Lecture by Iain McGilchrist

  • The myth of logic and the logic of myth 

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    Why is the brain divided?


    The lecture will be an exploration of some of the misconceptions about the nature of reason, the nature of intuition, the part they play in the creative process, and their impact on the divided nature of the brain. Why is the brain divided? In his book ‘The Master and his Emissary’, Iain McGilchrist argues that the left and right hemispheres each have a distinct ‘take’ on the world – most strikingly, the right hemisphere sees itself as connected to the world, whereas the left hemisphere stands aloof from it. This affects our understanding not just of language and reason, music and time, but of all living things: our bodies, ourselves and the world in which we live.

    We need both hemispheres; the left hemisphere, however, has become so dominant that we are in danger of forgetting everything that makes us human. McGilchrist traces how the left hemisphere has grabbed more than its fair share of power, resulting in a society where a rigid and bureaucratic obsession with structure, narrow self-interest and a mechanistic view of the world hold sway, at an enormous cost to human happiness and the world around us.

    About the speaker
    Iain McGilchrist is a psychiatrist and writer. Before he came to medicine, he was a literary scholar -- and his work on the brain is shaped by a deep questioning of the role of art and culture. As his official biography puts it: "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.”

    For more inspiration please see Iain's TED talk about the real difference between the two parts of the human brain shown through animation

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