Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Divided Brain and the Western Mind

Following is a good and extensive review of

Iain McGilchrist on The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World

on the becoming &  "agony" of the ´Western Mind" today at the the fascinating  blog of Amira Skomorowska: a nice blog, which deserves a look on other themes too; like

"Philosophy vs science: which can answer the big questions of life?"


The telling picture's source on the two sides of the brain is from a series of Mercedes Benz ads. found at


The text reads:

Left brain: I am the left brain. I am a scientist. A mathematician. I love the familiar. I categorize. I am accurate. Linear. Analytical. Strategic. I am practical. Always in control. A master of words and language. Realistic. I calculate equations and play with numbers. I am order. I am logic. I know exactly who I am.

Right brain: I am the right brain. I am creativity. A free spirit. I am passion. Yearning. Sensuality. I am the sound of roaring laughter. I am taste. The feeling of sand beneath bare feat. I am movement. Vivid colors. I am the urge to paint on an empty canvas. I am boundless imagination. Art. Poetry. I sense. I feel. I am everything I wanted to be.


Amira Skomorowska:

Iain McGilchrist on The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World


“Just as the human body represents a whole museum of organs, with a long evolutionary history behind them, so we should expect the mind to be organized in a similar way. (…) We receive along with our body a highly differentiated brain which brings with it its entire history, and when it becomes creative it creates out of this history – out of the history of mankind (…) that age-old natural history which has been transmitted in living form since the remotest times, namely the history of the brain structure.”

Carl Jung cited in The Master and His Emissary, Yale University Press, 2009, p.8.

Renowned psychiatrist and writer Iain McGilchrist explains how the ‘divided brain’ has profoundly altered human behaviour, culture and society. He draws on a vast body of recent experimental brain research to reveal that the differences between the brain’s two hemispheres are profound.

The left hemisphere is detail-oriented, prefers mechanisms to living things, and is inclined to self-interest. It misunderstands whatever is not explicit, lacks empathy and is unreasonably certain of itself, whereas the right hemisphere has greater breadth, flexibility and generosity, but lacks certainty.

It is vital that the two hemispheres work together, but McGilchrist argues that the left hemisphere is increasingly taking precedence in the modern world, resulting in a society where a rigid and bureaucratic obsession with structure and self-interest hold sway.



Amira Skomorowska's blog:



More on The Divided Brain from a Philosophy corner (Review of Iain McGilchrist's Book):

Arran Gare

The-Master-and-His-Emissary.pdf Download this file

Interview with Iain Mcgilchrist:

Towards ... Change

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