Reply To: The Salience Network

  • Whit Blauvelt

    June 6, 2023 at 8:37 pm

    What particularly fascinates me is the issue of whether the switch between “LH” and “RH” orientation, or alternately “default mode” and “task mode” orientation, is cognitively penetrable, and to what degree. Various approaches to meditation and mindfulness seem to show that it is to some degree. If so, then the overall diagnosis which McGilchrist makes of current culture — that we are too many of us too much of the time shifted into “LH” (making a task of working in the world of parts) — calls for efforts to shift back to a “RH” mode which we might recognize as daydreaming.

    McGilchrist mentions that RH activity more often correlates with depressed feelings, which seems much the same as the well-known finding that the default mode does. From the images in this article, it also appears the default mode correlates with more RH activity — although both default and task mode are spread across both.

    The switch — the salience network in the model the article outlines — surely operates largely unconsciously, and shapes our consciousness. At the same time, we can shape ourselves. So, can a consciousness stuck in task mode (or the LH) learn to undertake the task of more often switching to the default mode, and if stuck depressively in the default mode for too long, learn to switch back to task? Is this how to get the master and emissary into harmony?

    We’ve generally got an overworked culture which fears idleness, particularly in America. This does all seem to fit.