Harpo Marx meets Dr. Frankenstein

Harpo Marx’s contribution to whole-brain theory and practice.  Redeeming Feeling capacity in holistic brain study



We need some context to understand Harpo Marx’s contribution to whole-brain theory and practice.

At the height of the right~Left Brain fad, 1975-1985, it was common to hear people–inaccurately–describe themselves as strictly “right-brained” or “left-brained.” The left-brainers bragged about their math skills; right-brainers emphasized their creativity and intuition.

Which brain hemisphere do you think Harpo was more expressive of?

Which brain hemisphere do you think Groucho was more expressive of?

Before we reinforce erroneous over-generalizations of right~left brain contrast, let’s set the record straight.

Our waking psyche is multi-intelligent. Waking adults enjoy the use of multiple intelligences. Without multiple intelligences humans would only have only instinct and habit to solve problems.

Ever see a cat with its head stuck in a tight-fitting small bag? The cat only has instincts and reflexes to get out of the bag. The cat backs up. The cat jumps. The cat is unable to think, “Maybe if I put my two paws up and grasp the bag, this could knock or push the bag off.”

If you ask them, an adult human can think of 5-10 ways to get its head out of a paper bag. Ability to think of multiple solutions to the same problem is highly suggestive of Multiple intelligences.

Full discussion of Howard Gardner Multiple Intelligences 1.0 and MI 2.0, can be found in Balance on All Levels PACME+Soul.

Back to Harpo Marx. Harpo’s humor arises very much from what he limits himself to.

Does Harpo limit himself more to his right brain hemisphere or left brain hemisphere?

Right, you got it.

Harpo pretends he has no language ability and no math computation ability. He limits himself to responses to life a creative child (or a creative, silent Buster Keaton) comes up with. We like Harpo because he has no Inner critic and refuses to let anyone else’s Inner Critic or cultural norms dampen his enthusiasm and joy for life and people.

Harpo makes it possible to contrast his one-sided cartoon of right brain expressions with a “cartoon” of left brain hemisphere expressions.

Our left hemisphere is dominant in language processing, formulating thoughts and words you have not expessed before. Left brain is dominant in interpreting what you hear. It handles the duties of speaking beyond screams, yells, cursing and other more guttural (gut brain) habitual and learned expressions of emotional liking and disliking.

Left brain is also dominant in constructing logical sequences in–among other areas–exact mathematical computations.
To simplify, in waking adults, left brain is dominant in activity where rational Thinking-Feeling are at the fore.

Harpo shows us what humans would be like if we turned off our left brain.

In Horse Feathers, Harpo grabs a book off the shelf, opens it, laughs at the contents; then immediately, throws the book into a roaring fireplace. Later in the scene, we see him again involved in his attack on written language. This time he is shoveling a large pile of books into the fireplace ~ p. 100, A Century of the Marx Brothers by Joseph Mills

Harpo proposes, if we turned off our left brain, if we approached the written word more skeptically, we would get a lot less work done; and, have a whole lot more fun.

Whole-brainedness proposes a balance of left~right is best. If you need encouragement to redeem your right brain abilities, Harpo is your inspiration.

Which brain hemisphere do you think Chico was more expressive of? That’s right, a little bit of both right and left.

Harpo shows us a human living more in Feeling

One of the big philosophical struggles being worked out as we speak, is how to reframe science-technology so it serves life and truly human values; instead of, too many Dr. Frankenstein creations, one after another.

A simple way to language this is we need a science more aligned with and attuned to Feeling.

Fortunately how a right brain Harpo science works out and dovetails with left brain-only science is already accomplished. It’s the topic of the Three Sciences we use everyday, a major topic of this website. Full discussion in Goethean Holistic Science and the Three Sciences We Use Everyday for Holistic Practitioners and Self-Healers: Chapters 19-20 from Balance on All Levels-PACME+Soul Plus Related Essays.

