The MWS Podcast 108: Roderick Tweedy on the God of the Left Hemisphere

We are joined today by the author and book editor Roderick Tweedy who’s here to talk to us about his book ‘The God of the Left Hemisphere. The book explores the remarkable connections between the activities and functions of the human brain that writer William Blake termed ‘Urizen’ and the powerful complex of rationalising and ordering processes which modern neuroscience identifies as ‘left hemisphere’ brain activity. Blake’s prescient insight into the nature and origins of this arguably dominant force within the brain allows him to radically reinterpret the psychological basis of the entity commonly referred to as ‘God’.

MWS Podcast 108: Roderick_Tweedy as audio only:
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About Barry Daniel

I live in the Lake District in the UK where I run a guesthouse with my partner Kate and my cat Manuel. I enjoy painting, hillwalking, reading, visiting and entertaining friends, T’ai Chi and playing the guitar. I’m engaged to a certain degree in the local community, as a volunteer with Samaritans and I’m a fairly active member of the local Green party. I’ve had a relatively intuitive sense of the Middle Way most of my adult life but it found a greater articulation and a practical direction through joining the society. It’s also been interesting and great fun engaging with other people with a similar outlook. My main contribution to the society is conducting the podcast interviews, something that gives me a lot of satisfaction and that I’ve learnt a lot from.

3 thoughts on “The MWS Podcast 108: Roderick Tweedy on the God of the Left Hemisphere

  1. Brilliant discussion! I must mention Joseph Wicksteed’s detailed commentary on Blake’s Book of Job as being so insightful. I am hoping to write smth myself on Blake and Buddhism. Some extracts on my blog. I will look forward to reading Gilchrist and Rod’s book.

  2. I agree very much with Eric Nicholson’s verdict on this discussion. I felt a great resonance with Roderick Tweedy’s account of Blake’s work, which I have always admired albeit naïvely. My old friend Ray Wills who founded the Buddhist Hospice Trust and nurtured my interest in end-of-life care, Buddhism, and the importance of keeping the mind open and innocent, was passionate about Blake. Ray, like Blake, was a Londoner: he lived his life in a council flat, although he was an eminent academic and Buddhist scholar, and never owned a car, nor a television set.

    Through the prism of Blake’s vision I have begun to see my life in the round, and can better understand how and why I made the decisions that determined the course of my life, its many circles of hell and occasional glimpses of something finer and more luminous, but – beyond that and incorporating that – its inherent completeness and significance.

    I’ve recently ordered Blake’s ‘complete works’ as my companion in my latter years (or months), and a copy of Roderick’s book to help me navigate it.

    Thank you Barry and Roderick for this shared experience.

    1. Thanks so much for your kind words about the discussion, Peter. I always find it very moving to hear accounts of how Blake has helped people – how he can provide a framework for understanding and integrating the wider meaning of what it is to be alive, and human – all those circles of hell and glimpses of heaven that you talk so poignantly about. Your friend Ray Wills sounds wonderful! I wonder if he wrote anything about Buddhism and Blake? – if so I’d love to read it.

      There’s a piece by Mark Ferrara on the links between Ch’an Buddhism and the work of Blake which I thought was very thought-provoking and which I recently shared on my Blake site – here’s the link in case it’s of interest:
      – but it’d be wonderful to continue and develop the discussion!

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