The Ravenous Brain: How the New Science of Consciousness Explains Our Insatiable Search for Meaning

By Daniel Bor | Go to book overview

3
The Tip of the Iceberg:
Unconscious Limits

A HOLIDAY FROM AWARENESS

For many years I’ve played soccer every Wednesday with my Cambridge research department. The game is taken extremely seriously—aside from the small exceptions that we never keep score, we swap players around continuously if sides become uneven, and we seem to view the pub trip afterward as an event more sacred than the actual match. A few years ago, halfway through a game, I had the ball in front of a particularly large, intimidating member of the opposition. In my head, I was preparing the execution of a complex, deft maneuver: I would elegantly dance around him, along with any other foes in my path, the ball seemingly glued to my feet. I would sprint impressively for the goal, scoring right in the corner with a blistering shot. In reality, on my first body-twist in this foolproof plan, I landed embarrassingly on my arse, unable even to claim the conciliatory prize of a foul, since no one had so much as touched me.

On my clumsy journey to the grass, with my backside leading the way, I’d felt two rather worrying clicks in the middle of my right knee. These resulted in an abrupt end to the game and a trip to the emergency room, with a possibly torn anterior cruciate ligament.

When the knee failed to recover after a few weeks, the surgeon recommended an operation so that he could have a look inside and fix any injuries. The next morning, I was lying in the anteroom next to the operating theater,

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