Monday, April 15, 2013

Nicholas Humphrey - Soul Dust: The Magic of Consciousness


This is an old video from Nicholas Humphrey, author of Soul Dust: The Magic of Consciousness (2011). Here is the publisher's summary of the book:
How is consciousness possible? What biological purpose does it serve? And why do we value it so highly? In Soul Dust, the psychologist Nicholas Humphrey, a leading figure in consciousness research, proposes a startling new theory. Consciousness, he argues, is nothing less than a magical-mystery show that we stage for ourselves inside our own heads. This self-made show lights up the world for us and makes us feel special and transcendent. Thus consciousness paves the way for spirituality, and allows us, as human beings, to reap the rewards, and anxieties, of living in what Humphrey calls the "soul niche." 
Tightly argued, intellectually gripping, and a joy to read, Soul Dust provides answers to the deepest questions. It shows how the problem of consciousness merges with questions that obsess us all--how life should be lived and the fear of death. Resting firmly on neuroscience and evolutionary theory, and drawing a wealth of insights from philosophy and literature, Soul Dust is an uncompromising yet life-affirming work--one that never loses sight of the majesty and wonder of consciousness.
I read the book when it first came out - it's good stuff, even in the places where I disagree with his assumptions and conclusions.

Soul Dust: The Magic of Consciousness



Uploaded on Dec 21, 2011

Pufendorf Lecture One. How is consciousness possible? What biological purpose does it serve? Nicholas Humphrey has a radical new theory. Consciousness, he argues, is nothing less than a magical-mystery show that we stage inside our own heads -- a show that paves the way for spirituality, and allows us to reap the rewards, and anxieties, of living in the "soul niche." This is the first of Humphrey's Pufendorf Prize Lectures, delivered at the University of Lund in May 2011. "A delightful and thought-provoking tour de force" Simon Blackburn.

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