57 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
The Feeling of Self, 18 Dec. 2003
Beware! This book will change forever your idea about your self. Starting from the premise that selves begin in bodies, Damasio outlines how the brain's ability to build a map of the state of the body, using electrical and chemical mesages, forms the basis of the 'proto-self' and how 'second-order' maps of the changes which result in the body as a result of stimuli ( both external and internal) add a second-order of mapping which, by being repeatedly recreated over time emerge as the 'self'. It is, says Damasio, upon this self that higher orders of memory and intellect create the elaborate structure of the individual.When I first read it, I suspected the author of the usual slight of hand which gets us from biology to awareness, but I've read it three times now and am convinced. This is really the only biology of Self that I have encountered. Personally I'd like to add a little of Daniel Dennett's 'centre of narrative' to the mix (see 'Consciousness Explained'), despite his less convincing biology, but my neuroscience contacts tell me that Damasio's approach is now the most widely accepted, and I can well understand why. A stunning idea lucidly expounded. Read it!