Chapter 1: Journal
Welcome to The Master Betrayed. In this first episode, we travel to the Isle of Skye in Scotland to meet philosopher Iain McGilchrist. After living for years in South London, McGilchrist came across his current home, Talisker House, whilst on a trip with his then wife to explore Skye. Stumbling across the house, he was captivated by the beauty of the setting and the history of the house itself (writers Johnson and Boswell stayed in 1773 on their trip to the Highlands). A fortuitous google of “homes for sale in Scotland” brought him back to Talisker some years later, and this is where we now find him. McGilchrist and his brother infact decided many years ago that one must live on a Scottish island and the other a Greek one, being according to them the two most magical places to live. Some might say Iain pulled the short straw, but he is happy with his lot, content with observing a landscape that is ever changing.
Iain McGilchrist read English at Oxford. After graduation he became a Fellow at All Souls college, and spent the next 7 years pursuing research and critiquing literary criticism. It is here that he first becomes engaged with the “mind body problem” in relation to literary criticism, which he believes is done in a “too disembodied way”. His time at Oxford was marked by a sense of, as he describes it, Gladiatorial debate, as well as the formation of life-long friendships with colleagues. His three children are dotted across the world, one in California, one in London, and the third in Brighton. Whilst his daughter’s proficiency at skateboarding is something of a surprise to learn about, his sons love of rock music is less so, given that music is “key” to The Master And his Emissary. In fact, McGilchrist would spend his Tuesday nights as a young man singing Renaissance church music in a choir, followed by rock and roll dancing on a Wednesday. He describes the “out of this world” experience of his choir singing, whereby the chorists would wander the room whilst singing, coming close to another part and moving away again - a demonstration of McGilchrist’s desire for and appreciation of embodied experience.