(image by Anne Baring)
The rational way of looking at life, approved by the dominant culture, is only half the picture. It is more of a left-brain function, which is associated with the right side of the body. This cognitive style is more likely to break everything into parts and sees the "left and right" dichotomy as being two warring factions. Like all ratios, it is based on concepts of division; like all rationing, it is based on concepts of scarcity. To see the insanity of this, take your right hand and slap, very hard, the left side of your face.
Yes, "rational" is part of the whole. No, "rational" is not naturally or ethically a dominant ruler of the whole. (Indeed, 5000 years of lop-sided rational patriarchy have brought us to the brink of collapse and extinction.)
"Relational" brings life, beauty, love, family, and connectedness to the whole in which it participates. It incorporates concepts of multiplication and abundance. It's high time--past time--we honored the exquisite, intricate relationship we have to our planet, and her creatures, including humans, animals, plants, and elements.
The Native American Chief Seattle stated in the early 1900's:
Man does not weave this web of life. He is merely a strand of it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.
Chief Seattle realized that we live within a living, integrated system. The universe is wholeness. It is not ruled top-down. Macrocosm and microcosm are wedded in a never-ending dance.
This relational way of looking at life is more of a right brain function, which controls the left side of the body. Thus, the left-winged liberals are supposedly more open to health care and the meeting of human needs. The left wing is also closely associated to the environmental movement. Again, the emphasis is on relationship. "What we do to the world we do to ourselves." As such, the left wing is more likely to support helping the poor and engaging in Nature sensitive practices.
Being more relational in outlook, the importance of the left side of the body and right side of the brain are imperative to our survival. This intelligence is concerned with the relational quality of our atmosphere regarding the appropriate mixture of carbon dioxide and oxygen. The right side of the body and left side of the brain is also important in day to day living. It helps us to look at and analyze the parts in a situation in order to take the best course of action. Yet, it also requires the balance of the intuitive, procreative, and responsive aspects of our being to find Wisdom and navigate an often paradoxical reality. We need the holistic picture in order to understand how the parts interact in the whole.
We are thus not the Kings of this planet, but are simply cells in its being. We live in an interdependent world. Indeed, if we continue polluting and causing high rates of species extinction; then, we too shall die and go extinct. What goes around comes around.
Since the beginning of the last century, more and more people, including the hardcore scientists of physics, have come to realize the relational aspect of the universe. Indeed, author Anne Baring quotes physicist Paul Davies on page 330 of her book, The Dream of the Cosmos: A Quest for the Soul:
To study the new physics is to embark on a journey of wonderment and paradox, in which subject and object, mind and matter, force and field become intertwined " .we see moving towards an understanding in which matter, force, order and creation are unified into a single descriptive scene. The me, the laws of the universe, from quarks to quasars, dovetail together as felicitously that the impression that there is something behind it all is overwhelming.
It appears we are marrying the currently dominant masculine left side of the brain to what has been the more receptive and creative feminine right side of the brain into wholeness. At least, this marriage may take place if we don't go extinct due to our behavior on this planet.
Interestingly, some are saying Consciousness is behind this miraculous universe. One physicist who is speaking this way is Tom Campbell, who wrote the book, My Big TOE, with TOE being an acronym for Theory of Everything.