While the festival of samhain may be over, and as the West slips somewhat grudgingly into the darker half of the annual cycle, there may be a few theory-type zombies remaining with a thirst for braaains. In this new RSAnimate, renowned psychiatrist and writer Iain McGilchrist may help satiate their need for a time. In this talk he explains how our ‘divided brain’ has profoundly altered human behaviour, culture and society. The talk is based on his influential book of last year, The Master and His Emissary (2010). The full, 30 minute lecture is here for those interested. The introduction to the book, for those really interested is here, where he writes that the overall thesis of the book is:
that for us as human beings there are two fundamentally opposed realities, two different modes of experience; that each is of ultimate importance in bringing about the recognisably human world; and that their difference is rooted in the bihemispheric structure of the brain. It follows that the hemispheres need to co-operate, but I believe they are in fact involved in a sort of power struggle, and that this explains many aspects of contemporary Western culture (McGilchrist, 2010, p.3).
The book sounds fascinating but, at over 600 pages, I simply will not get to it in the next 12 months. Which is why I like the RSA Animate series so much. Perhaps you will. Enjoy.