A gifted medical clinician with decades of caring for patients with brain damage offers a new understanding of the biological roots of consciousness and its role in survival. "A must read for anyone wanting a neurologist's perspective on one of the great unsolved mysteries".--"The New York Times". Line art.A gifted medical clinician with decades of caring for patients with brain damage offers a new understanding of the biological roots of consciousness and its role in survival. "A must read for anyone wanting a neurologist's perspective on one of the great unsolved mysteries".--"The New York Times". Line art.Read Less
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A truly awe-inspiring book. If ever you wondered about the how & why & the what of consciousness then read Damasio on The Feeling of What Happens: Body & Emotion in the Making of Consciousness. Mind-bending stuff which sets the reader on the road to a better understanding of the evolution & development of that not so elusive thing called consciousness.
Publishers Weekly, 1999-07-26 Tackling a great complex of questions that poets, artists and philosophers have contemplated for generations, Damasio (Descartes' Error) examines current neurological knowledge of human consciousness. Significantly, in key passages he evokes T.S. Eliot, Shakespeare and William James. In Eliot's words, consciousness is "music heard so deeply/ That it is not heard at all." It, like Hamlet, begins with the question "Who's there?" And Damasio holds that there is, as James thought, a "stream of" consciousness that utilizes every part of the brain. Consciousness, argues Damasio, is linked to emotion, to our feelings for the images we perceive. There are in fact several kinds of consciousness, he says: the proto-self, which exists in the mind's constant monitoring of the body's state, of which we are unaware; a core consciousness that perceives the world 500 milliseconds after the fact; and the extended consciousness of memory, reason and language. Different from wakefulness and attention, consciousness can exist without language, reason or memory: for example, an amnesiac has consciousness. But when core consciousness fails, all else fails with it. More important for Damasio's argument, emotion and consciousness tend to be present or absent together. At the height of consciousness, above reason and creativity, Damasio places conscience, a word that preceded conciousness by many centuries. The author's plain language and careful redefinition of key points make this difficult subject accessible for the general reader. In a book that cuts through the old nature vs. nurture argument as well as conventional ideas of identity and possibly even of soul, it's clear, though he may not say so, that Damasio is still on the side of the angels. Agent, Michael Carlisle; 9-city author tour. (Sept.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
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