The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World
Author: Iain McGilchrist
Publisher: Yale University Press
A new edition of the bestselling classic – published with a special introduction to mark its 10th anniversary This pioneering account sets out to understand the structure of the human brain – the place where mind meets matter. Until recently, the left hemisphere of our brain has been seen as the ‘rational’ side, the superior partner to the right. But is this distinction true? Drawing on a vast body of experimental research, Iain McGilchrist argues while our left brain makes for a wonderful servant, it is a very poor master. As he shows, it is the right side which is the more reliable and insightful. Without it, our world would be mechanistic – stripped of depth, colour and value.
In this 10,000-word essay, written to complement Iain McGilchrist's acclaimed The Master and His Emissary, the author asks why - despite the vast increase in material well-being - people are less happy today than they were half a century ago, and suggests that the division between the two hemispheres of the brain has a critical effect on how we see and understand the world around us. In particular, McGilchrist suggests, the left hemisphere's obsession with reducing everything it sees to the level of minute, mechanistic detail is robbing modern society of the ability to understand and appreciate deeper human values. Accessible to readers who haven't yet read The Master and His Emissary as well as those who have, this is a fascinating, immensely thought-provoking essay that delves to the very heart of what it means to be human.
Attention is not just receptive, but actively creative of the world we inhabit. How we attend makes all the difference to the world we experience. And nowadays in the West we generally attend in a rather unusual way: governed by the narrowly focussed, target-driven left hemisphere of the brain. Forget everything you thought you knew about the difference between the hemispheres, because it will be largely wrong. It is not what each hemisphere does – they are both involved in everything – but how it does it, that matters. And the prime difference between the brain hemispheres is the manner in which they attend. For reasons of survival we need one hemisphere (in humans and many animals, the left) to pay narrow attention to detail, to grab hold of things we need, while the other, the right, keeps an eye out for everything else. The result is that one hemisphere is good at utilising the world, the other better at understanding it. Absent, present, detached, engaged, alienated, empathic, broad or narrow, sustained or piecemeal, attention has the power to alter whatever it meets. The play of attention can both create and destroy, but it never leaves its object unchanged. How you attend to something – or don’t attend to it – matters a very great deal. This book helps you to see what it is you may have been trained by our very unusual culture not to see.
The God of the Left Hemisphere explores the remarkable connections between the activities and functions of the human brain that writer William Blake termed 'Urizen' and the powerful complex of rationalising and ordering processes which modern neuroscience identifies as 'left hemisphere' brain activity. The book argues that Blake's profound understanding of the human brain is finding surprising corroboration in recent neuroscientific discoveries, such as those of the influential Harvard neuro-anatomist Jill Bolte Taylor, and it explores Blake's provocative supposition that the emergence of these rationalising, law-making, and 'limiting' activities within the human brain has been recorded in the earliest Creation texts, such as the Hebrew Bible, Plato's Timaeus, and the Norse sagas. Blake's prescient insight into the nature and origins of this dominant force within the brain allows him to radically reinterpret the psychological basis of the entity usually referred to in these texts as 'God'.The book draws in particular on the work of Bolte Taylor, whose study in this area is having a profound impact on how we understand mental activity and processes. Bolte Taylor was listed as one of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People in 2008 and her book recounting her research into left and right brain activity spent seventeen weeks in the New York Times best-seller list. The God of the Left Hemisphere also dovetails in many exciting and provocative ways with Iain McGilchrist's recent study of the impact of brain lateralisation on human culture in The Master and his Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World (2009). It is significant in this respect that McGilchrist also sees Blake's figure of Urizen as an 'instantiation of the left hemisphere take on the world'.In the second part of the book the author extends Blake's understanding of Urizenic activities and functions into a broader discussion concerning the place of both religion and rationality in contemporary culture. In particular, he examines Blake's contention that whilst religion and rationalistic science are supposed to be at loggerheads, symptomatic of a 'two cultures' divide, what they resemble more are different (or rival) versions of essentially similar systems of thoughts ('R1' and 'R2'). In order to clarify the nature of this relationship the author updates Blake's original imagery of mills and machinery to denote Urizenic processes and employs instead the more modern metaphor of rival operating systems, battling it out for supremacy of the left brain. Blake's presentation of Urizen as the 'Holy Reasoning Power' succinctly captures what he saw as the underlying rationalizing processes of orthodox religion as well as the religious and largely unconscious nature of much post-Newtonian science.
