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"The hidden story of Western culture, as told by the author, is about how the abstract, instrumental, articulate and assured left hemisphere has gradually usurped the more contextual, humane, systemic, holistic but relatively tentative and inarticulate right hemisphere....."
http://www.thersa.org/__data/assets/pdf_file/0019/1016083/RSA-Divided-Brain-Divided-World.PDF






One of the key dichotomies that I wish to explore this year comes from the excellent book by Iain McGilchrist The Master and His Emissary. It is about the differences/similarities between the right and left hemispheres of the brain and how that has profound implications for our perception and understanding of Reality. This dichotomy will also be linked to the differences between Western and Eastern approaches to philosophical enquiry. For a start we will look at this RSA Animation that summarises McGilchrist's ideas. You may struggle to understand it at first, but we will revisit this a number of times throughout the year.

Here's an animated version of the ideas.




Printed Summary and further explorations


We will work through the first section of this document together - it contains some outstanding insights into the distinctions between the way the left and right hemispheres go about their business.


Now, at home, view Iain McGilchrist's explanation of his ideas. Make sure you make some summary notes at the end of your viewing, and bring along questions that you would like the class to discuss.


Have a look at this Pinterest page about the dichotomy......Left/Right brain dichotomy



"Every single brain function is carried out by both hemispheres. Reason and emotion and imagination depend on the coming together of what both hemispheres contribute. So that particular dichotomy is incredibly unhelpful and misleading and I keep trying to steer away from it, but there is still, nonetheless, fairly obviously a dichotomy."Iain McGilchrist
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The Geography of Thought


Can the distinctions between the hemispheres be extrapolated to cultural differences in the ways knowledge is acquired and used?
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LEFT

RIGHT
denotative language/instruction manuals

connotative language/metaphor/poetic
abstraction

changing
clarity and power to manipulate

individual
fixed

interconnected
Static Quality

implicit
isolated

living beings
explicit

never fully known or graspable
general in nature

Dynamic Quality
lifeless

relationship of care
Self

Others
Western Thought

Eastern Thought
Descartes

Heidegger
criticism

creation
Manipulation

Understanding
The Familiar

New and Unique
Re- Presentation

Presentation




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A fascinating Radio National Segment about the book with Phillip Adams




And another interview with Natasha Mitchell

Follow this link for the transcriptIain McGilchrist


Some more videos about the left/right hemispheric differences