disgusted because of their indifference and lack of effort. However, since I have this great need to share with them the things I have to teach, the moment they show a glimmer of interest and effort, I forget about their past behavior and I am willing to spend whatever time is necessary to bring them up to speed. I dont want to punish them; I want to teach them and all that I needed was for them to show a willingness to be taught. However, I have no mercy for the student who continues in his or her obstinacy and, without any regret, I fail them at the end of the course. In reality, I didnt fail them. They failed themselves because they would not accept all the effort and help that I was willing to give them.
The problem with the sins of the present generation is that they sin but they dont call it sin. In other words, they are committing the only unforgivable sin: the Sin Against the Holy Spirit of Truth. Later in this series I will talk about the Normal Curve and relate it to this issue but for now I simply want to make the point that there is a big difference between the sins we committed and the sins that our children are committing. Gods mercy was available to us and we took it; Gods mercy is available to them and they dont see any reason to take it because they dont think that they are doing anything wrong. They are calling evil good and good evil and that is the worst sin that one can commit because it is unforgivable. They are establishing new norms, based on the abnormal, which will be passed on to their children and their childrens children till, according to the Bible, the fifth generation. By that time, the chaotic conditions will be so great from reaping what they sowed, that the fifth generation will know that something is wrong and they will begin to repent and reform.
Just how casual sex has become is illustrated by some of the present trends. The right lobe is always pushing the envelope with little nonverbal games that the left lobe has trouble pinning down. For example, one of the latest fads in nonverbal communication that is growing in popularity among young girls is the wearing of various colored string gel or plastic bracelets. According to those in the know, who are the adolescent themselves, the colors of these bracelets indicate the type of intimate behavior to which the wearer is open. The meanings range anywhere from friendship to sexual intercourse. According to a recent news report, the bracelet that precedes full sexual intercourse indicate the willingness of the wearer to become involved in oral sex, which it appears is becoming so rampant that one adolescent girl who was interviewed on the same news program said that it was the new kind of kissing. Of course, when parents try to prevent their own adolescent daughters from wearing them, they will plead innocence of any knowledge of the symbolism or else claim that it really doesnt mean what the parents suspect. What else would you expect the right lobe to say? And, unfortunately, too many, parents, lacking a strong moral backbone of their own and having a fear of being rejected by their own children, will back down.
As a teacher of adolescents and being privy to what is going on in their world, I can assure you that the recent decline in the abortion statistics is not due totally to the abstinence programs. Planned Parenthood and other Sex Education agencies have been advising our adolescents to replace sexual intercourse with oral sex and it appears that their message is being well received by our teenagers. Young girls are being pressured by the boys into this type of sex because first, it cant lead to pregnancy and second, they can still remain technically a virgin. Thus, the virgin of the future is a girl who has performed oral sex on numerous boys but still has an intact hymen. Are you listening parents? Do you care? Do you care enough to take a moral stand against it.
Nor is this the only problem. If my students are correct, homosexuality is increasing among our adolescents. Homosexuality, by the way, does not refer to oral sex, although it is often involved in male homosexuality. Rather, the prefix homo means with the same and thus it refers to any type of sexual practice that involves members of the same sex. Recently, in class I was asked two revealing questions. The first one was by a young lady who wanted to know why everybody was becoming gay?, and the second was by a young man who wanted to know why so many girls were bi-sexual, which once again brought to my mind some of my favorite lines from a poem by Yeats:
Things fall apart the center can not hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the earth
The best lack all conviction
and the worst are full of passionate intensity.
In other words, heterosexual who believed it was their Christian duty to be super-tolerant of other sexual lifestyles thought that they could maintain a heterosexual norm while tolerating various sub-norms. What they didnt understand was that all lifestyles seek to become the norm and if you dont support your own norm in opposition to opposing norms, then they will replace you. These well-meaning people couldnt hold the balance between being charitable to a person while still opposing certain elements of his/her lifestyle. They were suppose to be the center between the gay bashers and the gay promoters but they couldnt hold the tension involved in the center position. Now they are faced with militant groups that are full of passionate intensity who are pushing their vision of the normal into public policy and the norms that are affecting our children.
The Church tried to tell us that if we allowed the premise of Recreational Sex to replace the former premise of Reproductive Sex that we would open a Pandoras Box to all type of sexual activity. But instead of listening, we have bought into Super Tolerance and are now beginning to reap what we sowed. Because we didnt know how to oppose gay bashing and other injustices to gay people without giving our approval of gay sexual practices. we now find ourselves totally accepting of the gay lifestyle thinking by giving it a nod of normalcy, we would be showing Christian love. In other words, we didnt know how to oppose the sin and love the sinner.
