Essays for the left hand

According to the psychologist Jerome Bruner, there are two ways of looking at the world: logico-scientific on the one hand and narrarive on the other hand. These two modes of thought provide “distincitve ways of ordering experience, of constructing reality”. In Actual Minds, Possible Worlds (1986) he explains how this idea is strongly linked to a personal crisis he experienced during the years he was a student of psychology:

“Twenty-odd years ago, engaged in the research on the psychological nature and development of thought, I had one of those mild crises so endemic for students of mind. The Apollonian and the Dionysian, the logical and the intuitive, were at war. Gustave Theodor Fechner, the founder of modern experimental psychology, had called them the Tagesansicht and Nachtansicht. My own research had taken me more and more deeply into the study of logical inference, the strategies by which ordinary people penetrate to the logical structure of the regularities they encounter in a world that they create through the very exercise of mind that they use for exploring it.
I also read novels, went to films, let myself fall under the spell of Camus, Conrad, Robbe-Grillet, Sartre, Burgess, Bergman, Joyce, Antonioni. From time to time, almost as if to keep some balance between night and day, I wrote essays about Freud, the modern novel, metaphor, mythology, painting. They were informal and “literary” rather than “systematic” in form, however psychologically motivated they may have been.
Eventually, I published these “fugitive” essay as a book: “On Knowing: Essays for the Left Hand”. It was a relief to get the book out, though I do not think its publication changed my way of working much. By day, the Tagesansicht prevailed: my psychological research continued. At night there were novels and poems and plays. The crisis had passed.” (Bruner 1986:8)

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