As a new year begins we would like to extend our best wishes to you for 2021 and hope you had an enjoyable Christmas and New Year, despite the change to our usual circumstances. Dr Iain McGilchrist has a very busy January ahead with upcoming podcasts and discussions as well as continuing to release the Daily Poetry Readings.
In this edition of the newsletter we have an update about the discussion with Sam Harris, news about a conversation planned for this month with actor and comedian, John Cleese, last year’s event with the Arthur Conan Doyle Centre, a free event with Rupert Read, Mark Vernon’s article on William Blake, and The Divided Brain film and unseen footage.
Dr Iain McGilchrist and Sam Harris Discussion – rescheduled for end of January 2021
The discussion with Dr Iain McGilchrist and Sam Harris has been rescheduled for the end of January. Sam Harris’ work touches on a wide range of topics, including rationality, religion, ethics, free will, neuroscience, meditation, psychedelics, philosophy of mind, politics, terrorism, and artificial intelligence. The discussion will be released on Sam Harris’ podcast series Waking Up and Making Sense in February. We will keep you posted about this.
Dr Iain McGilchrist in conversation with John Cleese, January 2021
We are delighted to announce that later this month, Dr McGilchrist will be in conversation with actor, comedian, screenwriter and producer, John Cleese via Zoom. John has expressed his support and praise of Dr McGilchrist’s work many times, and has named The Master and His Emissary as the best book he has ever read. This promises to be a riveting, wise and humorous discussion and we will be sharing it through Dr Iain McGilchrist’s YouTube channel, via Channel McGilchrist and via the newsletter.
Dr Iain McGilchrist’s The School of Nothing Buttery with the Arthur Conan Doyle Centre
Last year you may remember that Professor Lance Butler of the Arthur Conan Doyle Centre in Edinburgh, hosted an online event with Dr McGilchrist. This has recently been released on YouTube and is available to watch. In this event, Dr McGilchrist explores the current reductionist view in some areas of science and philosophy and how this approach to the world has had far reaching damaging effects. He writes, ‘There is a strong reductionist element in popular science and some brands of philosophy which presents itself as speaking for science and the thinking person. It doesn’t. As a mode of approach to the world it is severely limited, enabling us to exploit the world while putting us in a poor position to understand what it is we are in the process of destroying. This take on the world is in fact the product of being blind to what the more intelligent and insightful part of our mind and brain is able to tell us.’ You can watch it here.
Free Event – Symposium with Rupert Read, Dr Iain McGilchrist and Katherine Morris via Zoom
Wednesday 13th January 2021, 5-7pm UK time
Join Professor Rupert Read for a Symposium on his new book, Wittgenstein’s Liberatory Philosophy. Katherine Morris and Dr McGilchrist will be speaking alongside him on the book. This will take place on Wednesday 13 January 2021, 5-7pm UK time, and you can join via this Zoom link.
In his book, endorsed by Dr McGilchrist, Rupert Read offers the first outline of a resolute reading, following the highly influential New Wittgenstein ‘school’, of the Philosophical Investigations. He argues that the key to understanding Wittgenstein’s later philosophy is to understand its liberatory purport.
Read contends that a resolute reading coincides in its fundaments with what, building on ideas in the later Gordon Baker, he calls a liberatory reading. Liberatory philosophy is philosophy that can liberate the user from compulsive (and destructive) patterns of thought, freeing one for possibilities that were previously obscured. Such liberation is our prime goal in philosophy. You can purchase Rupert Read’s book and find out more about it here.
New in Free Articles – The four-fold imagination: what we can learn from William Blake’s visionary imagination by Mark Vernon
Mark Vernon is a psychotherapist and writer, and works with the research group, Perspectiva. He has a PhD in ancient Greek philosophy, and degrees in theology and physics. His latest book is A Secret History of Christianity: Jesus, the Last Inkling, and the Evolution of Consciousness (2019). He lives in London. Read his introduction for his full article published on Aeon below:
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.
Blake charted the various mental states that an individual and society may experience as they navigate a pathway through these layers of imaginative perception. And as McGilchrist also stresses, the imagination is the key faculty: it is required for science, art and religion to reveal reality to us because, whilst the imagination can certainly be in error and may also be merely fantastical, it engages with the “minute particulars” of life, as Blake put it, which McGilchrist calls the “thisness” of things. This is crucial for the expansive awareness that the right and left hemispheres, in proper relation, can foster. Read more here.
The Divided Brain film and unseen footage
Vanessa Dylyn’s film, The Divided Brain, is described as the mind-altering documentary inspired by the book, The Master and his Emissary. It features Iain McGilchrist with John Cleese, neuroanatomist Dr Jill Bolte Taylor of TED Talks fame, pioneering neuroscientist Dr Michael Gazzaniga, Professor Louis Sass, former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, neuroscientist Jurg Kesselring, Aboriginal elder and scientist Dr Leroy Little Bear, neuroscientist Onur Gunturkun, and – brains!
If you haven’t already watched this brilliant documentary, you can do so here. Channel McGilchrist is also grateful to have acquired the unseen footage from The Divided Brain, not possible to include in the final cut, and which is available in the membership area of Channel McGilchrist. The fascinating conversations between Dr McGilchrist and the film’s director, Manfred Becker have taken the form of eleven short films which include: Peoples’ responses to The Master and His Emissary – and how it has changed Iain too; Iain reflecting on his childhood and early education; Skye and archetypal landscape; On the human brain, the body, consciousness, matter. For more information about the Member’s Area of Channel McGilchrist and to watch these shorter clips, click here.
Daily Poetry Readings
Dr McGilchrist continues to record the Daily Poetry Readings released on the YouTube Channel. If you haven’t already subscribed, you can do so here and select to be notified when a new video is released.
With very best wishes
The Team at Channel McGilchrist