Soul Dust: The Magic of Consciousness

Soul Dust: The Magic of Consciousness

Soul Dust: The Magic of Consciousness

Soul Dust: The Magic of Consciousness

Synopsis

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.

Excerpt

Chances are it is less than a day since you regained consciousness. It probably happened soon after the sunlight returned this morning. What was it like for you, as you came to? Remember? The chink of a milk bottle, the touch of sheets, the sight of a patch of blue sky. You rubbed your eyes, stretched your limbs, and before you knew it, waves of sensation refilled the lake of your being. You re-emerged into the subjective present. Once more you felt yourself alive.

You were not alone. Something like this happened today to countless other individuals here on Planet Earth. Our planet, we are told, is merely a condensate of stardust, not so different from all the other minor cosmic bodies that litter the universe. But this one planet has become home to an extraordinary phenomenon. Here is where sentience evolved. Here is where conscious selves have come into their own. Here live souls.

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