My rating: 3 of 5 stars
“Imagination is more important than intelligence,” said Albert Einstein, and this book is definitely very imaginative. Yet, there is no guarantee that imagination will lead one to any valid inference, or truth…and that maxim is also evidenced in this work.
Though written well, and often with disclaimers, this is a work that feeds and relies on speculation to reinforce the authors’ beliefs. In so doing, through inherent positive feedback, this work flies away from all rational, empirical, evidence into realms of unsupported fantasy.
Tachyons? Superluminal (faster than light) particles, emanated from microtubules in the brain (Stuart Hameroff, of Quantumconsciousness.org, a researcher into consciousness, will surely squirm at the mention of microtubules in combination with faster-than-light phenomena), forming a field of consciousness, the mind? Strange substances (of monoatomic element form) that are believed to repair DNA defects, and thereby rectify and rejuvenate cells? And all of this enhancing, and realizing, genius potential within the human brain? Clearly, fantasy has a way of running away with itself, forming its own world realities, and masquerading further as knowledge offered with seemingly humble disclaimers.
Conspiracy theories – or allusions to such – are also thrown in by the authors for good measure. What more evidence does one need to recognize this work for what it is? This reviewer cautioned the authors that an honest review of this book provided free of cost may be caustic if it does not pass a “BS test.” It is hard not to be hard on such frivolous work masquerading as scientific knowledge.
The authors begin with a debatable idea, that the “conscious” mind is slower than the “subconscious” mind. And with another myth, that humans only use a small fraction of their brains or their “minds.” Let’s focus on the first seemingly less controversial idea for the moment. If the authors mean that the brain’s frontal cortex is complex, with far more neurons and interconnections, and that it is therefore measured and constrained in its responses as compared with the limbic (or reptilian) brain that is instinctive and reactive, sure, the conscious, thoughtful, part of the brain is slower to react. But the authors make no such specific distinction, and rather claim that measurements in studies conducted (with NO references provided) have indicated that the subconscious mind processes information at the rate of about 11 million bits per second, while the conscious mind does so at 15 to 16 bits per second. Note the disparity: almost a million times slower. And this claim is made despite the overwhelming realization that this so-called division of “the mind” is a virtual partition within fundamentally the same neural matter, interconnection architecture, and electrochemical function!
Sorry, that – a million times slower – just doesn’t fly.
As for the other myth – that we use only a small fraction of our brains, say ~10% – this arises largely from very early analyses of images of slices of the brain showing activation in limited regions (neurons) for specific functions carried out. Hey – only a small portion of a slice of the brain shows activation, and therefore let’s conclude we only use a small portion of the brain. The rest is lying there unused. See how readily one may jump to ridiculous conclusions based upon minimal, early, information? No, further studies have indicated that the extreme efficiency of the brain in processing enormous amounts of information, its consumption of energy akin to an electric lamp of a few dozen candles of brightness, is very much because of this massive parallelism of its architecture, where almost three-quarters of the energy is spent in axons, in the interconnection between neurons, and only a quarter in the neurons themselves.
I won’t bore a diligent reader perusing this review with any more analysis of why this work is principally fiction, and speculation, and therefore to be read as such.
The book is, nevertheless, a collection of interesting beliefs, opinions, as well as a compendium of various known methods for improvement. These include enhancing attentiveness, learning capacity, and general intelligence through training, to use both intellect and imagination (separate functions of the right and left halves of the brain, which also has, to the extent researched, been deemed a myth), to trust intuition (gut instinct, subliminal knowledge), learning with movement (walking meditations, hands-on activity-based learning), meditation and yoga (to calm the mind, and develop greater clarity and focus), and dietary techniques. The authors leave out other important aspects of child development, such as a balance between artistic, sport, and academic accomplishments and the uniform development of all, the connection between music and mathematics, and, perhaps most importantly, the mysterious way in which vast general knowledge often contributes to specific problem solving.
This work, sadly, though lucid and interesting, is not one I can with a clear heart and mind recommend to diligent readers and seekers of knowledge.
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