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Iain McGilchrist's book 'The Master and his Emissary' was a sensation. In it he drew a clear and compelling story of how the history of the western world was best viewed as a gradual takeover by the rational, logical left side of the brain, eclipsing the more holistic right brain. 'Jordan Peterson and I', Iain McGilchrist (Part 2 of 2)

CarrenTracey 6 Apr 7

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Thanks very much. Ian McG is such an interesting chap.


The actual conversation between him and Peterson is required here:


Pure Democracy is pure chaos. I see Representative Republic as harnessed chaos. Many people find the chaos of the US unsettling. So Iain McGilchrist's statement that order has taken over the West makes no sense to me. And as an engineer, I find his comment that turbulence is of value as creative, only of limited value as viewing entropy - the tendency of all systems to fall into chaos from order, and creativity, which is actually finding a pattern serendipitously in the chaos, as the same.

The fact that he states that we know very little is excellent, but then he fails to mention the profound difference between the religions, and actually states preference for the mystical, it struck me that he seems to be actually seeking chaos, and turning away from valid answers. It makes me wonder if he would rather throw out the "baby with the bathwater" no matter how much we might value the baby.

I wonder if he is uncomfortable with the similarity between his description of the Tao I Ching that describes how looking at something changes it, and the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle.

"The Universe is not only stranger than we think, it is stranger than we can think." - Heisenberg. Is it his sense of this which he actually finds inspirational?

Can you reread that last sentence and find another way of expressing it? I simply can't make a meaning from it.

@govols. Sorry. How about: Does McGilchrist find it inspirational that we are not capable of understanding the Universe? Better?

@TimTuolomne, conflict of context. I was talking about the first paragraph, which was all I was seeing in the post to which I replied.

@govols. Ah, sorry. He said he finds value in chaos. I am a so-called right brain individual, and I do not find order in chaos. I find it pretty sometimes, and sometimes can see a useful pattern for exploration into some kind of meaning. that is the limited value I see. I am not sure if that is agreement with him. Is that clearer?

@TimTuolomne, Yes, very much so. Thanks.

Do we both understand right brain to be the one that's watching out for things that are out of place? The left brain incorporates and integrates the out of place into updated "version" of worldview 1.x? Something like that?

@govols. We agree, but McGilchrist said the right brain is "open to all possibilities" while the left only understands order. I guess we both understand right/left brain differently than does McGilchrist.

@TimTuolomne, I think you (or I) misunderstand his project. I think what he's after is the "unitary mind." He's using the brain as a way of looking at broader culture. There some process in the right brain of noticing anomalies, and accumulating them, but not for actually aggregating them into new Truth. The left brain is always ONLY the current version of the operating system. He's trying to figure out where the new code is generated...??????? once the anomalies accumulate into a big Blue Screen of Death...sort of like we're currently facing culturally in present era.

@govols, It appears that I am not seeing what you do see. In Isaac Asimov's trilogy "Foundation," there was an evolution into a greater way of thinking. I've always thought of that as fantasy; a way of being hopeful about our limited ability to perceive the Universe. I am guessing you and McGilchrist think there are actual possibilities for humans.


I'm not agreeing with him. I think he's saying that the current culture is a left-brained one with a rigid model of the world. There is a right brained bunch of people on both the left and the right who are seeing anomalies--maybe not the same ones, nor offering the same solutions--but the left-brained cultural structure can't even be bother to hear of the problems. Eric Weinstein calls it the "Distributed Information Suppression Complex" and says that it's academics and policy-makers defending long and strongly held beliefs that, if allowed to be perturbed, would ruin systemic credibility and careers.

Asimov predicted that the "Madness of Crowds" could be calculated, and a well hidden "Deep State" could manage the madness toward the benefit of all, but to the particular benefit of the managers. Especially if the "Management" had a long enough memory--a"Tradition" of keeping and eye on the ball, if you will.

@CarrenTracey. Eloquently said. Even though I am supposedly right brain dominant, or maybe because I am, I don't really see the West as left brain dominated. Freud said we often only project ourselves into others. Perhaps I am blind that way.

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