Reply To: Inhibitory neurons at play between L+R prefrontal cortex

  • Whit Blauvelt

    May 3, 2023 at 6:27 pm


    Thanks for the Les Femhi reference. His name is new to me. Aside from Buddhist practices, and Ram Dass’s “be here now” approach, I’m also familiar with Ellen Langer’s work at Harvard. And I’m particularly taken by several specific suggestions from Chuang Tzu along these lines. I’m not only convinced there are varieties of mindfulness which work, but focus on my own variant thereof on my daily constitutional walks in the forest. It works well for me.

    Granting all that, I don’t see why you’re encouraging us to simply ignore further work in extending and integrating McGilchrist’s hemispheric hypothesis. Where I’m finding it particularly useful and challenging is in the implicit suggestion that, in addition to the unconscious-conscious threshold, there is also a threshold between the hemispheres. That’s to say, in our typical understanding of “the unconscious,” we may conflate conscious contents arising from the true unconscious, as it were from beneath consciousness, with contents as it were coming across from the less verbal side of the brain.

    We can, of course, take an effective medicine without understanding the chemistry and physiology of it. We can practice effective mindfulness likewise without knowing how it is really working. But to develop new medicines, new practices, digging into the underlying reality is essential. I’m not dismissing mindfulness — quite the opposite; but it would be wrong to dismiss all the evidences McGilchrist has assembled too. Isn’t our deep respect for his work why we’re here?