Using a blend of anecdote, religious and secular philosophy and smatterings of neuroscience and neurology, he tries to answer questions that have plagued us as soon as we became self-aware: What is the self that we are aware of? Where is it found? What exactly is it made of? The first half of the book tries to get at what the self is by illuminating what it isnt. For the idea that the self is intimately tied to the body, he uses examples of those who experience gender dysphoria, who have an overwhelming sense that their gender does not match the sex of their physical bodies, to show that whilst the medium of our existence the physical body most certainly shape the person, the person is not just the medium. Away from these classic examples, there are the occasional contemporary references, particularly Belle De Jour, that make the writing, but not necessarily the ideas, feel needlessly dated, although I was fascinated to learn that Dr Brooke Magnanti is actually a research scientist with a raft of publications under her name.
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Key idea 1 of 9 Do spiritual awakenings reveal the truth of our existence — or are they the result of brain dysfunctions? In , a woman named Suzanne Segal was waiting for a bus in Paris. Without warning, she forgot everything about her life, including her conception of who she was. Instead, her thoughts of herself encompassed everything and everyone around her.
For the following ten years, Segal resisted this loss of self and sought help from several therapists. Was it possible that losing her identity was a form of transcendence? Having found similarities between her experience and the Buddhist conception of anatta, a transcendental state of non-being, Segal began to work as a spiritual leader. At times, she even felt like her old self again, and her spiritual messages became confused. Neuroscience research suggests that some spiritual experiences may, in fact, be the result of brain dysfunctions.
In February , she was diagnosed with a large brain tumor. She died a few months later, after a brief coma. They believed it was the tumor that caused her to lose her connection to the transcendent, universal consciousness. Key ideas in this title Do spiritual awakenings reveal the truth of our existence — or are they the result of brain dysfunctions? The notion of something like a soul is intuitive, but not logical. Multiple personality disorder illustrates the subjectivity of our experience.
Our sense of self, which varies from culture to culture, is shaped by how society perceives us. The existence of the ego is a trick of the mind. If we have no soul, we might not have free will either.
Technological and cultural changes are beginning to transform our sense of self. Final summary.
The Ego Trick: In Search Of The Self
This is a very difficult subject and one that I struggle with but after having read this book I certainly feel more informed if not satisfied. The book julain the evidence for this theory and its implications. Julian Baggini on The Ego Trick If you also want to know, read this book despite the bagini that you will be sorry. Julian Baggini is a British philosopher and the author of several books about philosophy written for a general audience. I enjoyed this book very much.
Ego Trick: In Search of the Self
The Ego Trick