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Alexandra Bruce

Popular psychologists in the 1960s loved to talk about the properties of the Left Brain and of the Right Brain. But as new science emerged that told a more complex story, the topic of the Divided Brain became less easy to discuss and thus fell out of popularity.

So says Iain McGilchrist, who wants to revive this conversation to share what is vital to our understanding, for he says that like most civilizations of the past, ours has become dangerously defined by the perceptions of Left Brain.

He says, “I’m not against whatever it is that the left hemisphere has to offer…Nobody could be more passionate about language and about reason – it’s just that I’m even more passionate about the right hemisphere and the need to *return* what that knows to a broader context. It turns out that Einstein’s thinking somehow presaged this thing about the structure of the brain. He said, ‘The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant but has forgotten the gift.'”


Uploaded by theRSAorg
October 21, 2011

Renowned psychiatrist and writer Iain McGilchrist explains how our ‘divided brain’ has profoundly altered human behaviour, culture and society. Taken from a lecture given by Iain McGilchrist as part of the RSA’s free public events programme. To view the full lecture, go to

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