Dr. Iain McGilchrist is one of the world’s leading experts on the right hemisphere of the human brain. He’s a fascinating Renaissance thinker who has degrees in literature, psychiatry and neuroscience. His book, “The Master and his Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World is quoted frequently in the essays on this website. John Cleese of Monty Python fame said “I love this book above all others because it promises to help me understand paradoxes that have puzzled me all my life.”
Robert Thurman is one of the most renowned Buddhist teachers and the first Western Buddhist to be ordained by the Dalai Lama. A dynamic speaker with a bold sense of humor, Bob has written many acclaimed books on Tibetan Buddhist philosophy and spirituality. His website includes an invitation “to take advantage of your priceless humanness to make a definitive turn towards ultimate security, complete freedom and unbounded happiness.”
Dr. Jeremy Taylor was one of the world’s most well-known dream teachers. I took over 40 weekend dream workshops with Jeremy and interviewed him on my radio program dozens of times. As his website states, Jeremy blended the values of spirituality with an active social conscience and a Jungian perspective. He was founding member and past president of the International Association for the Study of Dreams, and has written four books integrating dream symbolism, mythology, and archetypal energy. The latest is: The Wisdom of Your Dreams: Using Dreams to Tap Into Your Unconscious and Transform Your Life. His earlier books – The Living Labyrinth: Universal Themes in Myths, Dreams and the Symbolism of Waking Life; Where People Fly and Water Runs Uphill; and Dream Work, have been translated into many languages.
Marshall Mcluhan’s deep, complex and intuitive insights into media and communication theory made him one of the most popular and controversial thinkers of his time. Many of his quotes help frame the essays on this website. I had the good fortune to have many hours of conversation with his last PhD student and personal assistant. Although he died in 1980, his predictions about the emerging global network as a result of the emergence of personal computers are as relevant today as any thinker.
A great introduction to the mind of McLuhan and his immense influence is the article written by one the great journalist Tom Wolf called “What If He Is Right?”
William Irwin Thompson was one of America’s most brilliant social philosophers who described his right-hemisphere style of writing and speaking as “mind-jazz on ancient texts.”
Alan Watts was one of the most brilliant interpreters, writers and speakers regarding ancient Asian wisdom traditions such as the Tao, Buddhism and Zen.
Arthur C. Clarke was an innovative scientist and science fiction writer. He was the first person to suggest putting communication satellites in orbit around Earth in 1945. In addition to co-writing the script for “2001: A Space Odyssey, he came up with the right-hemisphere oriented 3 Laws:
- When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
- The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
- Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
Kevin Kelly was a founder of “Wired” Magazine and holds the title there of “Senior Maverick” (one of the best right-hemisphere job titles around). Here’s a link to a good interview revealing his perception of how technology could be ushering in a new Renaissance period.
A wonderful read and offering great insight into how the Italian Renaissance was a shift to a more expansive, right-hemisphere curiosity about inherent wisdom from previous visionaries, check out “The Swerve: How the World Became Modern.”
A good analysis of how our brains work when reading print can be found in the Scientific-American article, “The Reading Brain in the Digital Age” by journalist Ferris Jabr.
Daniel Pink has written excellent books on human motivation and the ability for “boundary crossing” into right-hemisphere, big picture thinking. Here’s a link to a good review of his book “A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule The Future”
An intriguing instance of a computer showing the signs of intuitive understanding, not just brute, computational power, was the victory of Alpha Zero over the world champion of “Go,” considered the most complex game ever invented by humans and one requiring the kind of creative, intuitive thinking experts said computers could never attain. Here’s a great report on the event from Wired Magazine