First Order Science is theory and experimental method for, the rational choices we make using feeling and intuition. Harpo Marx could be the cartoon mascot–but then–so could Goethe, the West’s earliest holistic thinker.

It’s fun for me to re-imagine the conversation between the one-eyed, color blind scientist and Goethe as a conversation between Harpo Marx and Dr. Frankenstein.

To Learn More
The Card of Destiny for both Harpo Marx and Sai Baba is the 10Hearts. You can look up its characteristic expressions.

BIO ~ Author and Health Intuitive Bruce Dickson is a wounded healer who completed his Heroes Journey this lifetime. He likes to share the Elixirs of Life he found, with those interested. “Service to myself and others is why I get out of bed each morning.” Find him at http://www.Amazon.com/Bruce-Dickson-MSS/e/B007SNVG46

Waldorf-methods approach to learning acupuncture meridians

(Hint – use polarities and patterns)

A Waldorf-methods approach to learning meridians.  

Excerpted from a larger work, to be incorporated into the book, Meridian Metaphors

A whole-brained, grasp of meridians, in a humanistic-holistic Western framework, includes BOTH Memorization of names and placement; AND, Encouraging direct experience of flow in meridians

The present author has taken no TCM nor acupuncture training or certification. I don’t have access to TCM staff and faculty at any TCM college or training institute. My research is limited to fairly wide exposure to TCM literature, a few acupuncture practitioners and the internet.

2017 research with Mr. Google suggests by the standards of Holistic-Humanistic Psychology, student training methods for learning acupuncture meridians remain rudimentary everywhere I can see online. Hopefully live courses for students have additional humanity and promote Intuitive Feeling equally with Intuitive Thinking. No Meridian Coloring Book seems to exist, might be a good idea too.

“Rudimentary by the standards of Holistic-Humanistic Psychology” points to existing teaching methods limited almost exclusively to learning names and physical placement. Online I can find no encouragement for students to feel their own meridians and the meridian flows in clients–outside of Donna Eden’s Meridian Tracing courses at Innersource.net. Donna Eden and her teachers use Holistic-Humanistic Psychology and humanistic psychotherapy as their idealogical foundation.

If readers know of TCM and meridian training schools explicitly using Humanistic Psychology-psychotherapy as an idealogical foundation, I would love to know of them and list them here.

What Mr. Google tells us is, existing student training methods for learning acupuncture meridians are out of balance towards left brain intelligences. The orientation of meridian learning is strongly titled towards only the Outer Game of Life.

What about Asian acupuncture literature? Asian acupuncture literature is even more strongly titled towards outer-orientation of meridian learning than Western literature and methods.

Asian TCM student training methods for learning acupuncture, accessible online, suggest brute force memorization (making clear inner mental pictures) backed up by hands-on clinical practice may be the only accepted training methods.

I’m in favor of both memorization and clinical experience. These are needed aspects of learning meridians.

Let’s also consider what’s missing, the Inner Game side of meridians.

Western meridian training, since 1974, starting with Touch for Health; and then, Donna Eden’s Meridian Tracing (InnerSource.net) encourages students to attend to, and expand, the feeling experience of meridians.

In living meridians, the feeling quality of flow is colored by:

– If energy is flowing–or not,

– Is energy flowing in healthy direction of flow–or not?

– Perceiving another quality when energy flows backwards, against its healthy direction of flow,

– Perceiving stuck energy, uncertain, undecided which direction to flow,

– Perceiving different qualities in each bilateral meridians of a pair,

For those wishing a whole-brained, left~right brain grasp of meridians, in a humanistic-holistic Western framework, the endgame is BOTH:

– Memorization of names and placement,

– Encouraging direct Feeling perception of flow in meridians.

To be clear, the first appeals to left brain (us from neck-up), objective observation is encouraged. The second appeals to right brain (us from neck-down), individual, subjective (inner) percepts of flow, color, taste, smell, soun

    1. Whole-brained approach to learning meridians

As a trained Waldorf teacher and an Energy Medicine practitioner, I’m aware a Waldorf-methods approach can be applied to learning meridians. A Waldorf approach appears to be simpler, clearer and more conducive to whole-brain practice.

