The MWS Podcast: Episode 6, Iain McGilchrist

In this episode, the patron of the society Iain McGilchrist, talks about his book The Master and his Emissary, the value of the arts, his views on, awe, modernity and religion and how he feels his work relates to the Middle Way.

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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.

2 thoughts on “The MWS Podcast: Episode 6, Iain McGilchrist

  1. I was enthralled, in awe, listening to the conversation, so much information packed into thirty minutes, that it will require several repeat hearings, before I’ll feel able to comment further, other than to say thank you very much Iain McGilchrist, – and Barry.

  2. A brilliant talk, brilliantly facilitated by Barry.

    The first five minutes give an astonishingly concise and helpful sketch of the central thesis of Ian McGlichrists’s book. I’ve only got a third of the way through it (before giving up exhausted), and I realise that I let myself become too involved in the fascinating detail (e.g. on the behaviour of birds), losing sight of the great swell upon which I was being borne up. Perhaps I rushed it. I shall get back in the swim, thanks to Barry and Ian’s combined efforts.

    As Norma suggests, it does inspire awe. And McGilchrist lays emphasis on the importance of “awe” and wonder as an ingredient in the life worth living, and as a means to finding worth in one’s life. The alternative, he suggests, is a kind of death. This capacity for “awe” (a kind of blessed uncertainty) is at the heart of what we call spirituality.

    Asked to equate his ideas (the differing but complementary functions of the cerebral hemispheres) with ‘migglism’, McGilchrist showedethat Robert Ellis’s Middle Way Philosophy had struck a resonant chord with his own. He stressed that the ‘middle way’ was emphatically not to be conceived as a mid-point on some sort of linear scale of thinking, or another word for compromise. Rather, it expresses a different way of understanding, or knowing: more open, less boundaried, more flexible, more tentative, perhaps slower, more ‘at ease with incompatibles’ and willing to accommodate these, but no less rigorous in its application. We can learn it, too!

    Altogether a magnificent achievement for both men, who “ziggled and zaggled” together good-humouredly throughout, and deeply appreciated by me.


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