David Eagleman on "Incognito"

May 29, 2011

David Eagleman is a bestselling novelist as well as a rising star in the world of neuroscience.  In his new book “Incognito,” he explores what he calls “the secret lives of the brain.”  He tells Anne Strainchamps that most of the real action in the brain is happening below the level of the conscious mind.



Eagleman admits that science can not describe the fine workings of the brain so we can safely assume that he shoots from the hip as he makes his bold statements. If I understand Eagleman correctly, the brain sends the really complex problems down to the basement where the subconcious 3rd shift works tirelessly until the solution has been attained. Ding! Order up! The ah ha moment occurs but be advised, the folks in the basement aren't dues paying conscious thought union members so the glory is not technically yours. Oh lord.

Let's make a further stretch: suppose those thoughts, images, and ideas that percolate up from the 3rd shift were not sent there by our brain, but rather somehow emanate from the microbes that travel with us (see http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2012/06/13/154913334/finally-a-map-of-al...). Perhaps the voices we hear are not actually our own, even though we usually take full credit for the ideas we "come up with." Mozart said he was only taking dictation?

There is surely a Twilight Zone story here, but maybe it is not entirely fictional.