Provocative new book of Secret Lives of the Brain

Why can your foot move halfway to the brake pedal before you become consciously aware of danger ahead? Why do you hear your name being mentioned in a conversation that you didn’t think you were listening to? What do Ulysses and the credit crunch have in common?

David Eagleman's Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain navigates the depths of the subconscious brain to illuminate surprising mysteries.

When download or buy the book contains some proposals, predictions, and speculations that are not yet borne out. It makes some strong claims about what consciousness is not, and how it emerges from the activities of the non-aware parts of brain activity.

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The brain is a fascinating organ. Research is indicating that the present level of understanding of the brain is on a par with how much was understood about computers at the turn of the 20th century. This three pound, gelatinous mass "computes" equations with ease and at a rate that would stymie the most powerful computers in a matter of moments. It maintains the function of its host at a level and regularity that cannot be imitated outside of its protective "shell." It does all of this in complete darkness yet allows vision via a network of chemically induced electrical impulses that is almost impossible to comprehend and totally impossible to reproduce beyond its domain. If it is divided (by right and left hemispheres) each side can function independently of the other. If such occurs in a child, one hemisphere can be totally removed with no ill effects or reduction in functionality. All the while each hemisphere is in charge of the opposite side of the hosts' body.

Typically one thinks of the brain and the mind as synonymous but what makes up "the mind" could be held in the functions of the brain but the brain does not contain the whole of the mind. What is made conscious is a minute part of what comprehended by the brain, making anything the brain is doing conscious slows down the process dramatically. Becoming conscious of the process of a task can cause one to become incapable of accomplishing it, irrespective of its familiarity or simplicity.