Tuesday, January 9, 2024

The Biological and Psychological Foundations of our Division

Our nation is in an intense political and cultural struggle where neither side can emerge as an unequivocal victor. Internal strife leaves us vulnerable to external threats from those aspiring to replace our global dominance. Understanding the deeper underlying forces at work as we grapple with the political tension may help forge a way forward. In my reading and research to understand our division better two books stood out to provide a compelling lens to understand the deepening polarization rooted in the fabric of our minds.

Jonathan Haidt’s, The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion provides a study of the profound disparities in the political values of liberal and conservative-leaning individuals. As a summary, I recommend this twenty-minute video TED Talk by Haidt: “The moral roots of liberals and conservatives.”

I previously wrote the blog post, “Isour political division biological?” about Oxford scholar Iain McGilchrist’s book, The Master and his Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World. The book offers warnings about the collective potential of the divided brain to destroy civilizations. As a summary, I recommend this twelve-minute animated summary of McGilchrist’s ideas: The Divided Brain.