Antonio Damasio Quotes.
There is no such thing as a disembodied mind. The mind is implanted in the brain, and the brain is implanted in the body.
Consciousness begins when brains acquire the power, the simple power I must add, of telling a story.
When we talk about emotion, we really talk about a collection of behaviors that are produced by the brain. You can look at a person in the throes of an emotion and observe changes in the face, in the body posture, in the coloration of the skin and so on.
Of necessity, the autobiographical self is not just about one individual but about all the others that an individual interacts with. Of necessity, it incorporates the culture in which the interactions took place.
For pure joy, I look at a small painting by Arbit Blatas. An ocean liner is at the center of the composition, perhaps ready to depart. It holds the promise of discovery.
You still have only one self and one identity. However, self, identity and personality are not things, they are not objects, and they certainly are not rigid. Instead, they are biological processes built within the brain from numerous interactive components, step by step, over a period of time.
In ‘Self Comes to Mind’ I pay a lot of attention to simple creatures without brains or minds, because those ‘cartooned abstractions of who we are’ operate on precisely the same principles that we do.
Having a self, even a simple self, allows you to look into the world and put a mark over what is more important and less important. It’s a way of classifying the world in terms of your own needs.
Writing long hand is the last refuge. One needs the time it takes to put pencil to paper and let it run along the ruled line.
A mind is so closely shaped by the body and destined to serve it that only one mind could possibly arise in it. No body, never mind.
Some of us, for better or worse, develop very stable, consistent, and largely predictable machineries of self. But in others, the self machinery is more flexible and more open to unexpected turns.
Consciousness, much like our feelings, is based on a representation of the body and how it changes when reacting to certain stimuli. Self-image would be unthinkable without this representation.
To me, body and mind are different aspects of specific biological processes.
Feeling of an emotion is a process that is distinct from having the emotion in the first place. So it helps to understand what is an emotion, what is a feeling, we need to understand what is an emotion.
Why do we have a brain in the first place? Not to write books, articles, or plays; not to do science or play music. Brains develop because they are an expedient way of managing life in a body.
A conscious mind is a mind with a self in it.
When you deal with something like compassion for physical pain, which we know is very, very old in evolution – we can find evidence for it in nonhuman species – the brain processes it at a faster speed. Compassion for mental pain took many seconds longer.
Emotion consists of a very well orchestrated set of alterations in the body that has, as a general purpose, making life more survivable by taking care of a danger, of taking care of an opportunity, either/or, or something in between.
The problem that we, as living organisms, face – and not we only, humans, but any living organism faces – is the management of life.
The autobiographical self has prompted extended memory, reasoning, imagination, creativity and language. And out of that came the instruments of culture – religions, justice, trade, the arts, science, technology.
Emotion operates, very often when you think about how you react to the world, you know, something is happening to you, you’re simply going along and you’re being confronted by different things, not necessarily very important or significance for your ultimate life, but you are constantly reacting to the world.
We all woke up this morning and we had with it the amazing return of our conscious mind. We recovered minds with a complete sense of self and a complete sense of our own existence, yet we hardly ever pause to consider this wonder.
But whether we want to do it because we want to have people to have a different idea of who we are or not, we do it naturally. So the way we construct our narrative is different from the way we constructed it a year ago. The difference is maybe very small or it may be huge.
I continue to be fascinated by the fact that feelings are not just the shady side of reason but that they help us to reach decisions as well.
…I sense that stepping into the light is also a powerful metaphor for consciousness, for the birth of the knowing mind, for the simple and yet momentous coming of the sense of self into the world of the mental.