Neuroscientist Argues the Left Side of Our Brains Have Taken Over Our Minds


From CBC: “Science has long known that the human brain has a left and right hemisphere . . . ‘The two hemispheres have styles — takes, if you like, on the world. They see things differently. They prioritize different things. They have different values,’ said [Scottish psychiatrist Iain] McGilchrist in The Divided Brain, a television documentary . . .

‘The left hemisphere’s goal is to enable us to manipulate things, whereas the goal of the right hemisphere is to relate to things and understand them as a whole. Two ways of thinking that are both needed, but are fundamentally at the same time incompatible.’

McGilchrist’s widely-read book, The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World, makes the case that the left hemisphere has taken over our minds and reshaped the world in its image in a way that is good for neither humans nor the planet and everything that lives on it.

‘A way of thinking which is reductive, mechanistic has taken us over,’ said McGilchrist in The Divided Brain. ‘We behave like people who have right hemisphere damage.

‘[It] treats the world as a simple resource to be exploited. It’s made us enormously powerful. It’s enabled us to become wealthy, but it’s also meant that we’ve lost the means to understand the world, to make sense of it, to feel satisfaction and fulfilment through our place in the world.’

The left brain pays sharply focused attention to detail and sorts and organizes people and things into neat, orderly categories.

But McGilchrist says the left brain doesn’t understand relationships. It’s the right brain that understands context and the big picture — our relationships with others and how we fit into a complex, non-linear world in which everything is connected.

Einstein said that the rational mind is a faithful servant, but the intuitive mind is a precious gift, and we live in a world that has honoured the servant but has forgotten the gift.– Iain McGilchrist”

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