Novel Notes: Incognito, The Secret Lives of the Brain

If I could go back in time and yell one thing at high school era me it would be this: “Pursue a career is psychology, not electronics! Trust me. I’m you from the future.” Yep. If I ever get a time machine, that’s totally happening. I don’t care how much damage it does to the timeline.

Anyway, I have an armchair interest in psychology and mental health topics these days. Initially, I was a little worried this book would be over my head since I have no formal education in the psychology area. On of my best friends at the time told me I wouldn’t have any trouble with the topics, and would likely enjoy it. And yep, they were right! I also miss talking to them a lot and really hope they’re doing well with the world falling apart and whatnot. Alas.

Not gonna lie, the subject matter did send me on an existential crisis (or two… maybe three) but I learned A LOT about how our minds work. Reality is seriously merely an illusion, my friends. We only see what our brain shows us. Wrapping my head around that concept was quite a trip.

We are in constant arguments with ourselves over decisions, most of our vision comes from our brain Photoshopping the raw data from our eyes, and we have so very little control over what our brain processes in the background, well beyond the reach of our conscious selves.

The author, David Eagleman, does a superb job of explaining his perspective on things, often including fun mind puzzles and optical illusions to illustrate his points (although my eBook format had some issues displaying some of these). Just remember, this is a straight white man’s perspective on things. Some readers may get a little annoyed when he talks about how our minds process sexual attraction and racism. I know I certainly took some offense, but I don’t fault the man for stating his honest opinions in what he seems to think is a respectful way.

Overall, this is a great read if you’re interested in getting some easily understandable science knowledge about how we are who we are. If you’re struggling with depression and other other mental health issues, learning how you think can help you come up with a few coping mechanisms of your own. That’s no substitute for professional help, though. Always seek that out if you ever find yourself lost in those dark feelz.


This post is proudly part of the Blapril 2020 blogging community event created by the badass Belghast!


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