Saturday, February 11, 2006

Limber = less cerebral

It's been a terrible mistake, this characterizing of "emotional thinking" as female and "analytical thinking" as male. Obviously, the true predictive factor in regard to our favored mental mode is stiffness. As in Hooke's Law. I deduced this only just a moment ago [Eds. note: actually a little before getting in the shower ] from the striking similarity between "limber" and "limbic." A little too striking, is what I thought. I wondered why I'd never appreciated it before.

The limbic system, of course, is the one to which neuroscientists traditionally attribute fear and other emotional judgments. It sprawls around the brain stem and beneath the cerebral hemispheres--which we exercise by being cerebral.

Suddenly it made perfect sense: To be more limber (i.e. more limbic, emotional) is to be less cerebral (i.e. less analytic) Thus it is no wonder if the sex that excels at yoga should also be the one better at compromise and getting along.

After all, in common parlance what is it that stymies compromise? Principle--the very grist of analysis itself. We've all more or less absorbed this hidden truth about "limber "from the common use of "flexible" to characterize both the pliability of materials and the moods of people. The deeper neuranatomical understanding, however, was lacking.

Note that anatomy is not destiny. By emotionally stretching even men can become "limber." Meanwhile the analytical exercise of zero-sum game playing, for example varsity soccer, is thought to toughen women.

On the tip of my tongue all this time: Who'dathunk?

1 comment:

WoundedEgo said...

This is a fascinating thought.