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The Master and his Emissary
October 21, 2013

I talked last week about zooming In and zooming out and that we can see that our capacity to understand and act should be based on a processing that embraces both. Iain McGilchrist has written about this in a dense closely argued big book with the title of this newsletter. He is referring to the left and right hemispheres of the brain – and has some exciting insights. We do need to separate out functions he says as we attend to what is out there in order to comprehend and act.

So, the left hemisphere zooms in to deal with the detail of a task and event while the right hemisphere can see a much bigger picture and put the particular into a context. And of course we need context to make sense of the detail and so McGilchrist argues that it should be that the right side is the master and the left is the emissary.

That while the left is too keen to categorise and theorise the right side can embed what is there into its specialness and the expanded consciousness. That we have to make sense of the flow and movement of our lives and so we can never hope to categorise and theorise usefully.

And what is a significant conclusion that McGilchrist draws? That the world we have created is a left brain dominated world. This is a world of two dimensions – problem and solution, blame and protection, right and wrong, legal and illegal. Our world sets sequences and attempts to mechanise everything we do. It is about believing the impossible – that we can prepare for and so deal with all future possibilities. We live in a world “which cannot trust and is given to paranoia”. Security is everything and so we give up our power to the purist form of left brain organism there is – which is government.

best wishes

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Andrew Richardson

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