Why the modern, one-sided approach to medicine is not wholesome and healing.
‘The Art of Medicine’: Paying attention to the bipartite brain
“What I am going to say will appal many right-thinking scientists….”
“… We need both types of attention (left and right brain). But their relation is not symmetrical. Several different lines of argument converge to show that the right hemisphere is aware of, and understands, more than the left: but the left is more able to articulate and use what it knows. The right hemisphere grounds what then gets to be processed, at an intermediate level, by the left hemisphere, before returning to the right hemisphere for integration into the rest of what we know, in order to make sense of it….”
“… Medical education needs urgently to be brought back to the humanities out of which it once arose. Doctors are likely to be effective in proportion to the degree that they are able to see the broader context in which the complaint brought before them lies—nothing less than the whole world of the patient in front of them. I remember with chagrin how, on “take”, the wards would fill with patients who had chest pain or abdominal pain, the majority sent home without a diagnosis. No-one thought of—possibly, it occurs to me now, no-one even knew how to—sit down with them and ask about their lives.”
“Don’t get me wrong: detailed scientific knowledge is hugely important. We rely on such minute information to inform the bigger picture. But it is a necessary, not sufficient, condition, of being a good physician. Without a way of understanding and interpreting it at a deeper level, more detailed knowledge will achieve precisely nothing, and will lead us ultimately to let our patients down. It will close our reality down into what we imagine to be certain, where an appropriate awareness of the limitations of our knowledge would have liberated us and our patients into a world much richer than we can suspect.”
~ Iain McGilchrist
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