Reply To: Is there a reading group for The Matter With Things?

  • Whit Blauvelt

    January 1, 2024 at 8:30 pm

    Hi Andrew,

    On the one hand, Iain’s work is immensely valuable. On the other, these forums aren’t where that work is being done. There’s little to no discussion of ongoing discoveries and theories in neuroscience, which might well further advance McGilchrist’s theories. And on the cultural side, there’s largely a lack of understanding of the non-dualism Iain is a proponent of, and instead an embrace of the naive conclusion that the RH-as-good is struggling with the LH-as-evil.

    On nondualism, the just-out issue of the Journal of Consciousness Studies on “The Legacy of Francisco Varela” has a great lead article, “At the Cradle of Things: The Act of Distinction and Francisco Varela’s Non-Dualist Thought,” by Sebastjan Voros, who includes a quote from The Master in clarifying the “not one, not two” non-dualist view which Varela adopted from Spencer-Brown, and which Iain in turn has focused on.

    What we perhaps need to learn to see here is that the very means by which the LH separates itself functionally is in its self-conceptual separation from the RH’s modes of mentality. It divides itself off. When we see people defending their egos in discussions here, that’s the mark of the divided-off further securing its separation. Even Freud, in The Ego and the Id, attributed ego to the LH, in its association (in his view) with language.

    It’s not that we should not embrace the analysis from the LH perspective of the mind as divided; it’s that if we then don’t also attain the perspective from which the mind is undivided, we have not found our own “mastery.” When we can see it both as divided, and as one, and alternate freely between those vantages … is that when we’ve really made progress on the path that McGilchrist has helped illuminate for us?