Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Iain McGilchrist's The Divided Brain & the Search forMeaning

This book that sells for $1.50 as a Kindle book is a real deal. It's a shorter considertion of the issues addressed in McGilchrist's The Master & His Emissary

But wait, before doing forward with any review, if you haven't done so already, you should review the RSA that I'd done a short while ago but forgot to post. (It is now the post immediately preceding this one.) The short Youtube piece provides a concise overview of what this book and M&C go into. 

How important is this stuff? Incredibly so, I think. It takes us beyond the old left brain-right brain dichotomy for beginners, but more importantly, it shows us how the human brain evolved to serve two different types of needs. One focused and manipulative, the other broadly focused and in search of understanding. The revolutions occuring in neuroscience provide us with new insights into our human condition and how and why we act as we do, for good & ill. McGilchrist sees a woeful imbalance in Western thinking, which, from other sources, I would trace back to Descartes at least, but perhaps we should go back as far as the Greek rationalists. In any event, this book is a quick overview of McGilchrist's important thinking on this crucial project. I highly recommend it.  

Better Than TED Talks? RSAnimate & The Divided Brain

Two topics here:

1. Is RSAnimate better than TED talks? Of course, it's not a contest, but this type of presentation I find very lively & engaging. The visual (a skill that I deeply admire, probably because of my lack of talent) really adds to the presentation without dumbing-down the presentation.

2. The brain & neuroscience research is a fascinating topic & one that continues to grow and give us insight. The idea--a flawed one I believe--that divides Reason & Passion goes back at least to Plato in the West, with a big boost from Descartes along the way. But while it has some metaphorical value, taken too literally it's false. This view, better than the old Left Brain-Right Brain exact division of function, gives us a new view of ourselves that should prove very useful and practical.

Found courtesy of a Jonathan Haidt Tweet.