The Bridge

Long ago I read Franz Winkler’s Man: The Bridge Between Two Worlds. That was during my student days when I began to sense that something was amiss with what I was learning at university and wanted to understand why I felt that way. I don’t recall anything about Winkler’s book today, but now I know there are not “two worlds” nor “separate realities” — one of the sacred and another the secular, one of time and one of timelessness. It only appears divided like this because of the increasingly schizoid state of human consciousness that thinks only in dualistic extremities.

There were never “two worlds” in antiquity. Gods and humans co-mingled in the same reality, and in such a context it would not make sense to talk of man as a “bridge between two worlds”. This is that state of consciousness that Gebser refers to as “unperspectival” and “one-dimensional”. And we owe Dr. McGilchrist a great deal for aiding us in understanding why that was so. The two modes of consciousness of the “divided brain” had not yet become mutually estranged and alienated from one another as they are today, so that it now appears to us that there are “two worlds”.

The increasing hyper-activity of the left-hemisphere mode of attention and consequent “hemineglect” of the input of the right hemisphere generated the delusion that Being itself was divided against itself, which became disastrous with Cartesian metaphysical dualism. Maya and Lila, Heaven and Hell, the Sacred and the Secular, a world of Time and a world of Timelessness, and so on and so on. We were only projecting our own inner division and schizoid state onto the real, so it is quite true: “We don’t see things as they are. We see things as we are.” Or as Blake put it, “as a man thinks so is he”.

So we owe to Iain McGilchrist a great deal in understanding our malaise, our schizoid state, and beginning the process of healing it as restoring to wholeness what was divided, and in that sense we can speak of “bridge”.

We are paradoxical beings because of this “double nature” which is no double-nature at all. Hence the great paradox of Buddhism: “nirvana and samsara are the same; nirvana and samsara are not the same”. If you understand McGilchrist’s thesis on the two modes of attention of the divided brain, and how they have become mutually estranged, then you will come to sense the rightness of that paradox, but also much of Gebser’s own remarks in The Ever-Present Origin will become much, much clearer to you.

And, of course, the meaning of William Blake for whom also there were not “two worlds”, but one world become entirely transparent to his awareness.

The meaning of much of human history becomes so much clearer once we perceive it in terms of the increasing division in the human consciousness structure, and, in the West, the increasing neglect of the right-hemisphere’s mode of attention in favour of the left hemisphere mode of attention. But we are today seeing more and more inspired people who are restoring the harmony and healing the inner division. The actual attractor force that is the “bridge” is the force of love, which is why love is so highly valued amongst the authentically spiritually aware, even as Nietzsche’s “amor fati“.

Just a few brief thoughts on this today. It’s berry picking season and I have to rush to take advantage of the window I have. Bon appetit.

4 responses to “The Bridge”

  1. Scott Preston says :

    Don’t know what’s going on here but today, and lately, the blog has been getting enormous numbers of “views” from Turkey, for some odd reason. In fact, an impossible number. Suspect some kind of bot.

  2. Smitty's Gelato: A Film Blog says :

    Saskatoon berries?

    Do you think McGilchrist’s work is being abused? Personally, I’ve gotten the impression that it would be very easy to label perceived enemies as “left-hemisphere oriented” while simultaneously underestimating one’s own ability to t to be dominated by the left hemisphere.

    • Scott Preston says :

      Yes. I think there’s loads of opportunities there for abuse of McGilchrist’s work.

      Saskatoon berries are a kind of local type of wild blueberry but typically smaller. Very delicious. Make great Saskatoon berry pies. That’s the Cree name for them, and from which the city Saskatoon gets its name.

    • Scott Preston says :

      I’ve already seen instances of abuse, and even enormous misunderstandings even among some neurologists. They can’t get their head around what McGilchrist is saying because they’re still infected with the mechanistic model that he so thoroughly takes apart.

      McGilchrist is one of those emigres I describe in the Metanoia posting, but not completely yet. So it is to be expected that he would be misunderstood or misinterpreted by those who have not.

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