This is just a fragment posted to Stoics mailing list:
A mantra usually refers to a verbal repetitive chant. This is particularly therapeutic for the left hemisphere of the brain. The left hemisphere is the side that characterises modern Western thinking and the sciences. This is where you find the angst. It specialises in abstract, symbolic, analytical thinking. The angst comes from the alienation of the abstract to anything substantial. The right hemisphere specialises in the creative, dominated by context, concerning itself with the whole.
Apparently, at any particular time, one hemisphere will be dominant. Empirical studies have shown that, in humans, the hemispheres switch from being dominant every ninety minutes. Repetitive reciting of a mantra is a good way to switch over to the right side. The left hemisphere is comforted by the mantra, gets bored, and falls asleep, leaving the right side, in a mild meditative state to contemplate the whole.
In Hellenistic times there was a dichotomy is philosophical outlook: The Epicureans on one side faced off against the Stoics on the other. The Epicureans were left side thinkers and precursors to the analytical, atomistic, amoral, dualism that characterises Western thought today. The Stoics were right brained thinkers, monist, rationalist moralist and holistic. They also sketched out the framework for a unique, unifying science. Over two thousand years later, it is up to us to complete their long neglected project.
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