“Physiology of Behavior,” – by Neil Carlson
“The last frontier in this world – and perhaps the greatest one – lies within us. The human nervous system makes possible all that we can do, all that we can know, and all that we can experience. Its complexity is immense, and the task of studying it and understanding it dwarfs all previous explorations our species has undertaken.
One of the most universal human characteristics is curiosity. We want to explain what makes things happen. In ancient times, people believed that natural phenomena were caused by animating spirits. All moving objects – animals, the wind and tides, the sun, moon, and stars – assumed to have spirits that caused them to move. As our ancestors became more sophisticated and learned more about nature, they abandoned this approach (animism) in favor of physical explanations for inanimate moving objects. But they still used spirits to explain human behavior.
From the earliest historical times, people have believed that they possess something intangible that animates them: a mind, or a soul, or a spirit. This belief stems from the fact that each of us is aware of his or her own existence. When we think or act, we feel as though something inside us is thinking or deciding to act. But what is the nature of the human mind?”