In this episode, I speak with psychiatrist, lecturer, and author Iain McGilchrist. We discuss some of the themes and ideas presented in his book 'The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World.'
In the very beginning of this interview, Iain lays out a detailed picture of the "divided brain" -- specifically the evolutionary and adaptive perceptual functions of the left and right hemispheres of the brain. We then discuss how the balance, or imbalance, of these relatively different perceptual functions inherent in the functioning of each hemisphere of the brain has manifested in the development and trajectory of human cultures and societies, up to the present moment. More specifically, we discuss how the Western worldview (the value systems that have been cultivated in predominantly Western societies), over the course of its thousands of years of development, began to lean more in more toward a more "left brain" form of organized thinking and cultural development, and how this predominantly "left brain" thinking has lead our civilization, now global in scope, towards the brink of wide-scale ecological devastation, of which we may not survive through.
Iain is such an insightful, thoughtful, and compassionate individual, who through studying the evolutionary functions of the left and right hemispheres of the brain, has uncovered a very important piece of the puzzle as to how we have gotten ourselves into the precarious moment we all find ourselves in today. To quote Iain's bio: "He is committed to the idea that the mind and brain can be understood only by seeing them in the broadest possible context, that of the whole of our physical and spiritual existence, and of the wider human culture in which they arise – the culture which helps to mould, and in turn is moulded by, our minds and brains."*
Ian is the author of multiple books, including 'Against Criticism,' 'The Master and his Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World,' 'The Divided Brain and the Search for Meaning; Why Are We So Unhappy?,' and 'Ways of Attending.'
He is currently working on a book titled 'There Are No Things,' a book of epistemology and metaphysics. Iain and his work will be featured in an upcoming feature-length documentary titled 'The Divided Brain.'
- A good place to learn about Iain and his work is at his website: http://iainmcgilchrist.com
- To learn more about 'The Master and His Emissary,' start here: http://iainmcgilchrist.com/the-master-and-his-emissary/
- Learn more about the documentary film 'The Divided Brain,' featuring Iain and his work, here: http://thedividedbrain.com
- Iain was featured in the documentary film 'Tawai: A voice from the forest': https://www.tawai.earth
- The songs featured in this episode are "I Love U, Pt. 1" and "I Love U, Pt. 2" by Panthurr from the album I Love U.