• Arnold Schroder

#42: Life Is Holy War pt. 2: Asymmetries of Aggression

(02/10/2022) We continue our mashup of political psychology, the biology of aggression, and left-right brain hemisphere differences, in the latter case guided by Iain McGilchrist's The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World. We examine how themes of holism and context vs. reduction and utilitarianism in brain hemisphere processing styles relates to political perception, and examine descriptions from all three literature domains of empathy, bonding, gesture, expressivity, behavioral flexibility, fear, anger, and aggression. Then, we examine the bizarrely persistent cross-cultural record of what is perhaps best described as aggression towards the left half of the body by the right, reflected in everything from synonyms for the terms left-right to body modifications that impair or injure the left side. Finally, we examine the subordination of cultures with a broader purview by cultures concerned primarily with domination. In each case—left-right political difference, brain hemisphere processing dynamics, and culture change—we see how a particularly useful understanding is in terms of asymmetries of aggression.

Bibliography for episode 42:

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McGilchrist, I. (2009) The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World. Yale University Press.

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Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 102 (suppl 1) 6543-6549. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0501844102

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