I must confess I’ve watched this clip three times to get my head around it (both halves, hahaha). Partly because it’s a massive chunk of information presented in a very short space of time, and partly because the animation kidnapped my mind, enough for me to keep losing the message, as I processed the imagery. It’s well worth the 11 minutes it’ll take you to watch it.
The content is care of Iain McGilchrist
Renowned psychiatrist and writer Iain McGilchrist explains how our ‘divided brain’ has profoundly altered human behaviour, culture and society. Taken from a lecture given by Iain McGilchrist as part of the RSA’s free public events programme.
What struck me most about the chunk of content was that my framework, until now, has been a focus on the brain as two parts (a left and right) that did different things. As Iain points out in his presentation, it’s not as much about the difference of the two halves, but more about how they engage with each other (or don’t).
Care of Wikipedia:
Speaking about the book on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, McGilchrist dismisses what he sees as some popular misconceptions about lateralization of brain function, such as one hemisphere handling reason and the other language (etc), stating that such processing involves both sides of the brain. McGilchrist points out that the idea that “reason [is] in the left hemisphere and something like creativity and emotion [are] in the right hemisphere” is an unhelpful misconception. He states that “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.” Nevertheless he does see an obvious dichotomy, and asks himself: “if the brain is all about making connections, why is it that it’s evolved with this whopping divide down the middle?”
The author holds instead that each of the hemispheres of the brain has a different “take” on the world or produces a different “version” of the world, though under normal circumstances these work together. This, he says, is basically to do with attention. He illustrates this with the case of chicks which use the eye connected to the left hemisphere to attend to the fine detail of picking seeds from amongst grit, whilst the other eye attends to the broader threat from predators. According to the author, “The left hemisphere has its own agenda, to manipulate and use the world”; its world view is essentially that of a mechanism. The right has a broader outlook, “has no preconceptions, and simply looks out to the world for whatever might be. In other words it does not have any allegiance to any particular set of values.”
Writing about the book in The Guardian, the philosopher Mary Midgley explains that “The bifurcation seems to have become necessary in the first place because these two main functions – comprehensiveness and precision – are both necessary, but are too distinct to be combined.”
You may have to watch the clip below first in order to appreciate this bit above?