When fishing for happiness, catch and release. Remember these seven words — they are the keys to being happy. So says Shimon Edelman, an expert on psychology and the mind.
In The Happiness of Pursuit, Edelman offers a fundamental understanding of pleasure and joy via the brain. Using the concept of the mind as a computing device, he unpacks how the human brain is highly active, involved in patterned networks, and constantly learning from experience. As our brains predict the future through pursuit of experience, we are rewarded both in real time and in the long run. Essentially, as Edelman discovers, it’s the journey, rather than the destination, that matters.
The idea that cognition is computation — the brain is a machine — is nothing new of course. But, as Edelman argues, the mind is actually a bundle of ongoing computations, essentially, the brain being one of many possible substrates that can support them. Edelman makes the case for these claims by constructing a conceptual toolbox that offers readers a glimpse of the computations underlying the mind’s faculties: perception, motivation and emotions, action, memory, thinking, social cognition, learning and language. It is this collection of tools that enables us to discover how and why happiness happens.
An informative, accessible, and witty tour of the mind, The Happiness of Pursuit offers insights to a thorough understanding of what minds are, how they relate to each other and to the world, and how we can make the best of it all.
Science has always created problems for traditional ways of seeing things, but now the very attributes that make us human — free will, the permanence of personal identity, the existence of the soul — are threatened by the science of the mind. If the mind is the brain, and therefore a physical object subject to deterministic laws, how can we have free will? If most of our thoughts and impulses are unconscious, how can we be morally responsible for what we do? If brains and bodies undergo relentless change, how can our identities be constant? The Problem of the Soul shows the way out of these paradoxes. Framing the conflict in terms of two dominant visions of the mind — the “manifest image” of humanistic philosophy and theology, and the scientific image — Owen Flanagan demonstrates that there is common ground, and that we need not give up our ideas of moral responsibility and personal freedom in order to have an empirically sound view of the human mind. This is a profoundly relevant work of philosophy for the common reader.
“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” — Henry Ford As one part of your brain processes these words, another part of your brain is urging you to put the book down and focus on something more pressing. Get back to work on the budget due tomorrow. Answer e-mails growing stale in your inbox. Get off your rear and update that rÃ©mÃ©/br> We’re all guilty of it, especially in the business world. From Fortune 500 CEOs to assistants, we work to solve the most urgent problems first. That’s because evolution has hardwired our brains to focus only on the immediate future, a survival technique that worked extremely well when predators were lurking at every turn. But that was then, this is now. In the modern world, where life expectancies are long and physical perils rare (at least for people who buy books), it’s not only possible to build a strong tomorrow without sacrificing today, but to actually increase the number of here-and-now victories by pursuing distant wins. That’s where Long Fuse, Big Bang comes in–to help you work with that instinct to create and foster ideas that will lead to explosive professional results. Through proven case studies and personal experience, Dr. Eric Haseltine shows you how to neutralize the quick-fix way of thinking and actually use that desire to improve your chances of an enduring success. Rather than fight our most basic thought processes, this book will teach you how to work with your brain to light the long fuse, keep it smoldering, and ignite that “Big Bang” that will make history.”
No one can escape a sense of awe when reflecting on the workings of the mind: we see, we hear, we feel, we are aware of the world around us. But what is the mind? What do we mean when we say we are “aware” of something? What is this peculiar state in our heads, at once utterly familiar and bewilderingly mysterious, that we call awareness or consciousness?
In Physics in Mind, eminent biophysicist Werner R. Loewenstein argues that to answer these questions, we must first understand the physical mechanisms that underlie the workings of the mind. And so begins an exhilarating journey along the sensory data stream of the brain, which shows how our most complex organ processes the vast amounts of information coming in through our senses to create a coherent, meaningful picture of the world. Bringing information theory to bear on recent advances in the neurosciences, Loewenstein reveals a web of immense computational power inside the brain. He introduces the revolutionary idea that quantum mechanics could be fundamental to how our minds almost instantaneously deal with staggering amounts of information, as in the case of the information streaming through our eyes.
Combining cutting-edge research in neuroscience and physics, Loewenstein presents an ambitious hypothesis about the parallel processing of sensory information that is the heart, hub, and pivot of the cognitive brain. Wide-ranging and brimming with insight, Physics in Mind breaks new ground in our understanding of how the mind works.
A Beginner’s Guide to Immortality is a celebration of unusual lives and creative thinkers who punched through ordinary cultural norms while becoming successful in their own niches. In his latest and greatest work, world-renowned science writer Cliff Pickover studies such colorful characters as Truman Capote, John Cage, Stephen Wolfram, Ray Kurzweil, and Wilhelm Rontgen, and their curious ideas. Through these individuals, we can better explore life’s astonishing richness and glimpse the diversity of human imagination. Part memoir and part surrealistic perspective on culture, A Beginner’s Guide to Immortality gives readers a glimpse of new ways of thinking and of other worlds as he reaches across cultures and peers beyond our ordinary reality. He illuminates some of the most mysterious phenomena affecting our species. What is creativity? What are the religious implications of mosquito evolution, simulated Matrix realities, the brain’s own marijuana, and the mathematics of the apocalypse? Could we be a mere software simulation living in a matrix? Who is Elisabeth Kobler-Ross and Emanuel Swedenborg? Did church forefathers eat psychedelic snails? How can we safely expand our minds to become more successful and reason beyond the limits of our own intuition? How can we become immortal?
A new term has emerged from the disability movement in the past decade to help change the way we think about neurological disorders: Neurodiversity.
ADHD. Dyslexia. Autism. The number of categories of illnesses listed by the American Psychiatric Association has tripled in the past fifty years. With so many people affected by our growing — culture of disabilities, — it no longer makes sense to hold on to the deficit-ridden idea of neuropsychological illness.
With the sensibility of Oliver Sacks and Kay Redfield Jamison, psychologist Thomas Armstrong offers a revolutionary perspective that reframes many neuropsychological disorders as part of the natural diversity of the human brain rather than as definitive illnesses. Neurodiversity emphasizes their positive dimensions, showing how people with ADHD, bipolar disorder, and other conditions have inherent evolutionary advantages that, matched with the appropriate environment or ecological niche, can help them achieve dignity and wholeness in their lives.