The MWS Podcast, Episode 114: Dan Siegel on the what, how, who, where, when and why of the mind

Our guest today is Dr. Dan Siegel. Dan is a clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine and the founding co-director of the Mindful Awareness Research Center at UCLA. He is also the Executive Director of the Mindsight Institute which focuses on the development of mindsight, which teaches insight, empathy, and integration in individuals, families and communities.
Dan has published extensively for both the professional and lay audiences. He has written several New York Times bestsellers including: Mindsight, Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain, and two books with Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D: The Whole-Brain Child, and No-Drama Discipline. He’s going to talk to us today about his latest book Mind: A Journey to the Heart of Being Human.

MWS Podcast 114: Dan Siegel as audio only:
Download audio: MWS_Podcast_114_Dan_Siegel

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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.

5 thoughts on “The MWS Podcast, Episode 114: Dan Siegel on the what, how, who, where, when and why of the mind

  1. I greatly enjoyed this podcast, and Dan Siegel seems to me one of the most important thinkers in the world today. I’d put him up with Iain McGilchrist and Ellen Langer as contributing to the cutting edge of thought relating to the Middle Way, and I’d love to have a conversation with him about integration! In my review of his book ‘Mindsight’ on this site I hope I conveyed that appreciation.

    One of the things I mentioned as a reservation in that review was his avoidance of any discussion of the relationship between integration and ethics, so I was very glad to hear him speak positively of that link here. The other area where we differ slightly is in his use of chaos v rigidity to talk about the two extremes, whereas I talk about positive and negative sorts of rigidity: but I don’t think this is necessarily a disagreement, as I discuss in the review.

    1. Agreed. After reading your review I got the ‘Mindsight’ book out of the library, and it was really good on different aspects of integration.

      At times he seemed to be blowing his own trumpet, but it didn’t detract from the messages – in fact he has good reason to self-toot. I think I’ll see if I can get hold of some of his more recent work.

      1. To clarify – in the book ‘Mindsight’ I got the impression he was showing off about his prowess at helping people through therapy. In the interview he came across as much more modest. Perhaps this is a USA/UK culture difference (that I prefer modesty to self-promotion)?

      2. At the end of the part where Dan and Barry are talking about morality (about 33 minutes in to the podcast) Dan says “…it seems in what I’ve read about that, that this might be a useful measure of morality: does it promote integration, or does it inhibit it?”

        This is a ‘Middle Way’ way of thinking about ethics?

      3. Yes, I think so, Jim. Some people might object to this because they’d mistake it for some kind of psychological ‘reduction’ of ethics, but for me it’s the key to understanding how we can have an incrementally objective ethics (not relativist) without appealing to absolutes. It relates to our experience of valuing things, but also challenges those values by demanding that they be integrated with other values that we experience at other times. This also works just as well at a socio-political level, where the integration is between the desires of different individuals or groups, as it does at an individual psychological level. See the introductory videos in the menu above (under ‘media’) on integration and on ethics, for more about this.

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