In Grade One, the whole of mathematics and number is reduced to polarities, patterns and characters. One example, the abstract idea of odd and even numbers is presented as Boy and Girl numbers, using kids in the class to alternate and demonstrate this.

The whole of drawing is reduced to a polarity of straight and curved in Nature and architecture.

In Grade Five and later, history and biography are made more vivid and impressive by emphasizing polar opposite expressions, even in the same person.

Waldorf teaching methods for any new topic suggest starting with the most obvious, largest polarity; progress to smaller nuances as students can grasp additional finer details.

Many readers will recognize this as “whole-to-part” thinking. Indeed, this is part of the method. The rest is “not to define but to characterize” (Steiner paraphrase). “Naming” and “Definition” are left brain exercises proclaiming and affirming placement and proximity to other ideas.

“Characterization” is a right brain exercise, related to first impressions, caricature, representation (including parody) and gut instincts. Do both. For audiences younger than puberty, Characterization will be preferred over Definition. For audiences after puberty, the reverse. If you want whole-brain thinkers, after puberty–DO BOTH.

Q: What about Characterizing meridians by their elemental quality?

A: All well and good. However please notice left brain’s tendency to use elemental association as a tool for mere PLACEMENT in a TCM scheme of elements. What’s missing we can now add is encouraging students to FEEL FLOWS, in whichever sensory channel is most-open for them now. I believe feeling-sensing the elemental quality directly is a much advanced skill, which few ever master, short of those already highly clairvoyant.

    1. A Waldorf-methods approach to learning meridians

What polarities and patterns are perceptible in acupuncture meridians? Many.

Leaving aside the necessary grouping meridians by elements for the moment, here’s how I would sequence instruction. First:

    1. Origin of the term “meridian” in acupuncture

The term “meridian” was introduced by Soulie de Morant as the translation for the Chinese word “luo.” Yet a more accurate description would be “vessels,” “pathways” or “channels,” and these terms are sometimes used interchangeably. “Meridian” is typically used to describe the invisible longitudinal lines of the earth, while “vessels” are pathways through which vital substances flow throughout the body.


Second, leave aside Governing Vessel and Conception Vessel. These are much deeper than the 12 more superficial meridians. The two are easy to treat as a pair. Use these to go deeper after students have a feel for the realm of the 12.

    1. Overall front~back pattern of flow

Third: If you had to make a wet-on-wet watercolor painting of the meridians (hint-hint), using red for upflow and blue for downflow, how would you paint?

Please do honor student guesses about representing the polarity of red-upflow and blue-downflow in their paintings. No wrong way to approximate this. The only way to wrongly approximate this is to paint nothing at all.

Afterwards, after class review of student work, lead them to consider these possibilities:

– On the front of the trunk, minus the arms, the main direction is upwards (Stomach meridian in only major meridian going down on front of trunk. Conception also flows up).

– On the sides, Gall Bladder is altogether a downward flow on entire side of the body, both sides (no contradicting meridians whatsoever among the 12).

– On the back, the major direction is down (Back of the body below shoulders “belongs” to Bladder Meridian. Upward flow is represented by the Governing Vessel. Leaving it aside for the moment).

– Our head altogether resists such simple ideas. My suggestion is the cowl shape, like in the Assassin’s Creed game and movie. Up to you if it’s red or blue. I dunno.

Then have them do a second painting.

To Learn More

For those interested, behind the four elements, is the pattern of etheric formative forces, discussed most clearly in Man or Batter, 3rd Ed. (1985).

