Thursday, April 12, 2018

Damasio's "The Strange Order of Things"

I just finished my first read-through of this new book.

It's so good.

Rarely does a single book include the evolution of nervous systems all the way from single cell organisms forward to humans. But Damasio doesn't leave out a single thing. He includes all the functions of nervous systems as well as all their bits, in order of their appearance, and manages to line them up appropriately with different stages of nervous systems in evolutionary time. I appreciate this because it's what I try to do in my own lectures; I figure that if you can understand the nervous system as a movie through evolutionary time, you can understand its function better.

His organizing theme is that homeostasis is the driving force and anchor point for everything that living organisms, with or without nervous systems, can do.

It's such a great book that I want to go through it carefully, blogging all the way. I want to sift through each idea (and there are a LOT of them, including ideas about pain that are brand new to me), and ponder how they relate to our profession.

I guess we shall find out if I have the time and the energy both in sufficient quantity to fulfill such an ambition or if the ambition is just a fleeting dream. Right now I still have jet lag, and I can't make a firm committment in such a state.

While I consider the pros and cons, here is a recent (2017) video of Damasio speaking about the same subjects he discusses in his book.

Here is a recent review of his book. LINK 


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