TED Conversations

Allan Macdougall


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Is the divided structure of the human brain analogous to a divided society?

Iain McGilchrist tells us that the mediating/inhibiting influence of the corpus collsum between the two brain hemispheres has become weakened, allowing the logical, linear left to dominate over the sensory, panoramic nature of the right.

Jill Bolte-Taylor's talk also testifies to the distinctly separate characteristics of the brain hemispheres.

Given that the main role of the corpus collosum is to 'inhibit' and to prevent the dominance of one hemisphere over the other, it would seem to be an acknowledgement that we have needed to evolve this way - to be divided. Why is this?

It would also seem that in the absence of a strong mediating influence, it is the logical, scientific left brain that dominates the right. McGilchrist asserts that it should be the other way around - that the right brain should take the leading role and the left should be its 'servant' (hence the title of his excellent book, "The Master and his Emissary"). Would you agree?

Is it too bold a statement to say that an unmediated, divided brain is mirrored in an unmediated, divided society?


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    Nov 6 2011: what she says i think in a few words is that the left hemisphere is the logical one and the right has to do with our feelings and our social behaviour.So,as for the rich people,most of them propably have no real friends because of their love to the money and their status which they gained using their left hemisphere.As for the poor,most of them feel compassion about every one of us because they know the dark side of life,so they actually use their right hemisphere the most.That's my opinion on that interesting question.

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