Articles

Interesting and relevant articles by other authors past and present selected by Dr Iain McGilchrist.

Insights from ‘The Matter With Things’

Insights from ‘The Matter With Things’

Why is this worth your time? Regular readers will be aware that I think Dr. Iain McGilchrist is one of the most consequential minds of our times. Last month he published a monster 1,400 page book, The Matter With Things. It’s his masterpiece, and an attempt to comprehensively expand on a thesis that has changed my life. I had the privilege of interviewing him last week.

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Adam Smith on Self-Deceit

Adam Smith on Self-Deceit

Daniel B. Klein December 7, 2021This essay originally appeared at Adam Smith Works. The University of Virginia Center for Politics, led by Larry Sabato, provides polling results that show deep social, political, and psychological divides between Biden voters and Trump...

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Falling Into The Song Of Gaia

Falling Into The Song Of Gaia

Enchantment is essentially an experience of wonder, and like the experience itself, the subject is hard to pin down. So think of this essay instead as a wander through one corner of it, with glimpses farther afield.

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Tocqueville’s Dystopias: The Bad And The Very Bad

Tocqueville’s Dystopias: The Bad And The Very Bad

Daniel B. Klein September 6, 2021[A version of this piece appeared originally at City Journal.]     Alexis de Tocqueville   “The entire book that you are going to read,” wrote Alexis de Tocqueville in the Introduction of Democracy in America, Volume One...

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Adeline

Adeline

She was born in August 1915, in Roquefort la Bédoule in the south of France. She died this morning. Adeline Blanc was my adopted grandmother.

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Begotten Not Made

Begotten Not Made

I was pleased to find that the Oxford philosopher JR Lucas was a fan of The Master and his Emissary, and he sent me a number of his papers over the years. Most are still accessible but this gem was possibly never published. Before he died I asked if I could quote from it in my […]

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Economics In Nouns And Verbs

Economics In Nouns And Verbs

Science proceeds as much by its instruments-its technologies-as it does by human thought. In early January 1610, when Galileo directed his telescope at the heavens he found to his astonishment that Jupiter had four companion “stars” (whichafter several nights he realized were moons circling Jupiter), and the Moon itself had mountains and valleys. This went against the long-accepted truths that all heavenly bodies circled the earth (or the sun), and that all were perfect. Instruments in science probe, they reveal, they occasionally surprise, and they illuminate. They become means of understanding.

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The Matrix Of The Emissary

The Matrix Of The Emissary

Several years ago, while a family member was struggling with mental illness, I was introduced to the intriguing idea of ‘right brain to right brain’ therapy. Deciding I should learn more, I searched Amazon for books about ‘right brain therapy’ and was duly recommended The Master and His Emissary…

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Will The Whales Inherit The Earth?

Will The Whales Inherit The Earth?

How can we resist the sixth mass extinction in our imaginations? What kind of cultural shift does it take? In this latest post for The Vanishing series, Rupert Read considers the future of human societies, following in the wake of whales. With artworks by Angela Cockayne.

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‘Notes On The Death Of Culture’ By The Philosopher William Earle

‘Notes On The Death Of Culture’ By The Philosopher William Earle

William Earle: ‘Notes on the Death of Culture’, in MR Stein, AJ Vidich & DM White (eds), Identity and Anxiety, Free Press of Glencoe, 1960, 367-383 In General The culture of the western world has for some time been under diagnosis as though it were a patient sick with an unknown disease. The doctors are […]

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The four-fold imagination: what we can learn from William Blake’s visionary imagination

The four-fold imagination: what we can learn from William Blake’s visionary imagination

In The Master and His Emissary, Iain McGilchrist stresses the central dynamic that lies behind the images and poetry of William Blake. It can be seen even in the titles of Blake’s works, such as The Marriage of Heaven and Hell and Songs of Innocence and Experience. The titles “allude to the reality that, in the lived world of the right hemisphere, opposites are not ‘in opposition’.” Instead, these “contraries”, to use Blake’s word, create the tension needed to open onto deeper levels of consciousness.

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The Meaning Of Depth And Breadth In Education

The Meaning Of Depth And Breadth In Education

This image is used by Iain McGilchrist in his discussion of depth. On Plate 7 in his book, The Master and His Emissary, he writes: Here light, colour and texture of the stone surfaces all emphasise the depth of perspective in both time and space, drawing us into felt relationship with the world.

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Think Spiral: The Divided Brain And Classical Liberalism

Think Spiral: The Divided Brain And Classical Liberalism

This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article to be published in Society. The final authenticated version is available online here. Iain McGilchrist richly explains the right and left hemispheres of the brain, how each functions and what each tends to do. This paper serves, firstly, as a primer to McGilchrist’s fascinating exposition. Second, it offers a […]

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Docere, Delectare, Movere

Docere, Delectare, Movere

Dr Angela Voss has been involved in devising and teaching Masters programmes for Kent University and CCCU in the UK for the last fifteen years and she is a co-founder of the newly launched Centre for Myth, Cosmology and the Sacred. This piece is reproduced from the book, Re-enchanting the Academy, by kind permission of Rubedo Press.

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The Divided Brain And Religion: Left Brain Angels And Right Brain Gods

The Divided Brain And Religion: Left Brain Angels And Right Brain Gods

Why do we think of our own brains, our own beings, as machines? As McGilchrist compellingly suggests in his groundbreaking work on the hemispheres, “the whole problem is that we are obsessed, because of what I argue is our affiliation to left-hemisphere modes of thought, with ‘what’ the brain does rather than the ‘how’ – ‘the manner in which’, something no one ever asked a machine.”

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Freud And The Divided Brain: The Therapy Of Attention

Freud And The Divided Brain: The Therapy Of Attention

Central to McGilchrist’s exploration of the difference between the hemispheres is the notion of attention. As he suggests, “attention is not just another ‘function’ alongside other cognitive functions”. Rather, the kind of attention we bring to bear on the world actually alters the nature of the world we attend to: “Attention changes what kind of a thing comes into being for us: in that way it changes the world”

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Crossing The STEM Divide

Crossing The STEM Divide

Thinking hard about soft skills and how they’re developed. This is a guest post, originally published at the American Enterprise Institute by Brent Orrell.

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How Puritanism Works

How Puritanism Works

We have had here this night past a marvellous stir, – all the churches, chapels and houses of religion utterly defaced, and no kind of things left whole within them, but broken and utterly destroyed; being done after such order and with so few folks that it is to be...

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Attention Is Not A Resource But A Way Of Being Alive To The World

Attention Is Not A Resource But A Way Of Being Alive To The World

This article was originally published at Aeon. Dan Nixon is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in The Sunday Times, The Economist and The Guardian, among others. He also leads Perspectiva’s initiative into the workings of the attention economy and is a senior researcher at The Mindfulness Initiative. He lives in London. ‘We are […]

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