Description : 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.
Description : Explores the differences between the brain's right and left hemispheres and argues that the brain's differing insights, values, and priorities have had profound effects on society, history, and culture.
Description : Why is the brain divided? The difference between right and left hemispheres has been puzzled over for centuries. In a book of unprecedented scope, Iain McGilchrist draws on a vast body of recent brain research, illustrated with case histories, to reveal that the difference is profound—not just this or that function, but two whole, coherent, but incompatible ways of experiencing the world. The left hemisphere is detail oriented, prefers mechanisms to living things, and is inclined to self-interest, where the right hemisphere has greater breadth, flexibility, and generosity. This division helps explain the origins of music and language, and casts new light on the history of philosophy, as well as on some mental illnesses. In the second part of the book, McGilchrist takes the reader on a journey through the history of Western culture, illustrating the tension between these two worlds as revealed in the thought and belief of thinkers and artists, from Aeschylus to Magritte. He argues that, despite its inferior grasp of reality, the left hemisphere is increasingly taking precedence in the modern world, with potentially disastrous consequences. This is truly a tour de force that should excite interest in a wide readership.
Description : 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.
Description : 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.
Description : 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.
Description : Meet the ninety year old doctor, who, with the aid of a few simple exercises, is still practising medicine. His is just one of the incredible stories brain expert Norman Doidge tells as he reveals our brain's remarkable ability to repair itself through the power of positive thought. In The Brain That Changes Itself Doidge introduces us to the fascinating stories at the cutting edge of the brain science and the emerging discipline of 'neuroplasticity' . We meet the stroke victim who unable to feed or dress himself learned to move and talk again, the woman with a rare brain condition that left her feeling as though she was perpetually falling but who through a series of exercises rewired her brain to overcome this and the maverick scientists over turning centuries of assumptions about the brain and it's capacity for renewal. Doidge shows how their incredible work is helping the blind to see, the deaf to hear and causing Nobel laureates to rethink our model of the brain. This remarkable book will leave you with a sense of wonder at the capabilities of the human brain and the power to change which lies within all of us.
Description : I’m being pulled in a thousand different directions. As a therapist, Chuck DeGroat hears that line all the time. “I hear it from students and software developers,” he says. “I hear it from spiritual leaders and coffee baristas. And I hear it from my own inner self.” We all feel that nasty pull to and fro, the frantic busyness that exhausts us and threatens to undo us. And we all think we know the solution — more downtime, more relaxation, more rest. And we’re all wrong. As DeGroat himself has discovered, the real solution to what pulls us apart is wholeheartedness, a way of living and being that can transform us from the inside out. And that’s what readers of this book will discover too.
Description : Stuart Walker’s design work has been described as life-changing, inspiring, disturbing and ferocious. Drawing on an extraordinarily diverse range of sources and informed by creative practice, Design for Life penetrates to the heart of modern culture and the malaise that underlies today’s moral and environmental crises. The author argues that this malaise is deep-seated and fundamental to the modern outlook. He shows how our preoccupation with technological progress, growth and the future has produced a constricted view of life – one that is both destructive and self-reinforcing. Based on over twenty-five years of scholarship and creative practice, he demonstrates the vital importance of solitude, contemplation, inner growth and the present moment in developing a different course – one that looks squarely at our current, precarious situation while offering a positive, hopeful way forward – a way that is compassionate, context-based, human scale, ethically motivated and critically creative. Design for Life is an intensely original contribution that will be essential reading for design practitioners and students. Written in a clear, accessible style, it will also appeal to a broader readership, especially anyone who is concerned with contemporary society’s rising inequalities and environmental failings and is looking for a more constructive, balanced and thoughtful direction.