Journey of the Mind: How Thinking Emerged from Chaos

Journey of the Mind: How Thinking Emerged from Chaos

Journey of the Mind: How Thinking Emerged from Chaos

Journey of the Mind: How Thinking Emerged from Chaos


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Two neuroscientists reveal why consciousness exists and how it works by examining eighteen increasingly intelligent minds, from microbes to humankind—and beyond.

Why do you exist? How did atoms and molecules transform into sentient creatures that experience longing, regret, compassion, and even marvel at their own existence? What does it truly mean to have a mind—to think? Science has offered few answers to these existential questions until now.

Journey of the Mind is the first book to offer a unified account of the mind that explains how consciousness, language, self-awareness, and civilization arose incrementally out of chaos. The journey begins three billion years ago with the emergence of the universe’s simplest possible mind. From there, the book explores the nanoscopic archaeon, whose thinking machinery consists of a handful of molecules, then advances through amoebas, worms, frogs, birds, monkeys, and humans, explaining what each “new” mind could do that previous minds could not. Though they admire the triumph of human consciousness, Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam argue that humans are hardly the most sophisticated minds on the planet. The same physical principles that produce human self-awareness are leading cities and nation-states to develop “superminds,” and perhaps planting the seeds for even higher forms of consciousness.

Written in lively, accessible language accompanied by vivid illustrations, Journey of the Mind is a mind-bending work of popular science, the first general book to share the cutting-edge mathematical basis for consciousness, language, and the self. It shows how a “unified theory of the mind” can explain the mind’s greatest mysteries—and offer clues about the ultimate fate of all minds in the universe.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781324050575
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 02/21/2023
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 514,497
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Ogi Ogas, PhD, was a Department of Homeland Security Fellow at the Department of Cognitive and Neural Systems at Boston University. He lives in Boston, Massachusetts.

Sai Gaddam PhD, was a post-doctoral fellow in the Center for Adaptive System at Boston University. He lives in Mumbai, India.

Table of Contents

Initial Value Problem 1

Stage I Molecule Minds

Chapter 1 First Mind / Purpose 7

Chapter 2 Archaea Mind / Targeting 15

Chapter 3 Bacteria Mind I / Decision-Making 27

Chapter 4 Bacteria Mind II / Memory 35

Chapter 5 Amoeba Mind / Communication 47

Stage II Neuron Minds

The Metropolis Principle 65

Chapter 6 Hydra Mind / Multitasking 73

Chapter 7 Roundworm Mind / Centralization 85

Chapter 8 Flatworm Mind / Perception 95

Chapter 9 Fly Mind / Representation 105

Stage III Module Minds

The Unified Mathematics of the Self 121

Chapter 10 Fish Mind / The Preconscious Proletariat 133

Chapter 11 Frog Mind / How 149

Chapter 12 Tortoise Mind / What 161

Chapter 13 Rat Mind / Where 177

Chapter 14 Bird Mind / When 191

Chapter 15 Monkey Mind / Why 205

Chapter 16 Chimpanzee Mind / The Consciousness Cartel 223

Stage IV Superminds

The Darkness 243

Chapter 17 Human Mind / Language 253

Chapter 18 Sapiens Supermind I / Civilization 279

Chapter 19 Sapiens Supermind II / Self 301

The Light 325

The Tandava 335

Acknowledgments 341

Notes 343

Bibliography 373

Index 405

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