The Divided Brain by Iain McGilchrist

To view the full lecture:


 Paul E. Dennison

This lecture given by psychiatrist and writer Iain McGilchrist, with excerpts later posted as an RSAnimate, offers an excellent discussion of the human brain in our modern world.

The less-than-12-minute video, based on the talk, shows how, although recent “left brain-right brain” constructs are an oversimplification, the two sides of the brain do actually function best when they develop different skills: on the left, more narrow, focal attention; on the right, more sustained, contextual awareness. Yet the two sides need to work together for both kinds of gifts to be available.

The lecture and RSA help us understand how, by creating simplified, static left-brain maps of the known, humans can easily get caught up in thinking from a perspective that is one-sided, analytic, fragmented, and unintegrated, and be then unable to access the right-brain gifts of compassion and intuition. McGilchrist shows how the overemphasis on analysis from the left, expressive hemisphere gives rise to a modern view that has lost sight of the contextual and integrative elements of the right brain. Dr. McGilchrist is the author of The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World (2010). His insightful view, supported in the video by delightful illustrations, explains the importance of functioning from a whole-brain perspective that honors the nonlinear right hemisphere as well as the more rationally oriented left hemisphere.

The Brain Gym ® 101 course unfolds within the context of a Dynamic Brain model that is similar in function to the one  McGilchrist describes. More importantly, the course gives participants experiential access — through safe, simple movements, pre-activities, and balances — to both the differing and the similar skills of the two hemispheres, to support a whole-brain state in which both focal and contextual qualities are given their due.

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