In the beginning there was not only life but the ability to communicate and eventually to cooperate among the most basic, primeval creatures. In The Naked Neuron Dr. Joseph - an internationally respected neuroscientist and author of the highly praised The Right Brain and the Unconscious: Discovering the Stranger Within - takes us on an intriguing journey through time as he traces the evolution of communication and language from the most primitive single-celled animals to our earliest ancestors to humans today. As he so clearly demonstrates, we are linked to all levels of animals in a common bond of sensing, feeling, and communication. Be it singing wolves, dancing bees, or writhing rock and roll dancers, all communicate a treasure chest of meaning in the absence of the spoken word. Approximately 700 million years ago, a unique type of cell came into being - the neuron. This "naked" neuron, or nerve cell, lacked a protective fatty sheath. Still, it marked a monumental and world altering development, since it would become the building block of the brain. The naked neuron generated a revolutionary change resulting in a greater complexity and subtlety of thought. Dr. Joseph vividly depicts how neurons conferred on early humans advanced powers of mental and sensory acuity, including the gift of remembering one's past and contemplating the future. Although humans possess much of the same ancient brain tissue as our fellow primates, Dr. Joseph reveals to us the singular features of the human brain that have enabled humans uniquely to develop complex, spoken language. He holds us spellbound, revealing that although the new and old brain tissue are couched within the same brain, each often has difficulty understanding the impulses and language of the other. This ground-breaking book draws on Dr. Joseph's brilliant and original research and theories, fusing the latest discoveries made in neuroscience, sociobiology, and anthropology. He illuminates how the languages of th
An exploration of how LSD influences imagination and the creative process.- Based on the results of one of the longest clinical studies of LSD that took place between 1954 and 1962, before LSD was illegal. - Includes personal reports, artwork, and poetry from the original sessions as testimony of the impact of LSD on the creative process. In 1954 a Los Angeles psychiatrist began experimenting with a then new chemical discovery known as LSD-25. Over an eight-year period Dr. Oscar Janiger gave LSD-25 to more than 950 men and women, ranging in age from 18 to 81 and coming from all walks of life. The data collected by the author during those trials and from follow-up studies done 40 years later is now available here for the first time, along with the authors' examination of LSD's ramifications on creativity, imagination, and spirituality. In this book Marlene Dobkin de Rios, a medical anthropologist who has studied the use of hallucinogens in tribal and third world societies, considers the spiritual implications of these findings in comparison with indigenous groups that employ psychoactive substances in their religious ceremonies. The book also examines the nature of the creative process as influenced by psychedelics and provides artwork and poetry from the original experiment sessions, allowing the reader to personally witness LSD's impact on creativity. The studies recounted in LSD, Spirituality, and the Creative Process depict an important moment in the history of consciousness and reveal the psychic unity of humanity.
In this wondrously lucid and engaging book, renowned neurologist Antonio Damasio demonstrates what many of us have long suspected: emotions are not a luxury, they are essential to rational thinking.
Descartes' Error takes the reader on an enthralling journey of scientific discovery, starting with the case of Phineas Gage--a construction foreman who in 1848 survived a freak accident in which a 3 1/2 foot iron rod passed through his head--and continuing on to Damasio's experiences with modern-day neurological patients affected by brain damage. Far from interfering with rationality, his research shows us, the absence of emotion and feeling can break down rationality and make wise decision making almost impossible.
An exciting--and encouraging--exploration of creativity from the author of When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing The future belongs to a different kind of person with a different kind of mind: artists, inventors, storytellers-creative and holistic "right-brain" thinkers whose abilities mark the fault line between who gets ahead and who doesn't. Drawing on research from around the world, Pink (author of To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Motivating Others) outlines the six fundamentally human abilities that are absolute essentials for professional success and personal fulfillment--and reveals how to master them. A Whole New Mind takes readers to a daring new place, and a provocative and necessary new way of thinking about a future that's already here.
