Consciousness is a clever adaptation for life as a social ape. But like all adaptations, it has its limits. Lion claws and butterfly wings are made of tissue and proteins that require proper diet and maintenance to keep their integrity. Likewise, a fully functioning conscious system is a phemen that requires a well-urished neural substrate to keep it going. It is important to point out that a healthy brain is necessary but t sufficient for consciousness, because t all of the brain is conscious. There are great swaths of brain that are crucially important for maintaining the vegetative functions of homeostasis such as breathing, heartbeat, temperature, and sleep. With a hundred billion neurons and a hundred trillion synapses, the brain is the most complex adaptation kwn. Yet we kw shockingly little about how it enables the human mind to become conscious, make decisions, believe in God, and behave morally. However, recent discoveries in cognitive neuroscience, behavioral genetics, and evolutionary psychology are beginning to revolutionize old conceptions of nature and nurture, reason and passion, and automatic versus willfully chosen actions. Root of Thought will take readers on a remarkable journey through the landscape of the mind in search of its biological basis.
Henry Kong, MD was born in Seoul, South Korea, in 1968. He has been intrigued by the mysteries of the mind for as long as he can remember. He studied biology at MIT, philosophy at Oxford, and medicine at Rutgers. He is an internist in private practice in Toms River, New Jersey.