The Self Illusion

The Self Illusion

How the Social Brain Creates Identity

Book - 2012
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Most of us believe that we are unique and coherent individuals, but are we? The idea of a "self" has existed ever since humans began to live in groups and become sociable. Those who embrace the self as an individual in the West, or a member of the group in the East, feel fulfilled and purposeful. This experience seems incredibly real but a wealth of recent scientific evidence reveals that this notion of the independent, coherent self is an illusion - it is not what it seems. Reality as we perceive it is not something that objectively exists, but something that our brains construct from moment to moment, interpreting, summarizing, and substituting information along the way. Like a science fiction movie, we are living in a matrix that is our mind. In The Self Illusion, Dr. Bruce Hood reveals how the self emerges during childhood and how the architecture of the developing brain enables us to become social animals dependent on each other. He explains that self is the product of our relationships and interactions with others, and it exists only in our brains. The author argues, however, that though the self is an illusion, it is one that humans cannot live without. But things are changing as our technology develops and shapes society. The social bonds and relationships that used to take time and effort to form are now undergoing a revolution as we start to put our self online. Social networking activities such as blogging, Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter threaten to change the way we behave. Social networking is fast becoming socialization on steroids. The speed and ease at which we can form alliances and relationships is outstripping the same selection processes that shaped our self prior to the internet era. This book ventures into unchartered territory to explain how the idea of the self will never be the same again in the online social world. - Publisher's description.
Publisher: Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, ©2012.
ISBN: 9780199897599
019989759X
Branch Call Number: 155.2 HO
Characteristics: xvii, 349 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm

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photoman999
Jun 23, 2013

So the brain creates a self so there is a self how else could there be a self.I feel good knowing I can count on my massive computational power to help me through life.I believe.

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DanMenard
Jan 31, 2013

Good book. Hood explores the idea that we are, essentially, just brain states - not a new view in the world of cognitive science. The new twist that Hood puts on it is that the effect of the environment is heavily undervalued and plays a large determining role in our experiences and actions. The Self, Hood argues, is essentially an illusion our brains invent to make sense of experiences and sensory data in a conscious fashion. At bottom, I don't agree with some of Hood's conclusions mostly because I believe his views are too narrow and his reasons for completely dismissing 'self' outside of a necessary illusion end up wishy-washy compared to the amount of work he's done to establish the importance of both environment and brain science as integral parts of living. This isn't the place to give a full critical assessment, but I learned a lot from this book and recommend it to anyone interested in the self - however, I also recommend pairing it with contrasting books so you're not turned into a brain state without at least a little fight.

tianyuemeng Nov 08, 2012

It is one more time to approve the old saying what I believe : "the truth is not truth until you believe".

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