The Sixteen Variations in Consciousness
As I explain in the previous video in this series, and in my book, How Whole Brain Thinking Can Save the Future, most of us experience right-brain- or left-brain-dominance. This is the result of having a brain management or operating system determined by genetic complete dominance. But this form of genetic dominance is only one of three types of brain dominance that we can inherit —I’ll introduce the other two in a moment.
When dominance is complete, in terms of the overall operation of the brain, that means one hemisphere completely dominates the other. Consequently, its perspective governs the way we look at information and how we react, and thus strongly shapes our conscious experience of our world.
Complete dominance divides the whole of the brain’s contribution to consciousness into two parts, so it is a dualistic system. Under complete dominance, our non-dominant hemisphere serves us in a role similar to that of an assistant—available if we seek it out, but otherwise recessive. Because complete dominance focuses on one part of a two-part system we are naturally prone to experience polarization and the conflict that accompanies it. Examples include right-brain-dominant people who see the big picture but have a distorted view of it because they are lacking or misunderstand essential details and left-brain-dominant people who see the details well but fail to see how they fit together into the big picture. Limitations such as this are overcome through whole-brain thinking.
Let’s consider the other two genetically-determined systems of consciousness—incomplete dominance and codominance. We see that they each combine right- and left-brain systems in two different ways. Each of these forms of dominance, because they combine both perspectives, gives us a holistic view of life. Incomplete dominance creates a single system that is an integration of the two hemispheric systems. Codominance creates a team system in which we consciously or unconsciously choose how to integrate the two systems, and as such, is theoretically capable of the greatest flexibility.
So, let’s summarize: The brain’s four basic brain-operating systems are the two systems of complete dominance, right-brain and left-brain, a hybrid system of the two born out of incomplete dominance, and a unity or team system that is the result of codominance.
In addition to the two streams of information flowing to mind from our right and left hemispheres, we also acquire information from the insights of others. Naturally, the content of what they share with us depends on how they combine the two streams. Their perspective and process might be similar to ours, but they might also be radically different. As a result, to one degree or another, most of us are developing a more unified system of thought, albeit unconsciously. Although we might be left- or right-brain dominant, external influences help mentally balance us to some degree, especially influences coming from the people whose dominant perspective is the one that is recessive in us.
In my previous video on consciousness, The Brain’s Four Operating Systems, I explain the brain’s four genetically-determined operating systems in a bit more detail.
To complete our simple overview of the brain’s operating systems and their effect on consciousness and behavior, there is another function of the four systems that needs to be considered: their role in information output. Because this four-part design serves two functions— the input of sensory data that serves to inform us, and an output, which is our response to the input—we can actually inherit any one of 16 different systems of consciousness. I’ll explain. Information flows into the brain, is processed, then flows back out. In other words, the brain absorbs information, then responds to it. Just because you are left-brain-dominant, and therefore genetically predisposed to see the world from a left-brain perspective, it does not mean you are genetically predisposed to respond using only left-brain tactics. For example, the fear-based energy of the left brain will always suggest caution; nevertheless, left-brain dominants are not constrained to this approach and can act with abandon if we choose, such as when we are in a safe or highly pleasurable environment. Ultimately, as free-will beings we are able to select the left-brain path, the right-brain path, or a path that incorporates elements of both.
Combining two different operating systems in order to create a more complex system of consciousness—for example using the left-brain to input information and the right-brain to output information—is yet another way that the universe creates diversity. You can see the structure from this graphic.
Because information input and output are separate variables, depending on our genetic inheritance we might default to any one of four operating systems to gather information, and might also default to one of four to express our thoughts and feelings to the world.
Considering that we have four options for input and four for output, we can inherit any one of 16 variations in consciousness as our default system. As an example of how this might affect someone’s behavior, consider that our holistic right hemisphere might process incoming information, as is typical of women, whereas our left hemisphere, the one that typically guides men, might process outgoing information. This would produce someone who sees the world as is typical of right-brain-dominant women but responds to it in an aggressive manner that is typical of left-brain-dominant men.
For more on how the brain’s operating systems affect human behavior, you might want to check out the following videos: Gender’s Four Variations, Gender’s Sixteen Variations, and Thirty-Two Sexual Orientations (ideally in that order). They explain my unique discoveries about gender and sexual orientation.