Renowned neuroscientist Miguel Nicolelis introduces readers to a revolutionary new theory of how the human brain evolved to become an organic computer without rival in the known universe. Nicolelis undertakes the first attempt to explain the entirety of human history, culture, and civilization based on a series of recently uncovered key principles of brain function. This new cosmology is centered around three fundamental properties of the human brain: its insurmountable malleability to adapt and learn; its exquisite ability to allow multiple individuals to synchronize their minds around a task, goal, or belief; and its incomparable capacity for abstraction.
Combining insights from such diverse fields as neuroscience, mathematics, evolution, computer science, physics, history, art, and philosophy, Nicolelis presents a neurobiologically based manifesto for the uniqueness of the human mind and a cautionary tale of the threats that technology poses to present and future generations.
Miguel Nicolelis is the Duke School of Medicine Distinguished Professor of Neuroscience and Duke University Professor of Neurobiology, Biomedical Engineering, and Psychology and Neuroscience. In 2004, Scientific American elected him as one of the twenty most influential scientists in the world.
"The scope of this book is impressive [...] it provokes us to think deeply about our views on what we consider as reality."
– John H. Kaas, Vanderbilt University
"Miguel is proposing an Enlightenment of the 21st century, in which all the old values of human society are reassessed and new values are proposed based on how the human brain is the measure of all things."
– Gordon Shepherd, Yale Medical School, author of Creating Modern Neuroscience: The Revolutionary 1950s
"Nicolelis's neuroscientific descriptions that form the basis of his theories expand and transcend current thinking in neuroscience – a characteristic that has epitomized his scientific career."
– Ron Frostig, University of California Irvine
"In a sweeping style befitting his passion for neuroscience, Miguel Nicolelis takes the reader on a journey across his decades of scientific inquiry regarding a most amazing organ and into a future he foresees, challenging contemporary thinking. E pur si muove."
– Marshall G. Hussain Shuler, Johns Hopkins University
"Miguel Nicolelis' marvelous book is a great adventure story about the brain's central role in creating our conception of the universe and its contents; it is colorful, electrifying and deep. He's one of our great scientific adventurers and this book leverages his expertise and passion in formulating a theory on the origins of everything."
– Asif A. Ghazanfar, Professor of Neuroscience, Psychology and Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University