The Battle in the Brain

Of the multiplicity of amazing and not-at-all amazing features that appear on the web, my hands-down favorite is RSA Animate. It’s never failed to please me. In a nutshell, the Royal Society of Arts in London invites authors and innovators to give short talks on new and challenging thinking. The talks are then  given to animators who take the ideas and turn them into pictures, capturing short phrases that summarize what’s being said and the RSA produces a short YouTube video with the talk providing the voice-over for the animation. For some magical reason, it makes it so much easier to absorb the information. Sometimes, I wish I could RSA Animate a table conversation, or even a column or blog I’m reading. The visual and the aural interplay so beautifully.

My brother recently pointed out an RSA Animate where psychiatrist and writer Iain McGilchrist updates us on the left brain–right brain dichotomy (not as simple as was originally thought but still significant, in his view). Even though it’s from October 2011, it’s new to me, and it is likely new to you. McGilchrist says that a cultural increase in left-brain dominance has come at a great cost to empathy and attention to concrete detail. Our brains are at war with our world.

Whether McGilcrhist is absolutely spot on (a tip of the hat to the British source here) I can’t say. But his message has the ring of truth. What he has to say seems to bear on the need for mindfulness, awareness, kindness, and compassion—and more appreciation and celebration of the intuitive. This is the zeitgeist that is propelling the mindfulness movement, the social and emotional learning movement, the various empathy and compassion projects, the search for an economics based more on well-being than on pure accumulation and growth. It is the zeitgeist that brought into being and that is propelling our new print magazine, Mindful, which will be available next February.

I hope you enjoy this little video as much as I did.