Where Next with Iain McGilchrist?

I’ve been a fan of Iain’s since his “The Master and His Emissary” (in 2011) and meeting him at How The Light Gets In (in 2014). Weirdly I never actually wrote a review of TMAHE despite frequently referring to his thesis throughout that period until the very useful RSA video summary was created (in 2012). (And there is a full length film of “The Divided Brain”.)

Later when “The Matter With Things” came out (in 2021) there was much more public excitement, not just the book itself, but discussion groups (official and unofficial), and a regular string of speaking (podcast) engagements for Iain, which continues to this day.

What regularly amazes is me is how few of his interviewers have actually read (the whole of) TMWT and yet already feel an affinity with their own agendas. Many have maybe only seen the RSA Animation and not even read TMAHE either? They always start with the obligatory – “Why don’t you give us the elevator pitch version of your thesis, Iain?” So we have many versions of that.

Despite / except for the efforts of Perspectiva, the publishers of TMWT, to host creative sessions – “attention as a moral act” & “the McGilchrist manoeuvre” for example – so few activities around Iain’s work get to the so what … should we doing differently in the wider real world? Simply lots of reinforcement of Iain’s problem description converging with the agendas and analyses of so many others. #NothingNewUnderTheSun as I often disparagingly remark – this is ancient wisdom backed by modern neuroscience. We know already – but so what – is the frustration. Mine anyway.

This latest podcast from Nate Hagans is no different. I haven’t captured many others in the past year or so, for the reasons above, but it serves to illustrate the genre – illustration, notice, not a recommendation.

[Hold that thought – If I had to guess, I’d say it’s the sacred / god bit that has stalled things. There’s an American religious conservatism that is simply comfortable with the fit between their religious sensitivities – a magisterium – and a distinct, otherwise scientific, worldview. I still see natural philosophy unifying the whole, with the magisteria simply being views. Stalled because generally  scientists without that religious or theological sensibility are steering clear of the so-what.]

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.