Winding down the red!

No, there is zero benefit in having a red brain mind state

People often ask: is the red brain useful at all?

My response is that it is not useful as the blue brain has access to all the brain’s resources such that self-limiting simply reduces our capability to act effectively in the world.

One of these limitations related to vertical or adult development is that the childhood mind, whose shadow becomes the red brain, is formed when the content of thought is concrete in nature, i.e. is made up of things we can perceive through our senses or we can imagine doing so.

When the red brain triggers, we only have access to concrete thought patterns which explains our inability to handle complex problems when triggered in this way.

Seen from that perspective, we really don’t want the red brain to trigger.

Claude Monet - Impression, sunrise, 1873.

Claude Monet - Impression, sunrise, 1873.

In my mind, at least, the weight of evidence is accumulating to say that having a red brain is not only inconvenient in the moment, when it triggers, but is also a barrier to our further development when it prevents us from entertaining thoughts and ideas that challenge our status quo.

Not only do we want to avoid creating a red brain in young people but we also need to defuse and gradually eliminate our own.

Fortunately, the practice of encounter (pay full attention free of judgement or comparison and whatever the other person says or does, respond with kindness and compassion) does both, which is why it is so powerful and students who experience this at school remember the teacher their whole lives.

Let’s wind down and eliminate red brain altogether.


John Corrigan is an expert in helping individuals to bring their whole of mind to their daily life and increase their effectiveness and the effectiveness of those around them. This expertise scales from the individual to the team to the organisation. At the core of this work is the practice of encounter.  Earlier blogs can be found here.

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John Corrigan