The Divided Brain

Is there an imbalance between our brain hemispheres that is affecting how we live in our modern society?
Available on CBC Gem

The Divided Brain

documentary Channel

It is one of the most audacious and controversial scientific theories of our time: is there an imbalance in our brain hemispheres that is affecting how we deal with large problems in our society?

Almost everything you think you know about the differences between the brain hemispheres is wrong. A subversive new theory of the human mind has been inspired by brain studies of stroke patients who have lost function in one of their hemispheres: they have revealed the fact that the left and right hemispheres of our brains have radically different ‘world views.’ Unlike the old pop-psychology beliefs of what the right and left hemisphere do, we now understand that they are both involved in most functions. However, the way they perceive reality is very different.

The left hemisphere likes rules, procedures, technology, and systems. On the positive side, the left has given us science, literacy, and technology. But it cannot solve logical problems, feel empathy for others or connect with nature. It does not understand context. For the left hemisphere, the world is made of separate parts; it can't make connections. Details are important, not relationships.

But in the West, it appears that the left hemisphere’s way of thinking has been dominating public life, with massive repercussions. This subversive theory is the brainchild of Dr Iain McGilchrist, a neuroscientist and psychiatrist. In his controversial book, The Master and the Emissary, he argues that over centuries, the values of the left hemisphere have slowly been gaining influence in society – especially since the industrial age.

McGilchrist is one of the few scientists who has tried to link our social problems with our brains. But his revolutionary concept is surrounded by great controversy. It has earned him comparisons to Freud and Darwin — is he on to something? Some scientists and prominent thinkers believe he is – others are loudly opposed to his theory.

Join us on a mind-altering odyssey to explore evidence of McGilchrist’s radical new idea — a filmic quest to discover whether our society has been hijacked by the left hemisphere, and what can be done to restore balance. The journey takes us from the UK, throughout Europe to North America.

The viewer will experience a deep shock of recognition as The Divided Brain transforms the way you look at how you live, your society, and your brain. It may be the film one half of your brain doesn’t want you to see.

Additional digital content related to this topic, can be found at The Divided Brain, produced with financing from the TELUS Fund.

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