Reply To: The Experience of Art

  • Mike Todd

    June 22, 2023 at 3:56 pm

    Hi Don,


    At some point we need to “put the words down”; and Sri Aurobindo uses terminology and ideas that Dr. McGilchrist doesn’t. But here’s the thing: we’re all beginners and we never stop being beginners; in order to learn how to “ride the bike” (while eating a mango) it’s almost always necessary to bolt on some “stabilisers”. There are many different manufacturers of stabilisers, but they all have the same goal in mind – to stop the rider from falling off so that they can get a feel for what it’s like to ride, and then after enough practice they can “put the stabilisers down” and ride free. But then of course, since riders are perennial beginners, there never comes a point where the stabilisers can be finally thrown in the trash. Riders, at least those who acknowledge the perennial novitiate, cycle back and forth between riding with stabilisers and riding free, and they may come to recognise that each adds something to the experience of the other.

    Dr. McGilchrist, BK, Sri Aurobindo – they all manufacture stabilisers. You might prefer one brand over others, maybe one brand especially suits the way you like to ride. You get the picture.

    Dr. McGilchrist has pointed out a few times (e.g. in the discussion with Rupert Read), with respect to the explicative nature and reserved scope of his books, that he wrote them with a particular target audience in mind. He manufactured stabilisers for LH riders, essentially. He isn’t unaware that he might have written more or differently. And it’s clear from the range of guests he’s engaged with that he isn’t shy of promoting alternative manufacturers.

    A more explicit way of putting it is: conceptual frameworks (which includes scientific, philosophical and spiritual explorations) are stabilisers. HH Dalai Lama, as much as he is a spiritual leader, continues to practice riding with the aid of Buddhist scriptures as well as contemporary scientific and philosophical texts. And of course, being an utter novice, I do the same sort of thing with the aid of Eastern and Western scriptures, philosophical and scientific texts, poetry, music, art – some pretty cool stabilisers, all told.