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As Good As It Gets, Combining Left Brain and Right Brain Thinking

As Good As It Gets, Combining Left Brain and Right Brain Thinking

I have had the good fortune of being asked to speak at the Buena Vista community’s Collegiate Peaks Form Series (CPFS) in April. The CPFS is a forum for lectures in Philosophy, Religion and Science in the Arkansas Valley area of Colorado. My topic is “Synergies in Seeking Self Consciousness: The Importance of Healing the Male and Female Archetype in us all.”

As I start to prepare for the lecture, my husband has been giving me ideas for jokes and levity to keep the audience engaged. When he suggested a few lines from the movie As Good As It Gets with Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt (both Oscar winners for their leading roles in the movie), I scoffed at the idea that I would lend credibility to the stereotypes that the funny scene invokes. But, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that this comedic example does help further my point that we all need to balance the masculine and feminine aspects within us all.

If you aren’t familiar with the 1997 movie, Nicholson plays a famous reclusive malcontent writer and Hunt plays a single mom who is a waitress at Nicholson’s favorite restaurant. The scene that Pat suggested as levity takes place between Nicholson and a receptionist at his publishing house. The receptionist, to Nicholson’s horror, is trying to tell him what his work means to her and how well his writing understands what is in her heart and her head. The receptionist asks him: “How do you write women so well?” His response is, “I think of a man and take away all reason and accountability.”

This scene demonstrates the stereotype of women and men thinking differently as a consequence of them being different genders. The premise of my topic is that we will all be more evolved versions of ourselves when we balance the male and female aspects within ourselves to make a whole and complete healed being.
Let’s take the traditional interpretation of the left and right sides of the brain, as example. In our society, people (regardless of gender) who are tax accountants and engineers might be considered “left brained” in that their professions require a lot of logic, linear thinking, analysis, order and planning. This type of thinking is considered more masculine. Whereas, artists and actors are considered “right brained” because their professions are intuitive, creative, spontaneous and “in the flow”. These traits are traditionally considered more feminine type thinking. However, when we look at anything in its parts, we may be missing the larger points about its whole.

You do want a tax accountant who is logical with the good analysis skills and the ability to plan. But, accountants who are the most valuable to their clients are the accountants that can combine the left brain logic with the right brain creativity. Many can read the tax law, it is those that interpret the tax law who find creative solutions to their client’s needs that are using both sides of their brains. (We will leave the ethical discussion of whether creative accountants have been using both sides of their brains for “good” or for “evil” for another day!) The point is that true problem solving is a mixture of logic and intuition, analysis and creativity. Balancing the traditional aspects of masculine thinking and feminine thinking is where the true wisdom is. Using logic ONLY can be stifling in its structure. Using creativity ONLY can produce a lot of ideas but might not allow for the follow through to bring something into form. Both are required for balance.

This desire and need for balancing logic and creativity is not dependent on which physical form a person has. The idea that Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus in its extremes does a disservice to both men and women who strive for balance.

As humans, we are served better by both “feminine” and “masculine” characteristics well balanced in wisdom, well balanced in power and well balanced in love. When we have balanced that within ourselves and within our societies, that is truly As Good As It Gets.

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