The Disappearing Self

Posted on December 13, 2011


Interesting book:  THINKING, FAST AND SLOW By Daniel Kahneman

From the NY Times book review by Jim Holt, November 25, 2011: “There may be no experiencing self at all. Brain-scanning experiments by Rafael Malach and his colleagues at the Weizmann Institute in Israel, for instance, have shown that when subjects are absorbed in an experience, like watching the “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly,” the parts of the brain associated with self-consciousness are not merely quiet, they’re actually shut down (“inhibited”) by the rest of the brain. The self seems simply to disappear. Then who exactly is enjoying the film?…”

A good story will do the same — shut down the self-consciousness and allow the self to disappear.

Combine this with what Henrik Ehrsson, a neuroscientist at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, discovered as described in  Out-of-body experience: Master of illusion

Henrik Ehrsson uses illusions to “probe, stretch and displace people’s sense of self.”

Seems we are wired to disappear  into fictional characters.

But then, you knew that.

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