A tale of two hemispheresThe 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. The Master and His Emissary received mostly favourable reviews upon its publication. Critics praised the book as being a landmark publication that could alter readers' perspective of how they viewed the world; A. Grayling , however, commented about the book that "the findings of brain science are nowhere near fine-grained enough yet to support the large psychological and cultural conclusions Iain McGilchrist draws". McGilchrist states: "What I began to see — and it was John Cutting's work on the right hemisphere that set me thinking — was that the difference lay not in what they [the two hemispheres] do, but how they do it.
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A tale of two hemispheres
I was not asked to write this review; I asked to be allowed to. I ordered my copy immediately after reading Mary Midgley's review 1 in the Guardian and waited impatiently for it to arrive. When it did, I read it in every spare moment I had, and a lot I hadn't, ending up with underlinings and sometimes manic exclamation marks pencilled onto almost every page: in all, not including another of small-print notes and references. In other words, it makes at least an attempt to stop the excitement of first reading being grabbed and ossified by my left hemisphere. Iain McGilchrist's qualifications for his massive undertaking are ideal, perhaps unique. Nor does he duck the limitations of these techniques. He notes therefore, among numerous surprising discoveries, that the great majority of inter-hemispheric connections in the corpus callosum are inhibitory.
Skip to search form Skip to main content. McGilchrist Published Ian McGilchrist oversees the long process from studying English literature to going to medical school and becoming a psychiatrist that led to him concieving and writing 'The Master and His Emissary'. View PDF. Save to Library. Create Alert. Share This Paper.
McGilchrist argues that the driving force in cultural history lies not in institutions or ideas but in the human brain—specifically in the struggle for supremacy between the right and left hemispheres, which have fundamentally different ways of apprehending and engaging the world. This requires less of a willfully directed, narrowly focused attention, and more of an open, receptive, widely diffused alertness to whatever exists, with allegiances outside of the self The two approaches to the world can interfere with each another.
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ISBN: Paper. It tells a story you need to hear, of where we live now. McGilchrist, who is both an experienced psychiatrist and a shrewd philosopher, looks at the relation between our two brain-hemispheres in a new light, not just as an interesting neurological problem but as a crucial shaping factor in our culture. I couldn't put it down. Iain McGilchrist is a former fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, where he taught literature before training in medicine. He was consultant psychiatrist and clinical director at the Bethlem Royal and Maudsley Hospital, London, and has researched in neuroimaging at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore. He now works privately in London and otherwise lives on the Isle of Skye.
Amazon US. Amazon UK. This book argues that the division of the brain into two hemispheres is essential to human existence, making possible incompatible versions of the world, with quite different priorities and values. Most scientists long ago abandoned the attempt to understand why nature has so carefully segregated the hemispheres, or how to make coherent the large, and expanding, body of evidence about their differences. In fact to talk about the topic is to invite dismissal. But, like the brain itself, the relationship between the hemispheres is not symmetrical.