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Antonio Damasio – Self Comes to Mind October 10, 2011

Posted by stuffilikenet in Books, Brain, Brilliant words.
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I have been listening to Dr. Antonio Damasio’s audiobook, Self Comes to Mind: Constructing the Conscious Brain during my commute and have to say that, though fascinating material, it’s very very hard to keep one’s mind upon the book while driving.  Not because the book itself is even slightly boring (to me. anyway), but because one stops to think about what’s being discussed and the audiobook just keeps on running.  I rewind several times each commute.  Dr. Damasio’s careful descriptions of aspects of the self and how a self comes to form a mind are the stuff of which philosopher’s dreams are made, and not a few nightmares.  After defining an aspect of self, Dr. Damasio then describes how it arises from the physical reality of a brain structure, and how interplay between this aspect of self and other aspects of self form another piece of the messy structure that is the mind of a human being (and sometimes of other animals…depends on the aspect).
Wonderful stuff, but not light reading/listening.  Just assembling this careful picture of the functioning of the structures of the brain is more work than anyone can do in a lifetime, and then to carefully explain it to a thoughtful listener is probably more than anyone should ever have to attempt. The good doctor has a little series of videos on YouTube.com with better introductions to his book than I can write, and I do urge you to visit:

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