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The Hidden Spring: A Journey to the Source of Consciousness
Mark Solms
W W Norton & Co / Hardcover / 2021-02-01 / 0393542017
Neuroscience / Psychoanalysis
reg price: $38.95 our price: $ 35.06
352 pages
In Stock (Ships within one business day)

A revelatory new theory of consciousness that returns emotions to the center of mental life.

For Mark Solms, one of the boldest thinkers in contemporary neuroscience, discovering how consciousness comes about has been a lifetime’s quest. He has now arrived at an astonishing answer. While sticking closely to the medical facts, Solms proves to be a frank and fearless guide on an extraordinary voyage from the dawn of psychoanalysis to the cutting edge of contemporary neuroscience.

He introduces you to neurological patients whose uncanny conversations reveal much about the brain’s obscure reaches. Venturing into the elementary physics of life, he finds surprising confirmation of some of Sigmund Freud’s most provocative insights. Most importantly, you will be able to recognize the workings of your own mind for what they really are, including every stray thought, pulse of emotion, and shift of attention. More than a philosophical argument, the Free Energy theory will profoundly alter your understanding of your own subjective experience.


Intriguing…There is plenty to provoke and fascinate along the way.—Anil Seth, Times Higher Education

This is truly a remarkable book. It changes everything.—Brian Eno

[R]emarkably clear, accommodating and exciting to read…The Hidden Spring provides a necessary reminder that rational thinking isn't all it seems to be. —Jess Keiser, Washington Post

Nobody bewitched by these mysteries [of consciousness] can afford to ignore the solution proposed by Mark Solms…Fascinating, wide-ranging and heartfelt.—Oliver Burkeman, Guardian

A remarkably bold fusion of ideas from psychoanalysis, psychology, and the frontiers of theoretical neuroscience that takes aim at the biggest question there is. Solms will challenge your most basic beliefs.—Matthew Cobb, author of The Idea of the Brain: The Past and Future of Neuroscience

Solms’s efforts…have been truly pioneering. This unification is clearly the direction for the future.—Eric Kandel, Nobel laureate for Physiology and Medicine

This treatment of consciousness and artificial sentience should be taken very seriously.—Karl Friston, scientific director, Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging

Solms’s vital work has never ignored the lived, felt experience of human beings. His ideas look a lot like the future to me.—Siri Hustvedt, author of The Blazing World

To say this work is encyclopedic is to diminish its poetic, psychological and theoretical achievement. This is required reading.—Susie Orbach, author of In Therapy

At last the emperor has found some clothes! For decades, consciousness has been perceived as an epiphenomenon, little more than an illusion that can't really make things happen. Solms takes a thrilling new approach to the problem, grounded in modern neurobiology but finding meaning in older ideas going back to Freud. This is an exciting book.—Nick Lane, author of The Vital Question

About the Author:

Mark Solms is director of neuropsychology, Neuroscience Institute at University of Cape Town; honorary lecturer in neurosurgery, St Bartholomew’s and Royal London Hospital School of Medicine; and honorary Fellow, American College of Psychiatrists. He lives in Cape Town, South Africa.

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