Saturday, September 5, 2015

The Writing of Peter Whybrow, MD

The Writing of Peter Whybrow, MD

A response to an image of a crashed airliner in a wasteland.

You should read the Nobel Prize winner for literature to be for 2015: "The Well-Tuned Brain: Neuroscience & the Life Well Lived" by Peter Whybrow, an Oxford trained psychiatrist who spent the last 30 years of his life working with cutting edge researchers in Southern California. His highly acclaimed 2005 book "American Mania: When More Is Not Enough" provides an excellent lead in to his recent book.

I have kept up with the phenomenal explosion of new understanding  of the biology of human behavior in neuroscience since 1987.  These two books will turn your concept of our species behavior upside down.  Together they form a sobering and honest story of human history and how we got into this colossal mess, the solutions that are needed for survival, and conclude with realistic ideas about how to get there.  By far the hottest arena of science is the interconnected topics of Brain Plasticity, the mental illness caused by television, the phenomena of the sociopath, and the looming threat of suicide via Global Warming.  The writing is superb, engaging and the target audience is the average educated person, not medical professionals, although they should read these insightful works more than anyone else.  Medical terminology is used, but well explained; and personal anecdotes help the reader understand his point of view.

The three major concepts that totally change our perception of the behavior of our species are Global Warming, the sociopath, and the placity of the brain are all covered in an elegant and very readable style. His target audience is the general public, although most professionals will have their perception of human behavior expanded and new behaviors will be sparked by these cutting edge concepts will be triggered by Whybrow’s penetrating insights.  He also draws a clear explanation for why the American Dream has led us astray with his command of history.  Personal anecdotes give his writing a warm tone, and at the same time reinforce the need for change. Systems that once worked, no longer work, and in many cases are now adding to the critical problems we now face. 
To put it bluntly, many of our time honored ways of doing things, are now making our major problems worse.  We are doing everything wrong.  To survive as a species, everyone must change.  In the truest sense, we are all in this together, and we must adopt an attitude that requires that we must work together.  No us against them attitude will work.  Centuries old tribal attitudes must be replaced with “we are all the same species” and rivalries and bigotry must be left behind.  There is only one future: working together, as well stated as “Spaceship Earth there are no passengers, only crew.

 There is very little solid literature on these subjects because the field is moving so fast, the researchers do not have time to even write professional journal articles, since by the time it appears in print it will be out of date.  This makes Whybrow's contribution to the understanding of these world changing discoveries even more valuable.

Morris Creedon-McVean, DO
A gentleman and a scholar
Austin, Texas
August 30, 2015
Revised September 5, 2015