The Master and His Emissary

I’ve been reading the book The Master and His Emissary by Iain McGilchrist. He is a psychiatrist, writer, and former Oxford literary scholar that has been involved with neuro-imaging. The book focuses on the the roles of and relationship between brain hemispheres. As a “Right brain-dominate/dyslexic” I’ve always felt that our society was way to “Left brain” and have had many struggles with what I have been calling for many years “a world of animated computer programs”, people that lack empathy, intuition, and humanity. Well, it’s starting to look like there’s some neuroscience to back my feelings.

“The metaphor of the “left-brain/right-brain” divide has permeated pop culture as one of the dichotomies of how we think about and describe ourselves. But this metaphor is rooted in a number of neuropsychological realities of how our brains operate- the right hemishpere(the master), with it’s flexibility and capacity for empathy and abstraction but lack of certainty, and the detail oriented left hemisphere(the emissary), with its preference for mechanisms over living things, its inability to see past the literal, and its propensity for self-interest.”

Would love to hear the thoughts, feelings, and experiences of the Integral community on this topic.

Best regards,


I read the book and also his shorter synopsis. Absolutely fascinating.
What can be interesting is looking through the various more contentious posts on these threads through the prism of left brain/right brain as per this book (rather than the pop psychology).
And is there any correlation between stages and hemispheres?

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Andrew, that’s a great idea! Thanks for sharing that. The question of the correlation between stages and hemispheres is very interesting. Perhaps they could be viewed through the lense of “typology?” Something to think about.:thinking:

He is just bringing out an even more comprehensive book - ‘The Matter with Things’ that he has called his works life. Fascinating insights which will merge into the spiritual. A man to watch……

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Thank you for the heads up! Definitely going to get that one.

Again, thanks for the heads up, on my list to pre-order.