|Dr. Iain McGilchrist|
|Known for||The book The Master and His Emissary|
We have 26,000 genes. But a blind, millimetre-long roundworm with only 959 cells in total already has over 19,000.
I trained in medicine after pursuing an academic career in the humanities, mainly because of my interest in the relationship between mind and body, and between mind and brain.
The human genome contains so much data that, it has been calculated, it would fill 43 volumes of Webster's International Dictionary.
To understand something, whether we are aware of it or not, depends on choosing a model. We get to understand what we see by comparing it with something else, something that we think we understand better. But what we compare it with turns out to have a huge influence on the outcome.
Being uprooted from your own culture, provided you take with you the way of thinking and being that characterises the more integrated social culture from which you come, is not as disruptive to happiness and well-being as becoming part of a relatively fragmented culture.
The nature of creativity is to make space for things to happen… We can drive it out with our busyness and plans.
Perspective in art has receded along with harmony in music: We tend more and more to see the world as a heap of intrinsically meaningless fragments.
It is not rational to assume, without evidence, that rationality can disclose everything about the world, just because it can disclose some things. Our intuition in favour of rationality, where we are inclined to use it, is just that – an intuition. Reason is founded in intuition and ends in intuition, like a pair of massive bookends.
Attention may sound dull, but it is an essential aspect of consciousness. In fact, it governs what it is that we turn out to be conscious of, and therefore plays a part in the coming into being of whatever exists for us.
Hunters and trackers learn not only to understand intellectually a bunch of facts about the animal they follow, but to feel their way into the very being of the animal.
The truth, it is said, is rarely pure or simple, yet genetics can at times seem seductively transparent.
The genome was once thought to be just the blueprint for a living organism, like a combination of the architect's plan for a building and the builder's list of supplies. It specified the parts, the building blocks, and, somehow, the design of the whole, the way in which they are to be put together.
In Shakespeare, unique individuals repudiate the stereotypes demanded by the structure of the play: Shylock commands our sympathy, Barnardine refuses to be hanged. Individuals trump the category.
The imperial vastness of late Roman architecture was made possible by the invention of concrete.
The world appears rectilinear, but is in fact curvilinear – a literal truth in physics, and a metaphorical one in metaphysics.
Over recent years, urbanisation, globalisation and the destruction of local cultures has led to a rise in the prevalence of mental illness in the developing world.