We are of Two Minds

Have you ever felt something unusual? Perhaps it stated as an uncertain feeling or a flicker of awareness on the edge of your peripheral vision.

In our earlier post Spirituality and the Brain – Lectures in Neurotheology, we introduced our readers to a lecture series by behavioral neural scientist Todd Murphy explaining how spiritual awareness and paranormal ability is expressed through the human brain.

Here we present Iain McGilchrist who is a psychiatrist and author of the book The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World. This book explains two of our brain’s primary functions – one occurring in the left hemisphere and  the other in the right.

Our left hemisphere is technical, looks at detail, and is vocal. It’s the place where “bureaucracy flourishes.” This hemisphere reflects back on itself and can get caught up looking at what it knows about what it knows.

The right has no voice, looks to the broader context we find ourselves in, and deals with abstract thought

The differing world views of the right and left brain (the “Master” and “emissary” in the title, respectively) have, according to the author, shaped Western culture since the time of the ancient Greek philosopher Plato, and the growing conflict between these views has implications for the way the modern world is changing. – Wikipedia

McGilchrist presents the argument that beginning with the rise of Greek philosophy, our culture has become rooted in the study of details – observing “what” at the cost of “how.” And the cost is becoming dear.

Here in the first of two videos is an entertaining animation by the RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts) which summarizes a presentation given in 2011.


A more complete presentation from TVO published on October 26, 2012 is below.


Now the next time you have one of those tingles, you’ll know your right hemisphere is pointing out something in the larger environment. Ask the left to tell you about it.


Jeffrey A. Limpert








Image Information:

The Divided Brain



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