My margin note for this section of the book? “But logic is also beautiful.”
In college I was a sociology major. It is only a slight simplification to say that for most of my classes good grades were simply a function of an argument well-stated. No right or wrong answer was available. For one of my electives, I took a Physics class. It was a sweet relief to find myself in a place where the answers were available in the back of the book. For one semester I delighted in turning on a purely logical part of my brain. There is an elegance to it all – if this, then that, apply this formula and the answer is the same. Every single time. Physics (at least the level I was playing) clarifies the universe and answers questions so reliably. What’s not beautiful about that?
It’s not that in loving answers in the back of the book I am unable also to love the mysteries.The unanswered questions where the right brain plays, the wondering without a definitive response…these things (some of them anyway) are just as fascinating.
have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.
Rainer Maria Rilke
What I believe though, is that the most creative people, the most successful people, float between the two. They move from linear logic to leaps of fancy with comfort. They are natives of both sides of their brain. Consider the painters who used to have to discover the right minerals to grind into their medium in order to produce just the right colors. Consider the mathematics of a musical scale. Consider good writing, which (usually) requires logical coherence, adherence to those pesky rules of grammar, and a generous helping of poetry. Consider, for heaven’s sake, Leonardo da Vinci! I’ll bet anything he saw the elegance of logic.
I am fine with the idea of exploring and exercising the right brain. Just don’t try to convince me to do it by criticizing the left. A thing can be good without its polar opposite being bad.
So that’s my peeve. I like my brain, right and left. I wouldn’t pick one side over the other for all the paintbrushes in the world. Together they help to make me whole.