Quotes by Sandra Blakeslee

"The illusion of the self isn’t that there is no such thing as you. Nor does the illusion of free will mean that you cannot make choices. Instead, the illusion is that the self and free will are not really what they seem to be from your, the “end user’s,” perspective. The illusion of free will is that free will has infinite scope, rather than being a flexible set of feedback loops between higher-order body maps and emotional and memory-storage systems in the brain. The illusion of the self is that self is a kernel, rather than a distributed, emergent system."
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"Language can often seem abstract and transcendent of the body, the world, and even time itself. But language is more closely tied to your body mandala than you may realize, especially where its acquisition during childhood is concerned. If you read the verb “lick,” your tongue area will light up. If you hear someone say “kick,” it activates your leg areas. Christian Keysers, a mirror neuron researcher at the University Medical Center Groningen in the Netherlands, says that mirror neurons may very well be a key precursor to abstract thought and language. For example, he explains, you use the word “break” as a verb as in “I see you break the peanut, I hear you break the peanut, and I break the peanut.” The constant is the mental simulation of breaking even though the context varies in each case. So your body is the foundational source of meaning—not just of words and actions but even the meanings of things you learn about through your eyes, ears, and bodily experience."
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"Many people seeing the sensory homunculus for the first time comment on (even object to) how small the genitals are. They expect that these organs would merit an allotment of territory commensurate with their sensitivity and the disproportionate mindshare they command. The confusion comes from the multiple meanings of the word "sensitive." Sensitive can refer to high acuity. Your fingers, lips, and tongue are sensitive in this sense: generously packed with somatic receptors of every type, able to make extremely fine discriminations. Your genitals are extremely sensitive in a different sense. A penis and a clitoris can tell the difference between one finger and two, but they can't read Braille."
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Books by Sandra Blakeslee

  • On Intelligence
  • 6,354 ratings
  • August 1st 2005 by St. Martin's Griffin

    (first published 2004)

Sandra Blakeslee
  • Sandra Blakeslee

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