Neuroscientist V.S. Ramachandran is internationally renowned for uncovering answers to the deep and quirky questions of human nature that few scientists have dared to address. His bold insights about the brain are matched only by the stunning simplicity of his experiments -- using such low-tech tools as cotton swabs, glasses of water and dime-store mirrors. In Phantoms in the Brain, Dr. Ramachandran recounts how his work with patients who have bizarre neurological disorders has shed new light on the deep architecture of the brain, and what these findings tell us about who we are, how we construct our body image, why we laugh or become depressed, why we may believe in God, how we make decisions, deceive ourselves and dream, perhaps even why we're so clever at philosophy, music and art. Some of his most notable cases:
- A woman paralyzed on the left side of her body who believes she is lifting a tray of drinks with both hands offers a unique opportunity to test Freud's theory of denial.
- A man who insists he is talking with God challenges us to ask: Could we be "wired" for religious experience?
- A woman who hallucinates cartoon characters illustrates how, in a sense, we are all hallucinating, all the time.
John Ratey, bestselling author and clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, lucidly explains the human brain's workings, and paves the way for a better understanding of how the brain affects who we are. Ratey provides insight into the basic structure and chemistry of the brain, and demonstrates how its systems shape our perceptions, emotions, and behavior. By giving us a greater understanding of how the brain responds to the guidance of its user, he provides us with knowledge that can enable us to improve our lives.In A User's Guide to the Brain, Ratey clearly and succinctly surveys what scientists now know about the brain and how we use it. He looks at the brain as a malleable organ capable of improvement and change, like any muscle, and examines the way specific motor functions might be applied to overcome neural disorders ranging from everyday shyness to autism. Drawing on examples from his practice and from everyday life, Ratey illustrates that the most important lesson we can learn about our brains is how to use them to their maximum potential.
Our subjective inner life is what really matters to us as human beings--and yet we know relatively little about how it arises. Over a long and distinguished career Benjamin Libet has conducted experiments that have helped us see, in clear and concrete ways, how the brain produces conscious awareness. For the first time, Libet gives his own account of these experiments and their importance for our understanding of consciousness.
Most notably, Libet's experiments reveal a substantial delay--the "mind time" of the title--before any awareness affects how we view our mental activities. If all conscious awarenesses are preceded by unconscious processes, as Libet observes, we are forced to conclude that unconscious processes initiate our conscious experiences. Freely voluntary acts are found to be initiated unconsciously before an awareness of wanting to act--a discovery with profound ramifications for our understanding of free will.
How do the physical activities of billions of cerebral nerve cells give rise to an integrated conscious subjective awareness? How can the subjective mind affect or control voluntary actions? Libet considers these questions, as well as the implications of his discoveries for the nature of the soul, the identity of the person, and the relation of the non-physical subjective mind to the physical brain that produces it. Rendered in clear, accessible language, Libet's experiments and theories will allow interested amateurs and experts alike to share the experience of the extraordinary discoveries made in the practical study of consciousness.
Making art--giving form to the images that arise in our mind's eye, our dreams, and our everyday lives--is a form of spiritual practice through which knowledge of ourselves can ripen into wisdom. This book offers encouragement for everyone to explore art making in this spirit of self-discovery--plus practical instructions on material, methods, and activities such as ways to:- Discover a personal myth or story
- Recognize patterns and themes in one's life
- Identify and release painful memories
- Combine journaling and image making
- Practice the ancient skill of active imagination
- Connect with others through sharing one's art works Interwoven with this guidance is the intimate story of the author's own journey as a student, art therapist, teacher, wife, mother, and artist--and, most of all, as a woman who discovered a profound and healing connection with her soul through making art.
The Brain: A Very Short Introduction provides a non-technical introduction to the main issues and findings in current brain research and gives a sense of how neuroscience addresses questions about the relationship between the brain and the mind. Short, clear discussions on the mechanical workings of the brain are offered and the details of brain science are covered in an accessible style. Explanations of the more familiar implications of the brain's actions, such as memories, perceptions, and motor control are integrated throughout the book. It has chapters on brain processes and the causes of "altered mental states," as well as a final chapter that discusses possible future developments in neuroscience, touching on artificial intelligence, gene therapy, the importance of the Human Genome Project, drugs by design, and transplants. Up-to-date coverage of the newest developments in brain research and suggestions for future research on the brain are also included.
About the Series: Combining authority with wit, accessibility, and style, Very Short Introductions offer an introduction to some of life's most interesting topics. Written by experts for the newcomer, they demonstrate the finest contemporary thinking about the central problems and issues in hundreds of key topics, from philosophy to Freud, quantum theory to Islam.