Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Brain and Consciousness

"Lofty questions about the mind are fascinating to ask - philosophers have been asking them for three millennia both in my native India and in the West - but it is only in the brain we can eventually hope to find the answers."
- VS Ramachandran, author of "A Brief Tour to Consciousness" and a neuroscientist by profession at UCSD.

Its a highly gripping book I read recently. It is neither deeply technical nor very philosophical. A very down-to-earth book connecting brain and consciousness through a series of anecdotes.

I am really glad that the book affirmed my views that abstract philosophical discussions are of very little use. You can also infer from the book that we should actually know about the things like pain, happiness, sorrow, emotions, desire and so on before we discuss them vehemently. A sentence like "desire is the root cause of all sorrow" doesn't mean much unless we know what desire and sorrow physically are and why they are what they are.

I am not denying spirituality or philosophy here. Any myth or spiritual philosophy is an honorable attempt of human beings to justify their lives with the limited information they have. But I think there comes a point when any branch of knowledge comes to a dead end. After that point, it can progress only after exchanging information with other branches of knowledge. And perhaps it is time for spiritual philosophy to exchange information with neuroscience. No use of engaging in word games.

I am glad of having developed a more than passive interest in neuroscience in past few months.

1 comment:

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