Beyond Self

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Neuropsychologist Paul Broks discusses the limits and potential of a scientific theory of the self in an interview with Gay Watson, author of The Resonance of Emptiness: A Buddhist Inspiration for a Contemporary Psychotherapy.

In your book, Into the Silent Land, you use the phrase “imagination infiltrates intellect” to describe the radical shift in perspective, the sense of awe and wonder, one might experience upon viewing the earth from space. I think this idea of the interplay of imagination and the intellect sums up the approach of the whole book. Would you agree?

I’ll accept that, yes. It was an attempt to skirt around some of those really ineffable questions. Partly it was an attempt to puncture some of the hubris that says that the intellect is at the center of the brain. We can speak very articulately about perception and language, action and memory, but we don’t really have a theory of the self.

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