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Human Development/Consciousness Evolution
Record Type: Review   ID: 846

Mind, Brain & Human Potential: The Quest for an Understanding of Self

Lancaster, Brian

 A British psychologist Lancaster writes that this book is primarily "about the human brain. Over this century the lens of science has been focused ever more powerfully on the brain, and we have begun to unravel its secrets. How have such advances helped us in the quest to understand the self? What have our endeavours to understand the brain added to those introspective and intuitive insights into the nature of mind gleaned over the ages by philosophers and mystics? How has modern science advanced the universal human imperative to know oneself? These are the central questions around which the themes of this book cohere. Throughout . . . I have tried to convey something of the challenge of integrating what are often puzzling bits of information thrown up by experiments in the area of brain science and by studies on patients who have suffered some form of brain damage. I have tried to see how far we can go in mapping our experience of mental life on to the brain. And I have tried to interweave observations about the brain with the overarching perennial philosophy, the framework that places humanity beyond the indignity of the merely mechanical. This book is not a textbook of brain function; it is an exploration of the hinterland between science and religion in the quest to understand the self" (p. x). It is informed throughout by references to Jewish mysticism, although Lancaster cites other religions as well. This work is notable in that it tries to straddle the wide gulf between empirical findings regarding the brain and the deep knowledge of the Self that religions have revealed.
Publisher Information:Rockport, MA: Element, 1991. 226p. Bibl: 209-219; Chap. notes: 192-208; 20 figs; Index: 220-226; 1 table
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