“‘Belonging’ comes from the same Old English word langian which forms the root of ‘longing’. It means a sense of powerful emotional attachment to ‘my place’, where I am ‘at home’, and implies a sense of permanence.” – Dr Iain McGilchrist
In the last couple of weeks we have seen the emergence of new conversations surrounding the post-Covid world. Dr McGilchrist took part in BBC’s The Arts Hour as well as a panel discussion with Forecast, both looking at the importance of the arts and nature. We would also like to draw your attention to a recent article in The Spectator.
Acclaimed theatre director and actor Simon McBurney explores our fragmentation from nature and ourselves and the role arts, culture and storytelling can play in reuniting us. During this time of Covid-19, we are unable to meet and share experiences. We communicate now on screens and live more in isolation. However this removal from community and from nature has been happening in the West, not just during this pandemic, but for centuries. So is now the time to reflect on those relationships and rethink our place on the planet? Joining Simon to discuss these issues are the award winning journalist and author Naomi Klein. Colleen Echohawk, Executive director of the Chief Seattle Club, an organisation which helps the indigenous homeless of that city. Psychiatrist and thinker Dr Iain McGilchrist, who explains why he feels we’ve become more reliant on the left side of our brains and why that’s not a good thing. Writer, art historian and filmmaker Nana Oforiatta Ayim on listening to the land in Ghana. Actor and activist Fehinti Balogun tells us why theatre is the perfect place to highlight issues including climate change. And filmmaker Takumã Kuikuro who explains why storytelling begins and ends with nature. You can listen here via BBC Sounds.
What will our view of nature bring to the future? How will our relationship with nature shape our future?
This discussion explores the relationships that humans have with nature – a relationship that many see as broken and at the root of some of our greatest problems.
What changes in how we see the natural world could lead to a brighter future?
Rather than seeing ourselves as separate from nature, might we see ourselves as a part of it – changing how we see non-human animals and our relationship to the natural world?
Can we move forward positively from the COVID-19 pandemic and act to reduce future risks?
What can we learn from the indigenous communities that have lived in harmony with nature rather than tried to conquer it?
Milka Chepkorir, advocate for indigenous land rights from the Sengwer community.
Danielle Celermajer, Professor in the Department of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Sydney, and author of Summertime: Reflections on a Vanishing Future
Dr. Iain McGilchrist, a psychiatrist, Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, and author of The Master and his Emissary
Usman Haque, artist-architect and founding partner and creative director at Umbrellium.
Hosted by: Jessica Sweidan, founder of Synchronicity Earth and Patron of Nature for the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
The Spectator – What does science say about souls? – By Simon Evans
Until the mid 19th Century, most of us believed that we had a soul. It was what separated us from the animals. This belief could be modified to accommodate slavery, Malthusian economics and to allow dogs into Heaven, but the principle was pretty stable.
A hundred years later, thanks largely to Darwin, and innovations such as quantum mechanics and Auschwitz, such a view seemed childlike, romantic, or in the case of the Clergy, downright dogged. The ‘soul’ became just another invention of the under-informed, over-excited primitive imagination, like faeries, Valhalla and insidious whispering serpents. We have Science now.
Yet ask a scientist to explain consciousness, the thing it feels like to be, the is-ness of us – the approved proxy for the soul – and it quickly becomes apparent that the problem has been shelved, rather than solved…
The Master and his Emissary ponders the asymmetric brain – but maps out a considerably more nuanced and evolved picture than the ‘Right brain is artistic and in touch with its feelings, Left brain is all literal, uptight and linear’ stuff of popular fudge. And it uses the issue to frame a fantastically deep, historical and wide-ranging view of human potential. Read the full article here.
Thank you for reading,
The Team at Channel McGilchrist