A British neuroscientist builds the argument that we do not perceive the world as it objectively is, but rather that we are prediction machines, constantly inventing our world and correcting our mistakes by the microsecond, and that we can now observe the biological mechanisms in the brain that accomplish this process of consciousness.
... neuroscientists are investigating the mysterious quality and trying to answer the hard question of how consciousness arises in the first place. If this all sounds a bit hard going, it’s actually not at all in the masterly hands of Seth, who deftly weaves the philosophical, biological and personal with a lucid clarity and coherence that is thrilling to read ... This much-anticipated book lays out his radical theory of our invented reality with accessible and compelling writing ... This is still an emerging science and Seth is generous to his fellow navigators, including those with competing theories, as he gently and persuasively walks us through the optical illusions, magic tricks and fascinating experiments that build his case ... We perceive ourselves to control ourselves, is Seth’s often counterintuitive but nevertheless convincing argument in this meticulously researched book. However, we are just as importantly the perception of others ... an exhilarating book: a vast-ranging, phenomenal achievement that will undoubtedly become a seminal text.
If you only read one book about consciousness, it must be [Seth's] ... Mr. Seth is meticulously precise in his use of language, for the purposes of clarity and rigor ... But to call these representations [of consciousness] 'hallucinations' invites the misunderstanding that we never have a grip on reality at all. Such minor concerns aside, Being You is an impressive work that handles complex issues with exceptional insight and beautiful clarity. Mr. Seth’s chapter on free will should be read ahead of any book-length treatment of the subject ... 'Every time science has displaced us from the center of things,' he says, 'it has given back far more in return.' It’s a truth that this book exemplifies on every luminescent page.
Seth covers complex topics, such as neurosurgery, mind-altering drugs, animal consciousness and artificial intelligence, with skill and warmth ... Seth’s fluent and accessible analysis, to be joined next year by a new book by David Chalmers on the nature of reality, leaves me optimistic that science will eventually unveil how, in Koch’s words, 'a three-pound organ with the consistency of tofu exudes the feeling of life'.