In this RSA Animate, beautifully drawn by Andrew Park of Cognitive Media, I was upset to learn that the illusion I had labored under was false. The illusion in question? I (and you) have a right brain and a left brain. The right brain is visual and emotional, the left brain is rational and logical. When I read Dan Pink‘s book, a whole new mind, I bought in to the idea that if I could only get my right brain and left brain working together, I too could rule the future.
That division between left-brainers and right-brainers, according to Dr. Iain McGilchrist, author of The Master and His Emissary, The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World, simply doesn’t exist. My smug superiority — that on my good days I had both sides working vanished in a puff of smoke. Damn you McGilchrist.
Taken from a lecture given by Iain McGilchrist as part of the RSA’s free public events programme.
The bottom line is a lot more complicated than half my brain is creative and the other half is rational. Our left brain is for narrow, focused, attention to detail. It views the world through a mechanistic and concrete lens. Our right brain is for sustained, broad vigilance and connection, working in metaphor as a devil’s advocate. Meanwhile the frontal lobe manages it all, allows us empathy and gives us the ability to stand back and manipulate the world.
I liked his last words, quoting Einstein.
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 has forgotten the gift.
I’m still upset though.
Gavn is a founding partner at fassforward consulting group. He blogs about PowerPoint, Presenting, Communication and Message Discipline at makeapowerfulpoint.com. You can follow him on twitter @powerfulpoint.