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The Self Illusion: Why There is No 'You' Inside Your Head Paperback – 7 Mar 2013
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Fascinating, timely and important ... Hood's presentation of the science behind our supersense is crystal clear and utterly engaging. (New Scientist)
Wonderful. Illuminating. Full of insight, beauty, and humor. Get to know thyself. (David Eagleman, Author Of Sum)
Startling and engrossing... (Robin Ince)
Hood has amassed a mountain of support for his argument, covering brain development through social interaction such as attachment, the importance of social mimicry, the illogicality of free will, on-line and off-line selves and much, much more. (Nature)
a fascinating and beautifully written book. (The Biologist)
A fascinating examination of how the latest science shows that our individual concept of a self is in fact an illusion.See all Product description
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Unlike the more contrarian approach of Sam Harris (whom I also admire and whose book on this subject I also enjoyed), Bruce Hood uses a much gentler, but I think ultimately more effective style of persuasion which is to simply stack increasing quantities of well supported evidence in favour of his position, until you realise there is really no other reasonable conclusion. Even those committed to dualism, or those reluctant for some other reason to let go of the notion of an independent "self", should still, I think, find plenty here to fascinate until the very last page.
The book is not meant to be an authoritative guide to social psychology, and that recommends it to people who want a jargon-free, non-technical introduction to an important branch of the subject, although the bibliography is thorough enough. So it is perhaps just carping on my part to complain that the book, however coherent in itself, seems to float in mid-air without enough connection to the neural realities of the brain or to human evolution – the self, illusory or real, has a history. That's why I give only 4 stars rather than 5, but count it as five if you are happy to do without the heavy stuff!
The construction of Hood's arguments, supported by research, progress smoothly and logically demonstrating how the self is created and how memory is at best a `compost heap.'
Freeze-frame. Who is the self; definitions, opinions and knowledge which have been imported creating an illusion? What creates the illusion; the subject or the object, action or reaction?
So, a strong sense of self is NOT needed to survive - surviving is easy in the `Western World' - a strong sense of self is needed to succeed, be happy, whatever, and those concepts exist as ideas in society, to which the self-illusion attempts to conform.
A student of his recommended the book, I'm glad I took their recommendation