Left vs. Right

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Steve McMoyler is having trouble navigating the left – right divide. But it's not the political divide that’s bothering him.

You know what I need a break from? Smart people. Or more accurately, the smart sides of people. Or more specifically, the left sides of their brains, the hemisphere associated with facts, logic, linear thinking and judgment. The right hemisphere is associated with feelings, humor, imagination, the arts and intuition — that stuff.

At work, I keep finding people that are brilliant. They’re nice people, and what we all have in common is our feast at modern life’s buffet of data. Give me more. Need more data. I want constant feeds of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, texts and emails! We all have FOMO: Fear of Missing Out, a social anxiety recognized by psychologists.

I get to talk to a lot of people in my job, and there’s an increasing supply that are brilliant in their handling of data. So efficient! They know how to get things wired. They know all the hacks, the shortcuts, the latest gadgets and apps. They’re winning, without compromise. Especially here in Silicon Valley, there are great rewards for analytical, machine-like performance. Honestly, what boss wouldn’t like a robot working for him?

It’s people that seem to be the problem. Relationships. So many virtual friends and not enough actual ones, right? People don’t conform themselves to others flawlessly like our customized apps and media do. Of course it feels better to have everything just the way you like it. Humans are messy! I’m worried that in a hundred years, our brains will have strapping, muscular left hemispheres, while the right hemispheres have atrophied like little prunes. We could all end up looking like Gumby!


Along with the right brain go the societal bonds. Our empathy. Our creativity. That song in your heart.

So I’m appreciating my right-hemispheric friends. The ones who interact, maybe even just by asking someone’s name. He who breaks the ice fosters our humanity.

I hope we can help our children understand this. We don’t need more shrewdness in the world. We need more caring.

With a Perspective, I’m Steve McMoyler.

Steve McMoyler is a Bay Area native working in Silicon Valley.