quinta-feira, 9 de dezembro de 2010

Where Consciousness Comes From

For Antonio Damasio, author of Self Comes to Mind: Constructing the Conscious Brain, the human mind is certainly an astounding thing, but it’s not as unique as many of us may think.

“One of the main points about this book is to dispel the myth that we are alone in the specialness of mind and consciousness,” Damasio said to the full house at the RAND Corporation. “I believe what we call mind and conscious mind are the current end product of a long period of evolution.”

Damasio went on to explain where the mind began, how it works, and what it allows humans to do — from thinking about the weekend to building civilizations.

Watch the video here.

Read an excerpt of Self Comes to Mind here.

Humans have long struggled to explain the trait that makes us human: self awareness. Ancient Greeks and Christian theologians posited a soul separate from a body. A long line of philosophers have argued that we’re defined by our thinking human minds, distinct and higher than our physical selves. Scientists today see evidence of something like minds and cultures in social animals, but they still seek to explain why human consciousness rises to become knowledge of a self, why we have been able to create such complex identities and cultures. How did we come to be our selves? Neuroscientist Antonio Damasio, director of the USC Brain and Creativity Institute and author of Self Comes to Mind: Constructing the Conscious Brain, visits Zócalo to argue against the long-standing idea that consciousness is somehow separate from the body, presenting compelling new scientific evidence that consciousness is in fact a biological process created by living organisms.