Reply To: my letter to NYT

  • Jeff Verge

    February 21, 2023 at 4:29 am

    [EDIT 20 / 2 / 23]: Two months on, still thinking about context. Above all and beneath it all, I feel it is important that Dr. McGilchrist’s discovery becomes too well known to be brushed aside by this or that vested interest. I haven’t cancelled my NYT subscription yet, so I scan both for evidence that the theory is being considered (not so much, alas), and for conventional wisdom mapping errors (possibly less so than before, one can hope).

    Some thoughts:

    If you doubt that the “rational” western world would deliberately bury Dr. McGilchrist’s beautiful and rigourously documented discovery, Adam Curtis makes plain why it most certainly will if we let it: (EDIT: Or you may prefer the shorter and more focused 2002 BBC doc, Century of the Self:

    To the writer I name in the following piece, I wrote three times politely with guest suggestions. First I asked for Adam Curtis, already profiled by the New Yorker. (However it turns out he’s retired.) Months later I wrote in twice asking to hear Iain. No response, although the named writer did say something like, “As soon as you question the consumer culture, well, that’s the end of your political project.” How does one grapple the dead hand of conventional wisdom? Spitting out “Bollocks” is inadequate, as is asking nicely, as is Refusal, great or otherwise. I do it my way. I hope you’ll do it yours.

    McGilchrist’s theory delivers me to a more hopeful way of thinking about the world, more aligned with something Goethe said, “…misunderstandings and lethargy perhaps produce more wrong in the world than deceit and malice do.” Much to say here about life in the shadow of the 20th century. I’ll sum by saying it is a comfort to think the world isn’t on a forced death march due to malice, but rather a historical map full of cascading left brain errors. Malice doesn’t listen but maps can be corrected. The slightest hope is immeasurably greater than none.

    I hope that my letter is a live play. Even if I got through, it would take some time to do the reading and digest the theory. I may have only a 1/100 chance, but if a hundred people write in under those same odds then something good might happen. For my part I desire to sap the walls of the American mind, a dirty job where sometimes one doesn’t know how well the sapping is going until the wall collapses, perhaps burying oneself in the process. I think if more people write in requesting to see Iain’s work presented, the efforts will force multiply.

    As repeated in the Feb 13 newsletter, the theory can only go one of two ways: Either it will become widely understood, appreciated and accepted, or it will have been snuffed out, buried and forgotten. My bookshelf is full of the latter but this one is different – this one has scientific backing and is a true hyperobject, touching on multitudes all of the time. Let’s make it happen.

    Two ultimate outcomes I desire: First, I envision a time when calling something “left-brained” is a criticism understood on some level by everyone, including the vast majority who don’t read. As Dr. McGilchrist takes pains to emphasize, this doesn’t mean the left brain take is ‘bad, or even ‘wrong’, it just means it is incomplete on its own, and a next step of integration is required to gain a proper perspective. Second, I envision propagating the sense that a wider awareness of McGilchrist’s theory is inevitable. Since it is repeated advert nauseam that the materialist, reductionist, technocratic future of cradle to grave surveillance and Behaviour(al)ist ‘ego’ management is inevitable, I would maintain that broad acceptance of McGilchrist’s discovery is no less inevitable.

    Oh, right, yes, just one more thing. Thank you for indulging me if you read this far and beyond. Please enjoy this fresh breeze of modern music, my new favourite song about New York City: