4 Apr
Posted in: Books
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You Are Not Your Brain

I’ve just finished reading Out of Our Heads: Why You Are Not Your Brain, and Other Lessons from the Biology of Consciousness. It’s a fascinating new book by Alva Noe, one of the contributors to NPR’s science blog: 13.7 Cosmos & Culture.

He doesn’t use the exact words, but it sure sounds like he’s talking about the Buddhist understandings of dependent origination and non-self when he describes consciousness as something that arises from the interconnectedness of our brain, our body, and the world.

Here’s what he says:

“We are out of our heads. We are in the world and of it. We are patterns of active engagement with fluid boundaries and changing components. We are distributed…

“The brain plays a starring role in the story, to be sure. But the brain’s job is not to ‘generate’ consciousness. Consciousness isn’t that kind of thing. It isn’t a thing at all….

Brain, body, and world–each plays a critical role in making us the kind of being we are….

“If we are to understand consciousness–the fact that we think and feel and that a world shows up for us–we need to turn our backs on the orthodox assumption that consciousness is something that happens inside us, like digestion….

“Consciousness, like a work of improvisational music, is achieved in action, by us, thanks to our situation in and access to a world we know around us.”

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