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Jesse Phillips

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What TED Talks represent examples of the ideas expressed in Iain McGilchrist's talk: The divided brain?

Iain McGilchrist discusses the differences between the left and right hemisphere and explains that the left hemisphere yields power to manipulate things that are static, isolated and generally lifeless while the right hemisphere by contrast yields a world of individual, changing, evolving, interconnected, implicit, incarnate, living beings in the context of the living world.

McGilchrist reminds us of the wisdom from Einstein that “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant but forgets the gift.”

In what ways are we consumed by the how rather than the why? How can we foster a society focused more on the gift rather than the servant?

McGilChrist discusses the problem that has developed because of the overuse of the left hemisphere of our brains, that "We live in a world which is paradoxical, we pursue happiness and it leads to resentment, unhappiness, and an explosion of mental illness."

McGilChrist reminds us of the warning from de Tocqueville that, "Society will develop a new kind of servitude which covers the surface of society with a network of complicated rules, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate. It does not tyrannise but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd."

McGilchrist give us hope for the future by using our right hemispheres to focus on a broader context of the world: "If you can stand back and see that other individual is an individual like me who might have interests and values and feelings like mine then you can make a bond."

This discussion is to find examples of these ideas expressed by McGilchrist in other TED Talks, to establish a connection between great ideas for our better understanding of these ideas so that we connect better with each other.

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    Nov 16 2011: Without a doubt, it's this - http://www.ted.com/talks/jill_bolte_taylor_s_powerful_stroke_of_insight.html

    Truly a moving and inspiring talk!
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      Nov 16 2011: Sabine, great connection!

      Jill's talk brings up the same great points about our left hemisphere's concern for our own self apart from everyone else and our right hemisphere's focus on the experience and energy that surrounds us and connects us with each other—and what is more, how much we may benefit from stepping into the world of our right hemisphere:

      "And I pictured a world filled with beautiful, peaceful, compassionate, loving people who knew that they could come to this space at any time. And that they could purposely choose to step to the right of their left hemispheres and find this peace. And then I realized what a tremendous gift this experience could be, what a stroke of insight this could be to how we live our lives."

      "So who are we? We are the life-force power of the universe, with manual dexterity and two cognitive minds. And we have the power to choose, moment by moment, who and how we want to be in the world. Right here, right now, I can step into the consciousness of my right hemisphere, where we are. I am the life-force power of the universe. I am the life-force power of the 50 trillion beautiful molecular geniuses that make up my form, at one with all that is. Or, I can choose to step into the consciousness of my left hemisphere, where I become a single individual, a solid. Separate from the flow, separate from you. I am Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor: intellectual, neuroanatomist. These are the "we" inside of me. Which would you choose? Which do you choose? And when? I believe that the more time we spend choosing to run the deep inner-peace circuitry of our right hemispheres, the more peace we will project into the world, and the more peaceful our planet will be."

      Thanks for your contribution!
      -Jesse
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    Nov 14 2011: Hi Jesse. I wonder what you think about Michael Nielsen's talk, "Open Science Now!"?:

    http://www.ted.com/talks/michael_nielsen_open_science_now.html

    ...and the the notion that science seems closed and incestuous, as opposed to being wider, more panoramic and open to public scrutiny and input.

    What is perhaps more interesting are some of the direct responses to Nielsen's talk from the TED community, where phrases such as "the crackpot fringe" are used to describe amateur input into scientific ideas and the understandable fact of life that scientists need to make a living from what they do.

    The link to McGilchrist's talk I think is this: The left brain dominance in society in this context may derive from a fiercely guarded need to make a living (in any discipline, not just in science), rather than the intrinsic and wider value of the discipline itself. This may have the effect of focusing attention in on the particularities of ancillary side issues such as funding and professional reputation. (the 'Emissary' dominating the 'Master' yet again).
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      Nov 15 2011: Allan Macdougall, Great find!

      I think that the idea of open science is a great depiction of the problem that we are often more concerned with our own self, or worse some small static non-living object, rather than with how we should act in the context of the living world.

      I wonder how far this idea of open sharing of knowledge should extend. Should Apple be required to give away its latest technology so that all may benefit from better technology? Should the researches of medical cures be required to do the same so that all may benefit from better health? In what fields of knowledge is this idea of open source knowledge applicable? To what extent should knowledge be open sourced? At what point does sharing prohibit others from seeking answers themselves?

      If you look at the problem in the context of the greater good for the most people I think there might be a balance between what knowledge you should share for the benefit of all and when sharing becomes a problem for the greater good.

      A problem seems to occur when those who are best at discovering ideas to these problems do not benefit financially from their efforts, especially if this lack of reward leads them to stop solving these problems for the rest of us. But I agree with Aristotle that money should only be a means and not the end, I think if we focus on the work, in our ability to relate the work towards its best use in the context of the living world, as being the end we will be more prosperous in the long run.

      Do you think there is a limit on what should be shared? Do you know of any examples of sharing of ideas that lead to the greater prosperity for the creator of the ideas?
  • Dec 9 2011: Maybe it is an example how two parts of the brain should work together.
    http://www.ted.com/talks/aaron_o_connell_making_sense_of_a_visible_quantum_object.html
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      Dec 11 2011: Good find! Although I kind of lost the connection I think the speaker was trying to make about how we can develop both sides of our brain and be in two places at the same time. What do you think?
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    Nov 14 2011: Malcolm Gladwell's talk about the Norden bombsight is a good example that we often become too focused on the tools, too focused on objects that are "static, isolated and generally lifeless" and we fail to properly question how we should use these tools in the context of the complex world that we live in:

    "And this is the problem with our infatuation with the things we make. We think the things we make can solve our problems, but our problems are much more complex than that. The issue isn't the accuracy of the bombs you have, it's how you use the bombs you have, and more importantly, whether you ought to use bombs at all."

    What similarities do you see between Malcolm Gladwell's: The strange tale of the Norden bombsight and Iain McGilchrist's: The divided brain? talks?