Posts Tagged ‘Mary Midgley’

The strange doubleness of our brains


In haar boek Are You an Illusion? stelt de Britse filosofe Mary Midgley zich vragen bij de overdreven aandacht die we in het Westen schenken aan exacte wetenschappen en vooral bij de neiging van hedendaagse wetenschappers om de menselijke psychologie steeds meer te beperken tot pure chemie en fysica.

Over het gedweep met fysica als enige “juiste” manier om zaken te verklaren zegt ze het volgende:

“Why does this one kind of thought have this special status? Wolpert writes as if all other organized human thinking – all the arts & crafts, history, poetry, geography, musicology, linguistics, logic and the rest of it – did not exist. These disciplined ways of thinking are, however, what has enabled the human race to deal with the fearful range of problems that has confronted it during countless aeons, problems quite unlike the highly abstract ones that are railed off for physics and certainly no less important.”

Het probleem van innerlijke conflicten en het verschil tussen onze linker- en rechterhersenhelft weet ze ook mooi samen te vatten:

“This is important because these inner conflicts are, of course, a crucial aspect of our lives. They always make it hard to consider the self as, indeed, a single whole. Yet this wholeness – this ‘integration of the personality’ as Jung called it – is essential to all our thinking, including our ordinary personal lives. We do not have the option of really turning into pairs of separate people. Nor, of course, do we have a complete, organized unity, as a simple machine might. But we each have within us an ongoing unifying enterprise, a more-or-less workable inner polity. We are often busy in reconciling its endemic conflicts. And there are various aspects of our lives that do make us feel divided. We should perhaps look here at one more of these oddities : the strange doubleness of our brains.”

Een interessante boekbespreking vind je op de site van de Financial Times.