The Master and his Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World - Ian Mcgilchrist


  Why is the brain divided? The difference between right and left hemispheres has been puzzled over for centuries. In a book of unprecedented scope, Iain McGilchrist draws on a vast body of recent brain research, illustrated with case histories, to reveal that the difference is profound - not just this or that function, but two whole, coherent, but incompatible ways of experiencing the world.  The left hemisphere is detail-oriented, prefers mechanisms to living things, and is inclined to self-interest, where the right hemisphere has greater breadth, flexibility and generosity. This division helps explain the origins of music and language, and casts new light on the history of philosophy, as well as on some mental illnesses.  In the second part of the book, he takes the reader on a journey through the history of Western culture, illustrating the tension between these two worlds as revealed in the thought and belief of thinkers and artists, from Aeschylus to Magritte. He argues that, despite its inferior grasp of reality, the left hemisphere is increasingly taking precedence in the modern world, with potentially disastrous consequences.

Together: the Rituals, Pleasures and Politics of Co-operation - Richard Sennett


Living with people who differ -- racially, ethnically, religiously, or economically -- is one of the most difficult challenges facing us today. Though our society is becoming ever more complicated materially, we tend to avoid engaging with people unlike ourselves. Modern politics emphasizes unity and similarity, encouraging the politics of the tribe rather than of complexity. Together: the rituals, pleasures and politics of Co-operation explores why this has happened and what might be done about it.

Sennett argues that living with people unlike ourselves requires more than goodwill: it requires skill. The foundations for skillful co-operation lie in learning to listen well and to discuss rather than debate. People who develop these capacities earn a reward: they can take pleasure in the company of others.

Together traces the evolution of cooperative rituals in medieval churches and guilds, Renaissance workshops and courts, early modern laboratories and diplomatic embassies. In our lives today, it explains the trials and prospects of cooperation online, face-to-face in ethnic conflicts, among financial workers and community organizers.

Exploring the nature of cooperation, why it has become weak, and how it could be strengthened, this visionary book offers a new way of seeing how humans can live together.