Review: Psychiatry, Psychoanalysis, And The New Biology Of Mind (Hardcover)

5 Star, Education (General), Nature, Diet, Memetics, Design

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Vastly More Than a Text–The Future of Mankind's Mind,

June 27, 2006
Eric Kandel
This is an extraordinary book that I selected in part based on Amazon's own extraordinary “referal” system. I have been richly rewarded. Although the book is completely out of my field, it has some blinding insights pertinent to my field, which is that of saving mankind by actualizing the World Brain envisioned by H. G. Wells.

This author, who earned the Nobel in 2000, has bridged the gap between biology of the mind, and psychology of the mind, but he has done much much more than that. This extraordinary book–perhaps I am alone in seeing this, but I believe it deeply–has finally articulated the connection between the health of the individual brain, and the health of mankind as a whole.

Although much of the book is too technical for my limited political science mind, what I see quite clearly is that this book is the manual for saving mankind's brain by focusing on three connected realities: the food that feeds the mind; the experience that educates the mind; and the visual cueing that stimulates the mind.

I have reviewed virtually all of the books on “wealth of knowledge” and knowledge as a catalyst for innovation and prosperity. What this book did for me was inspire a deeper sense of Hans Morgenthau's earlier focus on the population as the primary source of national power. I am reminded of George Will's Statecraft as Soulcraft as I contemplate the responsibilities of government for the nurturing of its population.

Here is the bottom line from this book as it applies to the future of mankind: the early years are CRITICAL to the ability to learn and innovate and prosper. Poverty will beget poverty UNLESS we work that triangle of food/water, experience, and visual stimulation (Note to the White House: Head Start).

As I read through this book I was acutely conscious of its relevance to the increasing “insanity” of society (see my reviews of Rage of the Random Actor: Disarming Catastrophic Acts And Restoring Lives and also the Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism.

I do not review this book as a medical book, but rather as a social construction book. It helped crystalize in my mind the absolute ignorance of governments that fail to see that the minds of their individual citizens are the ultimate source of national power.

One final note: the author speaks of the impact of behavior on the brain. I translate that into the good behavior of America as an impact on the world, and especially on hostile Islam and the Middle Eastern countries whose oil we have been stealing for over a century.

I lament any inappropriate hyperbole here, but this book has really moved me. It shows so clearly how isolated our diverse academic and scientific specialities are from each other, how ignorant our governments are of the fundementals of mind and brain.

Wow. My highest praise: relevant to the future of mankind.

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