Constructing the Conscious Brain
A profound and groundbreaking new book telling the story of consciousness and the human mind, from one of the world's leading neuroscientists.
Self Comes to Mind explores two questions that have haunted philosophers, neurologists, cognitive scientists and psychologists for centuries: how do brains construct minds, and how do minds become conscious?
Antonio Damasio has spent the past thirty years studying and writing about how the brain operates, and his work has garnered acclaim for its singular melding of the scientific and the humanistic. In this revelatory work, he debunks the long-standing idea that consciousness is somehow separate from the body, presenting astounding new scientific evidence that consciousness-what we think of as "self"-is in fact a biological process created by the brain. Besides the three traditional perspectives used to study the mind (the personal, the behavioral, and the neurological), Damasio introduces the evolutionary perspective, which entails a radical change in the way the history of conscious minds is viewed and told.
* Beautifully told, through fascinating and moving human stories, Self Comes to Mind will ultimately reveal how our minds work-often without knowing or even controlling what we do-and allow us to glimpse the root of our fondest constructs: self, identity, personhood, and self-image.
“'Awareness may be mostly mystery, but Damasio shapes its hints and glimmerings into an imaginative, informed narrative.'”
“The marvel of reading Damasio's book is to be convinced one can follow the brain at work as it makes the private reality that is the deepest self.”
V. S. Naipaul
“Damasio makes a grand transition from higher-brain views of emotions to deeply evolutionary, lower-brain contributions to emotional, sensory and homeostatic experiences. He affirms that the roots of consciousness are affective and shared by our fellow animals. Damasio's creative vision leads relentlessly toward a natural understanding of the very font of being.”
Jaak Panksepp, author of Affective Neuroscience
“I was totally captivated by Self Comes to Mind.In this work Antonio Damasio presents his seminal discoveries in the field of neuroscience in the broader contexts of evolutionary biology and cultural development.This trailblazing book gives us a new way of thinking about ourselves, our history, and the importance of culture in shaping our common future.”
Yo-Yo Ma, musician
“The epicenter of Self Comes to Mind concerns the neurological basis for cognition and the issue of the superposition of a "self' onto the construct which we address as reality. Damasio is both eloquent and scholarly. His command of the themes he approaches is impressive, as is the vigor with which he tackles such recondite issues as the elusive "self," inside the head. A wonderful read, and a recommended one!”
Rodolfo R. Llinás, New York University
“In this astonishing work, Antonio Damasio puts his years of investigation into the processes of the brain to open the impenetrable mysteries of self and mind, where all the contradictions of human experience unite in the ultimate unknown, consciousness.”
Peter Brook, theater and film director and author of The Empty Space and Threads of Time.
“Self Comes to Mind is often an exhilarating read. Not unlike Carl Sagan, Damasio is clearly excited by the findings he describes, and the thrill of discovery shines through his fine, clear prose. ”