BIO ~ Author and Health Intuitive Bruce Dickson is a wounded healer who completed his Heroes Journey this lifetime. He likes to share the Elixirs of Life he found, with those interested. “Service to myself and others is why I get out of bed each morning.” Find him at http://www.Amazon.com/Bruce-Dickson-MSS/e/B007SNVG46
– Green Spirituality 2.0 ~ http://GreenSpirituality20.cmslauncher.cloud

More coherent spine-flower analogy, human as upside-down plant


By Bruce Dickson, https://HolisticBrainBalance.wordpress.com
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For those interested, a more modern; hopefully, more coherent, clear version of the spine-flower analogy, human as upside-down plant.

By Bruce Dickson, https://HolisticBrainBalance.wordpress.com

Rudolf Steiner started many of us thinking on how plants and the human being are similar. RS called the human being an inverted plant. Consider, the flower on an annual plant are the sex organs of the plant. In a flower they point up. In human beings, our sex organs point down.

In a plant, its roots are in the relatively stable, unmoving soil. In the human being, our roots are invisible, in higher worlds, in mental-emotional realms; more precisely in our beliefs, self-concept and our unique algnmment with truly human values. The higher realms are relatively stable and unmoving–compared to Earthly conditions, which change constantly. This paraphrases Steiner.
What if the human being is an upside-down plant in more than one way?

Goethe contributed to our understanding of the human spine. Goethe drew attention to how the adult spine is similar to the yearly process annual flowers go thru towards producing a flower.

Our hips and sacrum are a stable base, a foundation. Our spine vertebrae are analogous to the leaf-leaf-leaf repetition-rhythm on the stem of a flower stalk. Our sphenoid bone and our human face, are analogous to the lovely face of a flower.

I also like the idea of a flower on top of the spine, inside the skull, top of the skull, both, perhaps. Advanced clairvoyants see a lotus flower geometry in and/or at the top of the head. This is wondrous to me. This paraphrases Goethe.

Fetus uncurling from the head

Now let’s consider DOWNWARD sequences. In the womb, in human embryology, the human head forms first, not last. Our lower body uncurls from the head the way in kindergarten, a lima bean plant uncurls from a dry lima bean moistened and put between two wet paper towels, in the dark. We can imagine our vertebrae ‘going DOWN the spine’ as analogous to what the lima bean does uncurling from the seed.

In downward imagery, the beauty of the human face is analogous to a flower; then, our Axis-Atlas and/or sphenoid bone have to be analogous to the calyx (bud).

In downwards imagery of human development, the flower comes first, our beautiful face, us as we are, before birth, in the higher realms. This comes first, before the fetus, who builds our body. The human being is first connected with Spirit, starts from a higher form, grows DOWN towards a physical embodiment. At the start, human embryology unfurls from the head.

The human being is an upside down plant in two more ways, if we imagine a progression of color and frequency.

In adults after puberty, our etheric body has four (or more) frequency regions. In adults, as our gaze moves from skull towards feet, we are moving lower and lower in frequency, in vibration. This is a key to perceiving our etheric body.

What are we progressing to? The red of our first etheric center, a focus of our physical form. At least four octaves. These four octaves are celebrated in Laughter Yoga. From top-highest to lowest: Hee-hee!, Ha-ha! heh-heh, and Ho-ho!

The lowering of frequency is perhaps easier to imagine as changes in color. As the fetus uncurls, it devolves from ultraviolet frequencies, down thru purples, thru blue, down all the way to base red frequencies of the root center connected with the coccyx. In terms of color-frequency, hips, legs and feet are close to red.

The above suggests an update of Goethe-Steiner ideas of the human being as upside-down plant:

– While the plant grows primarily UP from its roots, the human being, in utero and in the first five years, grows primarily DOWN from its flower, down from its beautiful face (down from the as-yet uncorrupted etheric body).

– A plant first establishes its roots in the soil and grows UP towards a flower, raising and expanding its frequency to express its highest possible frequency in a flower and possibly scent. Soul outside the human experience begins established in Spirit; then, grows DOWN into a fetus and towards capacity for the human journey. Soul grows DOWN into legs, feet; ultimately, into under-standing the human experience.

