The acronym for the new book by renowned neuroscientist Joseph Ledoux is “Awareness.” In this he deals with the very specific question of what role the parts of our brain play in certain perceptions. In doing so, he draws a wide arc from humans to the first unicellular organisms – and beyond – to the Big Bang and the formation of Earth.
everything is related
Because everything is interconnected and built upon each other: the workings of our consciousness can be understood only if it relates to a history of evolution spanning millions of years. If you want to understand how computers work, LeDoux writes in the introduction, you shouldn’t start with the early Apple and Microsoft processors until the 1970s, but tackle the slide rule as well.
That’s why LeDoux starts at the beginning in his book. He describes how certain chemical elements joined together to form increasingly complex compounds until the first surviving four billion years ago. Next comes the history of evolution from unicellular to multicellular, increasingly complex creatures that eventually developed eyes and later vertebrates. The author has described all these in a concise and clear manner. Short chapters on the developmental stages of life build on each other, but still stand for themselves and are a good opportunity to gain or refresh new knowledge about Earth’s primary atmosphere, eukaryotes or the Cambrian explosion.
It gets a bit more complicated when Ledoux, after riding his paraforcer through evolution, has returned to humans and thus questions what exactly human consciousness is and how it differs from the perception of other animals. Is. This topic has been his main area of research for more than 40 years. Here he gets to know every pirate in the history of ideas and turns out every subtle change in creative vocabulary. Ordinary people’s heads can spin quickly: what were the behaviorists convinced of, and how are they different from the cognitiveists? Working memory, intentional cognition, prefrontal cortex – a glossary would be helpful so as not to lose its effect in heaps of words and in people who fabricate, develop and reinterpret them.
Web guru. Amateur thinker. Unapologetic problem solver. Zombie expert. Hipster-friendly travel geek. Social mediaholic.