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Western civilization and the divided brain

In his 2009 book The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World,  psychiatrist, doctor, writer, and former Oxford literary scholar Iain McGilchrist mounts a fascinating argument for the idea “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.” The first part of the book examines the structure and function of the brain to elicit the differences between the left and right hemispheres, and to show them “as no mere machines with functions, but underwriting whole, self-consistent, versions of the world.” The second part examines the record of Western philosophy, art, and literature to reveal “the uneasy relationship of the hemispheres being played out in the history of ideas, from ancient times until the present. It ends by suggesting that we may be about to witness the final triumph of the left hemisphere — at the expense of us all.”

In more detail, here’s McGilchrist explaining his basic idea in an excellent 2010 interview for The Morning News:
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