My right brain is upset with my left brain

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.

Gavin_Animated-GifGavn 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.

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  1. Mark Giltsoff | September 8, 2012 at 8:05 am


    Something funny with the link, it is not working for some reason

    Looking forward to reading this article in particular


    Mark Giltsoff


    Sent from my iPad

    • Gavin | September 8, 2012 at 8:11 am

      Mark – it got posted by accident and wasn’t completely finished, it won’t be posted till next week…

  2. Allison Wright | September 16, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    I am not so upset, although I do realise that I should be, because I too, shall have to rethink everything. At least itt serves to explain that being a left-handed translator is not so odd after all. :)

  3. Waywardspirit | September 18, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    I like my world remixed. : ) Yummy. Thanks.

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