What We’ve Learnt From Science
We’ve learnt from science that we use different parts of our brains to process every day actions. The left part of the brain is believed to process all things technical, whereas the right is believed to process all things creative. I don’t challenge what science has taught us, however I challenge the wide spread belief that we are either predominantly right-brain or left-brain individuals.
I suspect this belief has spread because of two reasons. First, believing in the sentiment is easy. It’s a get out of jail free card for not being good at an activity processed in the ‘less dominant’ part of the brain. Second, it’s an excuse to not try: “I’ve never bothered with anything artistic because my mind is technical” or “I’ve never been good at anything technical “I’m an artist” I’m aware that not everyone is a mathematician or an artist. I’m taking two ends of the extreme to illustrate a point.
Being great at both things technical and artistic would make most people happy and there isn’t a reason why this isn’t possible. Both parts of the brain are engaged more often than common belief. A great deal of overlap exists between activities considered technical and artistic. I feel a perspective shift is needed to give ourselves the best chance of ever being able to use the full potential of our brains.
Etymology of ‘Technical’ and ‘Art’
- ‘art’ comes from the latin word ‘artem‘ or ‘ars‘ meaning: skill as a result of learning or practice
- ‘technical’ comes from the greek word ‘tekhnikos‘ meaning: skilled in a particular art or subject
These definitions are almost synonymous because they share the notion of skill. In the Greek and Roman societies any activity which involved the manufacture of durable objects was described a skill, this included everything from painting to building architecture. Everything we consider technical or artistic the Greeks and Romans considered skill. Why do we differentiate between the two?
Art is One Big Math Equation
I try my best to sneak some drawing into my schedule every chance I get. I’m shocked to discover how much math is involved. Nevertheless, this is a great example why the Greeks and Romans were more precise in categorising ‘technical’ and ‘artistic’ under the same umbrella. Here are some things an artist needs consider when drawing:
Throughout the process, when creating art, measurements are taken of space, distance and angle. Drawing is a skill developed partly by improving one’s ability to measure. This skill, widely considered creative, proves to be the opposite when broken down into its component parts. How these components are combined is where creativity comes to play. There’s no denying that one of the most creative processes known to man, drawing, involves lots of left brain activity.
It’s All Just Skill
I like to think of everything as skill. Whether it’s technical or creative doesn’t matter to me. There’s an incredible amount of technicality to art and there’s an artistic side to all things technical. I don’t distinguish between the two because I don’t believe there is a difference. Everything we learn is a result of observation and application. I don’t limit myself to activities considered ‘technical’ or ‘creative’ because I believe I am capable of engaging in both. In fact, I believe we are all capable. The first step is recognising that learning is a skill in itself and once we understand its components its application is available to us universally.