The Well-Tuned Brain: The Remedy for a Manic Society

The Well-Tuned Brain: The Remedy for a Manic Society

by Peter C. Whybrow MD


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In this optimistic and inspiring book, Peter Whybrow, the prize-winning author of American Mania, returns to offer a prescription for genuine human progress.

The Well-Tuned Brain is a call to action. Swept along by the cascading advances of today’s technology, most of us take for granted that progress brings improvement. Despite spectacular material advance, however, the evidence grows that we are failing to create a sustainable future for humanity. We are out of tune with the planet that nurtures us.

Technology itself is not the problem, as Whybrow explains, but rather our behavior. Throughout its evolution the ancient brain that guides us each day has been focused on short-term survival. But fortunately we are intensely social creatures. Without the caring behaviors that flow from intimate attachments to others, we would be relying on a brain that is only marginally adapted to the complexity of the problems we must now face together. Today we must grapple with survival, not in its immediacy but over the long term.

The first step in finding our way forward is to reexamine who we are as creatures of this planet. To this end, Whybrow takes us on a fascinating tour of self-discovery, drawing extensively upon his decades of experience as a psychiatrist and his broad knowledge of neuroscience and human behavior.

Illustrated throughout with engaging personal stories, the book’s trove of cutting-edge science is enriched by philosophical, historical, and cultural perspectives. What emerges is a summons to rediscover the essential virtues of earlier nurturing, of mentored education, and an engagement with the natural world through curiosity and imagination.

Neuroscience can open the search for a better future. But technology alone will not save us. To achieve success we will need the strength and wisdom of our better nature as humane social beings.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393353044
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 05/10/2016
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 1,279,752
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Peter C. Whybrow, MD, is director of the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at the University of California, Los Angeles. Born and educated in England, he is the author, among other books, of A Mood Apart and the award-winning American Mania: When More Is Not Enough.

Table of Contents

Preface xiii

Introduction: In The Age of Man: Progress And Its Pursuit 1

Part I Prologue: Who Do You Think You Are? 17

Chapter 1 Off Balance: Surprised by Affluence 19

Chapter 2 Habit and Intuition: Tuning the Brain 45

Chapter 3 Enlightened Experiments: Inventing the Market Society 69

Chapter 4 Choice: The Brain's Internal Market 91

Chapter 5 Market Mayhem: Of Museums and Money 117

Part II Prologue: How to Live? 145

Chapter 6 Love Weaving the Web of Trust 147

Chapter 7 Character: Education and Self-Command 176

Chapter 8 Habitat: Made to Man's Measure 210

Chapter 9 Food: The Staff of Life 235

Chapter 10 Imagination: The Playful, Creative Brain 264

Reprise: Wisdom: Retuning For a Sustainable Future 293

Acknowledgments 313

Notes 315

Index 359

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