Perhaps we can say, humans and plants grow analogously–but in opposite directions. Perhaps the human being is an upside-down plant in more than one way.

Your comments invited

From Gravity to Inertia DRAFT for comment

inertia-k-12-science-physicsFrom Gravity to Inertia DRAFT for comment
Transition from perceiving behaviors as gravity-dominated to inertia-dominated
The bridging rhetoric for perceiving ether

One thing I learned as an elementary and middle school teacher is science is the art of asking good questions.

Tho I have a Goethean Science blog http://blog.goetheanscience.net I’m not a scientist by profession. My profession is closer to “mystic.”

I’ve made some effort to stay abreast of topics in New Physics, Etheric Physics and the Electric Universe. I notice a language (rhetorical) pattern that always makes me curious. On the primary questions of mass and movement, which interested Galileo, Newton and I’n sure many readers, I notice writers coming to conclusions before all observations are accounted for; and, a tendency to give up before questions about unaccounted-for observations are resolved. Giving up is not the same as answering a question; clinging to Newtonian principles is not the same as asking and answering questions.

I notice a tendency to close off discussion prematurely and stand on the authority of Newton and Einstein instead of proposing more useful questions. I notice these rhetorical gaps especially in middle and high school science teaching texts and online articles and videos for science teachers.

No such thing as “rest” in our solar system

Mr. Google tells me in Physics, inertia is defined as “the property of matter by which it retains its state of rest or its velocity along a straight line so long as it is not acted upon by an external force.”

However on Earth, anywhere in our solar system, there is no such thing as rest. The solar system is moving. So rest is only relative, one object to another.

What we mean by “rest” is two or more objects traveling at the same speed at the same time. Our perception of “rest” is highly conditioned by “proximity.” The common example is highway driving where a car in front of you or to the left or right of you appears not to move because you and it are traveling at the same speed and direction.

When we expand our perception of mass, we remember there is no “rest.” Every mass on Earth is already in motion. Since everything is already moving, each object has inertia just as much as it has mass.

Mr. Newton, I think, tells us gravity is a universal force; he tells us objects have inertia in proportion to their mass. HOWEVER I can find no observation helping me connect inertia with gravity.

My Goethean observation suggests the phenomena of inertia is very poorly described as a gravity phenomena.

My Goethean observation suggests inertia describes a mass phenomena.

Here, abstract mathematical thinking often intrudes on observation. It intrudes this way: “force X is a factor of force Y.” This is math lingo intruding on naked observation, sometimes distorting our thinking.

If correct, my observations suggest mass is independent of inertia. Whatever inertia is, Mr. Newton tell us it conditions mass to certain behavior: we must do work to move a mass from one location to another, or to change its speed or direction of movement. I observe this too.

What I am not able to observe is this common line of science teaching:

“Inertia: the resistance an object has to a change in its state of motion.”

The above quote clearly connects inertia to objects; it connects mass and inertia, makes mass a pre-condition for inertia. So far I’m unable to observe this.

The newer idea which fits observations more clearly is inertia, whatever it is, is indepdent of mass.

The idea is not unique to me. I forget the obscure references. Anybody know the references?

What I find more in line with my observations is “inertia” exists prior to mass, prior to objects.

What Newton called “inertia” can exist within mass AND exists everywhere in 3D time and space, independent and outside of mass.

When we start talking about observable something existing independent of and outside of physical mass, we are very, very close to talking about a medium within which all mass is situated and within which all mass is conditioned by.

If you like this, we are now miles away from “Inertia: the resistance an object has to a change in its state of motion.”

Once we consider inertia existing independent of mass, we are most of the way towards acknowledging a medium, invisible to merely animal eyes, surrounding and conditioning physical objects in one or more ways.

