25 February 2011

An animal with a spiritual dimension

"The defining features of the human condition can all be traced to our ability to stand back from the world, from our selves and from the immediacy of experience. This enables us to plan, to think flexibly and inventively, and, in brief, to take control of the world around us rather than simply respond to it passively. This distance, this ability to rise above the world in which we live, has been made possible by the evolution of the frontal lobes." (The Master and His Emissary, Iain McGilchrist, 2009; page 21). 
"The frontal lobes not only teach us to betray, but to trust. Through them we learn to take another's perspective and to control our own immediate needs and desires. If this necessary distance is midwife to the world of Machiavelli, it also delivers the world of Erasmus. The evolution of the frontal lobes prepares us at the same time to be exploiters of the world and of one another, and to be citizens one with another and guardians of the world. If it has made us the most powerful and destructive of animals, it has also turned us, famously, into the 'social animal', and into an animal with a spiritual dimension." (The Master and His Emissary, Iain McGilchrist, 2009; page 22). 

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