The divided brain and human behaviour

Dr Iain McGilchrist explores how the dominance of the left hemisphere over the right in our brain predisposes our culture to a particular way of being.

Because of the left hemisphere’s tendency to experience in specific and segregated parts rather than in whole and complex patterns, it perceives itself as separate and distinct from nature. The comprehensive insights and awareness of the right hemisphere have been displaced by a narrow thinking that is methodical, pragmatic and rigid. What makes us truly happy is in fact the reciprocal relationship between ourselves and one another, ourselves and the world – something the right hemisphere alone understands, since it is the ground of empathy and interconnectedness, where the left hemisphere is concerned with manipulation and sees the world atomistically.

McGilchrist shows how this manipulative and atomistic way of thinking is fundamentally unbalanced and unhealthy and lies at the root of climate destruction.


Dr Iain McGilchrist

Iain McGilchrist is a psychiatrist and writer. 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. Iain is interested in a wide range of psychiatric conditions, including depression, psychosis, personality disorders (especially borderline personality disorder), anxiety disorders, chronic low self-esteem, phobias, alcohol and drug abuse, as well as neuropsychiatry.

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