This is the of my proposal. To take it forward into discussing “ether” isn’t necessary because Rudolf Steiner, Gunther Wachsmuth, JJ Thomson and Gustave LeBon have done the work of documenting ether’s properties. Ernst Lehrs in his Man or Matter 3rd edition 1985 has done the work of connecting all of this with Goethean observation. No need to repeat their work.

I propose this thinking is 100% consistent with the thinking of JJ Thomson, Gustave LeBon, Rudolf Steiner and Ernst Lehrs.

The propositions:
– ‘inertia exists independent of objects’ and

– ‘resistance to a change of location or a change in speed or a change in direction, tells us of a medium thru which all 3D physical objects are already traveling,’

…are consistent with observation. Comments and corrections invited.

If these propositions find agreement elsewhere, they can do away with confused science teaching in the vein of, “Mass is that quantity that is solely dependent upon the inertia of an object. The more inertia that an object has, the more mass that it has.” http://www.physicsclassroom.com/class/newtlaws/Lesson-1/Inertia-and-Mass

To Do possibilities


Flowering plants speak to us of evolution and transformation (Ernst Lehrs paraphrase)

abstract-stamen-flower_lily16kIt appears the most active level of our waking adult psyche is four head quadrants, not anatomical brain quadrants, not physical-anatomical brain parts in any combination.

But wait, there’s more. “Brain quadrants” are only an analogy, a metaphor, for activity both obvious and subtle, occurring in our etheric body.

Brain-head quadrants appear to be the primary active level of waking thinking-feeling.

Before readers go off half-cocked, neither quadrants, nor any one quadrant, is the primary active level of our immortal-eternal soul.

Quadrants make possible the 3-dimensionality of all our habits (learned behaviors) of thinking-feeling, 95% of our psyche.

The other %5 to 10% of conscious deliberate choice-making is made possible by our immortal-eternal soul.

Keeping quadrants in perspective assists us not to over-generalize the significance of quadrants, as was done earlier with right~left brain hemispheres.

Building on Rudolf Steiner, a flower analogy is presented to show how all these things connect and evolve.

From our neck-up, in our thinking-feeling, we have something surprising, not predicted by the organization and activity of our gut brain, the capacity for independent thought, of critical thinking.

The surprising appearance of independent thinking on top of our more animalistic child within is exactly analogous to the surprising appearance of a rose blossom on top of a stem with only rose leaves.
If you just landed here from Mars, a desert planet, with not one flower at all, and you had never seen a flower on TV, nor any flowering plant; if you were seeing your first rose in bloom; and, the rose portion was blacked out, so all you could see was the roots, stem and leaves, could you easily predict a rose blossom?

No. Only a very poetic-intuitive consciousness would be abel to predict a flower blossom from only roots, stems and leaves.

Contemplating the majesty of how our head quadrants expand possibility in the human psyche, can lead us right into the natural character of transformation.

A rose blossom is the climax of a year-long cycle of slow, patient growth.

Independent thinking-feeling is the climax of 12 or more years of slow, patient development.

Nature’s developmental stages are visible in us. Humankind’s developmental stages are reflected in Nature—as Goethe and Steiner were trying to tell us.

Polarity of Connectivity~Renunciation (surrender)
Building on Goethe, in Man or Matter, Chapter V p. 85 in the 3rd Ed. “The Adventure of Reason,” Ernst Lehrs proposes “the Principle of Renunciation.”

Lehrs describes Goethe’s insight how the leaves of an annual plant have to renounce their comfortable rhythmic growth and predictable alternation to produce something completely different, new and unexpected, a flower.

The comfortable process of leaf, leaf, leaf has to be let go off to concentrate vitality towards producing a flower.

In turn the flower has to renounce its color, more-perfect geometry, fragrance and sexuality to make something altogether different: seeds.

In turn the seeds have to renounce living in the dreamy bosom of the Ur-plant, in perfect abstract potential, to do the work of germinating, sprouting and make the long climb of leaf, leaf, leaf.
Each stage has to give up a lot for the next stage to “blossom.”