Ramachandran a modern wizard of neuroscience who enlightens us in his new work The Tell-Tale Brain, we see his genius at work, dealing with many extraordinary cases, some of which mark turning points in neuroscientific knowledge. He hypothesizes, experiments, fails, experiences epiphanies, and succeeds as well. In this fantastic account, we see how these cases fit together, and how from a Darwinian point of view our brains, though evolved from those of other animals, become neurologically distinct and fundamentally human.
Neuroscientist V.S. Ramachandran has certainly set a new standard with his newest book, The Tell-Tale Brain. He has reffered to some case histories that have been covered in his earlier books, Phantoms in the Brain: Probing the Mysteries of the Human Mind and A Brief Tour of Human Consciousness: From Impostor Poodles to Purple Numbers. Readers will be pleased to see that he has new things to say about his earlier findings and observations. Riding the wave of astonishing advances in Brain science over the past fifteen years, lending fresh perspectives on pretty much the entire shepards pie of earlier “hard” sciences. The age of neuroscience has truly dawned and who better Ramachandran to be our Neuro Vasco de Gama or Columbus?
Ramachandran’s modus operandi is to discover how the normal brain works by studying individuals with abnormal neurological conditions. One might find similarities to Oliver Sacks (The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat: And Other Clinical Tales and The Mind’s Eye). Some of the ailments Ramachandran covers are: Agnosia (a-gnosis, or loss of knowledge), Anosognosia (being unaware of the existence of his or her disability), Autism (impacting development in the areas of social interaction and communication skills), Capgras Syndrome (delusions that a friend, spouse, parent, or other close family member has been replaced by an identical-looking impostor – Qui estis?), Cotard Syndrome (belief that they are dead-either figuratively or literally), and Synesthesia (stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway), and many other merry conditions.
If you have barely been keep up so far donot be alarmed, Ramachandran does not go on and on rolling out one bizarre disorder after another. He approaches the subject matter from a variety of angles – anatomically, evolutionarily, psychologically, and philosophically without groping at straws, Ramachandran commands a deep knowledge of all these topics in regards to mind, brain, and consciousness. Ramachandran presents all of this in without leaving your head spinning.
In his own words “I presume some degree of interest in science and curiosity about human nature, but I do not presume any sort of formal scientific background or even familiarity with my previous works. I hope this book proves instructive and inspiring to students of all levels and backgrounds, to colleagues in other disciplines, and to lay readers with no personal or professional stake in these topics.”
Strongly recommended reading this book for minds curious about the Brain in all its awesomeness. The writing is entertaining and anything but dry. Major issues in contemporary Mind,Brain,Consciousness literature are covered.