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Publisher's Summary

For Mark Solms, one of the boldest thinkers in contemporary neuroscience, discovering how consciousness comes about has been a lifetime's quest. Scientists consider it the "hard problem" because it seems an impossible task to understand why we feel a subjective sense of self and how it arises in the brain.

Venturing into the elementary physics of life, Solms has now arrived at an astonishing answer. In The Hidden Spring, he brings forward his discovery in accessible language and graspable analogies.

Solms is a fearless guide on an extraordinary voyage from the dawn of neuropsychology and psychoanalysis to the cutting edge of contemporary neuroscience, adhering to the medically provable. But he goes beyond other neuroscientists by paying close attention to the subjective experiences of hundreds of neurological patients, many of whom he treated, whose uncanny conversations expose much about the brain's obscure reaches.

Most importantly, you will be able to recognize the workings of your own mind for what they really are, including every stray thought, pulse of emotion, and shift of attention. The Hidden Spring will profoundly alter your understanding of your own subjective experience.

©2021 Mark Solms (P)2021 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

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Fascinating

I'll admit most of this content was over my head, but I understood enough to follow most of the major principles and was blown away from implications of all of it, particularly the last chapter on AI.

Highly recommend for anyone curious about neuroscience, consciousness, the inner workings of the brain or answering the question about whether experience comes from the world around you or a reflection of the world inside you.

On a side note, don't watch The Terminator or The Matrix immediately after reading this. Trust me on this one.

9 people found this helpful

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Darwinian Goggles

Solms analysis of human feelings is interesting, thoughtful, and creative. I admire his attempt to locate the neural origin of feelings and his exploration of their functional value. However, I believe his view that feelings arise from multiple homeostatic mechanisms that govern our personal survival is incomplete. Some of our most intense feelings (eg. orgasms) have nothing to do with personal survival; they are concerned with gene survival. Indeed human feelings are better organized around the three essential elements required for reproductive success: survival to reproductive age (hunger, pain etc.), reproduction (desire, jealousy etc.) and offspring survival (eg. love, pride, etc.).
Human brains did not evolve to accurately represent the true nature of reality; they evolved for the sole function of enhancing the survival of our genes. Although the external environment is teeming with electromagnetic radiation and air pressure waves, without consciousness it is both totally black and utterly silent. Of course there is no sweetness in sugar and no noxious smell in old rotten eggs; these conscious evaluative feelings evolved to discriminate between threats and benefits to our reproductive success. In essence, we all see the world through Darwinian Goggles that add light, love, and meaning to the silent coin of being.
(See “Why We Feel; The Science of Human Emotions.”)

3 people found this helpful

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Solms for smart lay persons

Mark Solms is an extraordinarily intelligent man driven to understand the mind and brain from a perspective that is equally brain-based and emotionally-based (in the sense of emotion as driver of thought and behavior). This book is accessible to non-scientists but still a stretch in places. Worth the effort!

2 people found this helpful

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Amazing Book

I loved this book, i was abled to connect and understand it, welll narrated .

1 person found this helpful

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important insights on the brain

Interesting. I appreciate how the author repeats the main points refers back to statements in earlier chapters; it makes it more accessible and helps solidify the concepts.

To me, his ideas make inherent sense. He walks through concepts that seem natural, and backs them up with his own experiences and studies.

I would consider this book important in understanding more about what it means to be human and part of the world. It helps broaden your horizons.

Plus, the author has a very pleasant way of writing and speaking.

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Greek Reason, Human Consciousness Explained !!

This changes, at least, the wording of most every nuero book I've read, that's lots in recent years.

This book, this writer, on every level delivers a coup de gras. The writer, like an Olympic fencing champion, swishes away a universe of creepy crawly consciousness seekers, at the same time, the blades tip is at science writing's
throat.

Switching from 8+hours of TV, to audible, taking advantage of hearing speed, by Brian & Body the writers bemoaning their inability to cope with consciousness is a steady stream This book is as a satisfying as it gets.

Weeks ago, on completing Hidden Spring, I looked outside, I expected a mega phone to be going down the street letting us all know, ...

Brian Doidge and plasticity, move over. Mr. Porges, polyvegal.., great stuff but go sit with Norman. Lay intellectuals are on top Swashbuckler Mark Solm, salivating for more and a writing community's answers.

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Links Psychoanalysis with Neuroscience

Groundbreaking integration of neuroscience with psychoanalysis which has significant implications for both fields especially around subjectivity. Freud's emphasis on the unconscious, dreams and feelings are given neuroscientific explanation. The pioneer in affective neuroscience, Jaak Panksepp, is prominent in Mark Solms' theory as is Karl Friston, the most cited neuroscientist living today. Solms' understanding of Freud matches his expertise in neuroscience. He critiques Freud as he critiques the cortex centered approach of neuroscience and psychiatry tracing the roots of this false centering back to the empiricist philosophers of the 18th century. Solms shares his journey from childhood to neuroscientist alongside the stories of his brain damaged patients. The book is groundbreaking and ten years ahead of our time, especially in an almost sci fi ending.

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Mind: Overt Matter

Feelings from "free" energy, the basis of consciousness. Well postulated and explained. My take is that it is correct, however the "hard" problem's nut isn't well cracked by the inferences given. Very very very close, about the closest I've heard. All in all, a life's work well spent. Tbis is an important piece of history.