Businesses around the world are facing rapidly changing economic and social situations. Business leaders and managers must be ready to respond and adapt in new, innovative ways. The authors of this groundbreaking book argue that business people must adopt a 'holonomic' way of thinking, a dynamic and authentic understanding of the relationships within a business system, and an appreciation of the whole. Complexity and chaos are not to be feared, but rather are the foundation of successful business structures and economi. Holonomi presents a new world view where economi and ecology are in harmony. Using real-world case studies and practical exercises, the authors guide the reader in a new, holistic approach to business, towards a more sustainable future where both people and planet matter.
- Is a powerful position a guarantee that a religion will continue? - Does God take sides in religious power struggles? - Can God survive religious exclusivity and diversity? - Is God migrating from "out there" to "in here"? - Is religion sustainable in the long run? In seeking answers to these questions, this book explores the possibilities afforded by playful religion. Religion has playful origins, but this aspect is forgotten as soon as institutional power becomes self-serving instead of subservient. Power changes the very essence of religion. Virtually all religions are distorted versions of a playful original. Institutionalization is religion's curse, not its blessing. Apparent success hides the failure of religion to be faithful to its original intent. This book helps find the way back from bordering to inclusivity and openness.
Political Economy, Cultural Dynamics and the Future of the University
Author: Dr Alexander Schieffer
Publisher: Gower Publishing, Ltd.
Category: Business & Economics
The theory of integral dynamics is based on the view that the development of individual leaders or entrepreneurs requires the simultaneous development of institutions and societies. It seeks a specific way forward for each society, fundamentally different from, but drawing on, its past. Nearly every natural science has been transformed from an analytically-based approach to a dynamic one: now it is time for society and culture to follow suit locally and globally. Each culture, discipline and person is incomplete and is in need of others in order to develop and evolve. This book sets out a curriculum for a new integral, trans-cultural and trans-disciplinary area of study, inclusive of, but extending beyond, economics and enterprise. It embraces a trans-personal perspective, linking self with community, enterprise and society, and focusing on the vital relationship between local identity and global integrity. For the government policy maker, the enlightened business practitioner, and the student and researcher into economics and enterprise, the new discipline is set out here in complete detail by a multi-national team of Gower's Transformation and Innovation Series authors. Illuminated with examples relating the conceptual to the practical, this is a text, not for a pre-modern, modern, or even post-modern era, but for what has been called our trans-modern age.
If we’ve done our job well—and, let’s be honest, if we're lucky—you’ll read to the end of this description. Most likely, however, you won’t. Somewhere in the middle of the next paragraph, your mind will wander off. Minds wander. That’s just how it is. That may be bad news for me, but is it bad news for people in general? Does the fact that as much as fifty percent of our waking hours find us failing to focus on the task at hand represent a problem? Michael Corballis doesn’t think so, and with The Wandering Mind, he shows us why, rehabilitating woolgathering and revealing its incredibly useful effects. Drawing on the latest research from cognitive science and evolutionary biology, Corballis shows us how mind-wandering not only frees us from moment-to-moment drudgery, but also from the limitations of our immediate selves. Mind-wandering strengthens our imagination, fueling the flights of invention, storytelling, and empathy that underlie our shared humanity; furthermore, he explains, our tendency to wander back and forth through the timeline of our lives is fundamental to our very sense of ourselves as coherent, continuing personalities. Full of unusual examples and surprising discoveries, The Wandering Mind mounts a vigorous defense of inattention—even as it never fails to hold the reader’s.