A recent answer by a Catholic, Republican candidate for City Council who was quoted in the Catholic Standard and Times reveals our problem. The candidate when asked Do you support or oppose repealing the three life partners (domestic partners) laws enacted in 1998 that extended marriage benefits to same sex relationships? answered by saying:
As a candidate who loves and supports his homosexual brother, I fully support these acts. Who are we to judge? Only God is worthy of judging us for our actions- isnt the measure of ones conviction their belief. I belong to a wonderful Catholic church that accepts all people of faith- it is a great parish. In my 40 years involved with the church, it is the first church that Ive actually seen and felt the Holy Spirit. I was a Catholic who was spiritually dead for many years because of the hypocrisy- it was only until I found my present church where Ive been reconnected to my God.
Now I dont doubt the sincerity of this candidate but I do question whether he really understands the Catholic Churchs position on homosexuality and the implications of his position. His statement is full of half-truths and, although it is not totally clear whether he has a homosexual brother or he considered homosexuals to be his brother in Christ, his approach is emotional rather than rational. Its true that only God can judge us because only He knows the total circumstances and mitigating factors that cause us to sin. Thus, we are unqualified to judge persons but we are not unqualified to judge actions. It is also true that the Catholic Church accepts all people of faith, even gay bashers, but it doesnt accept what they do. If fact, it calls on them to repent and reform and that is why it has the Sacrament of Reconciliation which encourages us to confess our failures and to try again and again. If the Church capitulated to every weakness in the human heart based on our conviction or belief, then it would truly be hypocritical because as it professed to call all people to a higher morality, it would excuse and condone everything that flowed from our lower nature. If being moral is doing what you feel based on your own belief, then it has to be the easiest thing to do because all we would have to do is convince ourselves that it is acceptable to us. I have a teacher friend who is Catholic who left his wife and children because, according to him, monogamy is unnatural. Since morality, according to this candidate, is a matter of personal conviction, I guess we should be tolerant and accepting of his position.
Finally, the Domestic Partnership laws of the City of Philadelphia are ill conceived, unjust, and have very little to do with benefits and a lot more to do with approval. If two people of the same sex- one of whom works for the City - are living together and because they claim to love one another, they both are entitled to medical and other benefits from the City then why cant two sisters and two brothers who live together have the same entitlement? The only possible reason is that they arent having sexual relations. Well, what if they say that they are or that they will. Would that entitle them? Is the City going to ask them to demonstrate their sexual practices. And by what strange logic are we to conclude that homosexuals as a group lack these benefits and heterosexuals living together dont. In fact, I would suggest that since many homosexuals, lacking the restrictions on time and money that married heterosexuals have, often have better jobs and are well represented in the professions where they have better salaries and benefits.
These laws are not about benefits. They are about approval. And, if eventually marriage becomes available as a sign of social approval, will it be possible for a brother to marry a brother; a sister to marry a sister; a mother to marry a daughter; or a father to marry a son? Since the qualifying variable is that one loves the other person and is having a homosexual relationship and, since all of these combinations are possible, on what logical ground will we deny them this right? Incest? Incest restrictions are based on the possibility of reproduction. Sen. Rick Santorum was right when he said that if the Supreme Court decided to make sexual preference a constitutionally protected right, they would establish a legal precedence that could be applied to many other types of sexual practices.
So what is the official teaching of the Catholic Church on homosexuality? The Catholic Catechism says in section 2357:
Basing itself on Sacred Scriptures, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that homosexuality acts are intrinsically disordered. They are contrary to the Natural Law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.
The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. They do not choose their homosexual condition; for most of them it is a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill Gods will in their lives and if, they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lords Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition. Homosexual persons are called to chastity
As you can see from this statement, the Church knows how to maintain the tension between opposing the sin and loving the sinner.
Personally, I can honestly state that there are homosexual persons whom I love, admire, and respect as people and I would do anything for them. If they were hungry, I would feed them; if they were thirsty, I would give them a drink; if they were in the hospital I would visit them; if they needed blood, I would donate it; if they were attacked, I would defend them.. However, just as there are heterosexual people whom I love but disagree with on one or more moral issue, I cant agree that the gay lifestyle is morally acceptable. My opposition is logical not emotional because if the word sin means to miss the target then it seems logically obvious that sex between two people of the same sex, is missing the logical target for which sex was intended.
Our problem in dealing with this issue is part of the bigger problem in which we are substituting subjective, personal feelings for objective, logical facts. In other words, we are moving away from the logical left lobe towards the alogical right lobe in making moral decisions. We are thinking with our feelings and not with out minds and thus we dont know how to respond to sin when it come in an attractive or pleasing package.
And our children are being duped by well-meaning elementary school teachers who invited into their fourth grade classroom two wonderfully appealing young men who love each other. Of course, the nature of their love is never spelled out and the children, seeing that they are really good people, conclude that whatever they do must be equally good. The issue is not whether they are good people. The issue is whether we should accept as normal a type of sexual act that, if it became normal, would undermine the creation of life itself.
Well, I see that my time is up. Heres Dom!