Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Phi: A Voyage From the Brain to the Soul

by Giulio Tonio, MD
I first read about Giulio Tonio in an article about anesthesia, specifically about the horror of waking up from anesthesia while the operation is still in progress. He is working on a method whereby anesthesiologists can accurately assess the level of awareness in their patients. Dr. Tonio, a psychiatrist and sleep specialist, is the Distinguished Chair in Consciousness Studies at the University of Wisconsin. He has a keen interest in mind and how it is generated from the matter of brain.
His book “Phi: A Voyage From the Brain to the Soul”, is a beautifully annotated exploration of that which does and does not constitute consciousness. Definitely not a bedtime read; you’ll need all your wits about you to follow along with a fictional Galileo as he wanders through time and space in search of the soul while in the company of various illustrious guides including Francis Crick, Marcel Proust, and the explorer Ernest Shackleton. 

I borrowed it from the library; I recommend you do the same.  If life was long enough to revisit books again and again, I’d buy a copy and revisit it once a year.

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