From one of our preeminent neuroscientists: a landmark reflection that spans the biological and social sciences, offering a new way of understanding the origins of life, feeling, and culture.
The Strange Order of Things is a pathbreaking investigation into homeostasis, the condition of that regulates human physiology within the range that makes possible not only the survival but also the flourishing of life.
Antonio Damasio makes clear that we descend biologically, psychologically, and even socially from a long lineage that begins with single living cells; that our minds and cultures are linked by an invisible thread to the ways and means of ancient unicellular life and other primitive life-forms; and that inherent in our very chemistry is a powerful force, a striving toward life maintenance that governs life in all its guises, including the development of genes that help regulate and transmit life.
In The Strange Order of Things, Damasio gives us a new way of comprehending the world and our place in it.
ANTONIO DAMASIO is University Professor; David Dornsife Professor of Neuroscience, Psychology, and Philosophy; and director of the Brain and Creativity Institute at the University of Southern California. Awards he has received include the Prince of Asturias Prize in Science and Technology, the Grawemeyer Award, the Honda Prize, and the Pessoa and Signoret prizes. In 2017 he received the Freud Medal from the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences. Damasio is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. He is the author of Descartes' Error, The Feeling of What Happens, Looking for Spinoza and Self Comes to Mind, all of which have been published in translation and are taught in universities throughout the world.
"A radical revision of how we understand mind, feeling, consciousness, and the construction of cultures.... Damasio draws a visionary link between biology and social science in a fascinating investigation of homeostasis--the delicate balance that underpins our physical existence, ensures our survival, and defines our flourishing. At the heart of his inquiry is his lifelong interest in the nature of human affect--why we feel what we feel, how we use emotions to construct selfhood, what makes our intentions and our feelings so frequently contradictory, how the body and the mind conspire in the inception of emotional reality. What emerges is not an arsenal of certitudes and answers but a celebration of curiosity and a reminder that intelligent, informed speculation is how we expand the territory of knowledge by moving the boundary of the knowable further into the unknown." --Maria Popova, Brain Pickings