While attending a seminar on neuroscience and learning, the most attention-grabbing moment came when our presenter shared this RAC film by Iaian McGilchrist, “The Divided Brain.” Through a series of animated sketches, McGilchrist postulates that the gift of the right brain has been overlooked and undervalued in modern society in favor of the usefulness of the left. He maintains that both are essential of course, but explores the esoteric value of the right brain in this discussion of neuroscience through history.
Here is TED’s summary:
Psychiatrist Iain McGilchrist describes the real differences between the left and right halves of the human brain. It’s not simply “emotion on the right, reason on the left,” but something far more complex and interesting. (A Best of the Web talk from RSA Animate.)
Why You Should Listen
Iain McGilchrist is a psychiatrist and writer. Before he came to medicine, he was a literary scholar — and his work on the brain is shaped by a deep questioning of the role of art and culture. As his official bio puts it: “He is committed to the idea that the mind and brain can be understood only by seeing them in the broadest possible context, that of the whole of our physical and spiritual existence, and of the wider human culture in which they arise — the culture which helps to mould, and in turn is moulded by, our minds and brains.”
His recent book The Master and His Emissary explores the nature of the brain’s two hemispheres (the right is the “master,” in McGilchrist’s terms). How have our two hemispheres evolved to relate — and how did their relationship create our consciousness, our culture, and our ability to understand our own brains?
The RSA Animation is so superb as to be perhaps too good. The illustrations contain more information than can be read as the images flash by and develop. While I may not have been able to digest everything upon first viewing, I was intrigued enough to watch it again later and was further assured of this film’s intellectual prowess and ingenuity. Wow! There’s more content to dissect still in my head, but I’m confident after viewing this, that my hemispheres can likely handle it.
Without further ado, please enjoy “The Divided Brain”:
What questions does it prompt in you? Clarification needed?
I told you it was cool…