I have some sympathy with McGilchrist’s claim that there is a growing tendency to decontextualise knowledge, to think of the parts as more important than the whole, which is often regarded as no more than the sum of the parts, to substitute information for knowledge. But this is only one side of the story. Another trend, equally important, is the downgrading of reason, the celebration of tradition, intuition and myth, the glorification of the holistic, the organic and the local. If we are forced to use McGilchrist’s terminology and imagery, we might say that the problem is not that the left hemisphere has control over the right but that there has been a tendency to develop both ‘left hemispheric thinking’ and ‘right hemispheric thinking’ in isolation and that both are, in isolation, equally troublesome. Or to put it anther way, the problem is increasingly that reason has become mechanistic, contextualisation anti-rational.
Kenan Malik, review/response to The Master and his Emissary. I’m pondering this one.