When greatly believed that humans exists through an individual

When a newborn infant eyes roam around a room, Bruce Hood writes, the infant does necessarily know where to look. Instead, the author informs the reader that newborns are not aware how to make those decisions. Rather, Hood insists that our environment plays an important role to our interpretation of the world; such as our influence on others around us. Hence, throughout child development, the child eventually develops consciousness to control their mind and body. Bruce Hood, director of the Cognitive Development Centre at Bristol University, considers the possibility of various ways human brain can influence ones decision to use others identity to create its own. In The Self Illusion, Hood argues this idea throughout the novel. Throughout this novel, Hood examines diverse what self defines as: a soul, a collection of memories, experiences, personality and free will, thus he concludes that one only exist as a combination made up of patterns in life that shapes you. Although our brain is made to have the ability to construct a sense of self, Bruce Hood examines the possibility of our environment as a big influence that help shape who we are. Additionally, Bruce Hood writes that, “people shape themselves to fit other people’s perception” (Hood), in which the self is illusory. Thus, Hood believes that if you start to take each things that define who you are, “you” as a self would eventually fail to exist. Aswell, Hood writes that it does not necessarily mean that you do not exist, rather you exist as a combination of all the others around you who complete your sense of self. In this case, these are ones memories and experiences that help shape an individual. However, Hood’s main argument is that these memories and experiences are not always reliable thus the definition ‘self’ is not as accurate as it seems. The author talks about internal self relating it back to philosopher Dan Dennett belief in his novel, the illusion of the Cartesian Theater, after the famous French philosopher, Rene Descartes, who greatly believed that humans exists through an individual possessing our consciousness. Bruce Hood consult this internal self as the homunculus, he believes that the reality of self to be invalid simply because there can be no single individual inside our hear for the purpose that our homunculus would require an inner self as well. As a result this faces the issue of infinite regression with no end, thus restating the problem with the thesis where our ‘self’ is simply an illusion. Bruce Hood believes that we are made up of our memories and experiences, however, this results to be invalid as throughout our life, our stories are continuously changing and reshaping those memories. The main argument of this book is that the sense of self is simply an illusion. The entire novel focuses around this single point. Although, it is verifiable that nothing in the universe is stable and permanent. The idea that the self is made up of our social interaction in our environment, through this we develop our ‘self’ through childhood, adolescents, relationship with parents, peers and surrounding culture has been a long establish belief in Western psychology. Besides, Freudian thinking belief was also based upon the idea of social development are interconnected to the development of self (“Sigmund Freud”). Likewise, Heinz Kohut made similar intuition of importance of  other influence to our self development and its influence to our psychoanalytic thinking (“Heinz Kohut”). The Self Illusion, blatantly ignore these previous remarks that had been around Western psychology. Most of the context in the book, The Self Illusion consists of various anecdotes, research, social psychological and neuropsychology experiments to disprove the hypothesis of human self. Instead of humans communication without controlled reasons, often healthy human being contains a networked of interconnected complex zones that continue to provide personality and help with human responsiveness. Ironically, Bruce Hood provides a fair understanding of the sense of self as “web”, a “culmination of the interaction of a multitude of hidden factors ranging from genetic inheritance, life experiences, current circumstances…patterns of neuronal activity in the brain…a matrix of distributed networks…” and he adds, “…The resulting sums of these complex interactions are the decisions and choices that I make.” He reminds us that the human being, that the human brain has the complexity to ever predict a future.  As he discusses that the human brain has”no core self at the helm”, however, there is in fact a system that intergrates various complexity.Additionally, throughout this book consists of various evidence that compels the subject ‘self’ to be unreliable, inconsistent, in other words non-uniform. In my opinion, none of these are logical arguments against the existence of the self. Over the years, philosophers have raised questions about personal identity and the self. Some bearing the idea of having the self define as our genetic code or through neurobiology, while some argue that it is rather psychological such as memories, plans or projects and some debate that self is spiritual. Philosophers such as John Locke, believes that self identity is a matter of psychological continuity. Similar to Bruce Hood, he considered the “self” to be founded on consciousness such as memory and experiences, rather through neurobiology or spiritually.  (Nimbalkar). Where as, David Hume’s idea of self identity derived from Hume’s bundle of theory of the mind. Hume’s theory of mind essentially states that the mind is build up by multiple perceptions, he believes that all “you” are is a bunch of successive perceptions. However, a main argument just like the memories is that no perception are reliable nor persistent (Di Maria et al). The issue of personal identity or the self has always been an issue for many philosophers. Albeit, Bruce Hood questions our belief of self and identity, arguing that they are shaped far more by our environment or social interaction than we care to admit. Additionally, it takes the belief further saying that our brain is what really control us, whether this is through unconscious or subconscious, rather that this ‘self’ seems to be the one in control. Hood argues that the ‘self’ is simply just the mouthpiece. Although Bruce Hood explains his view of self identity through its extent complexity, aside from his anecdotes and his view of self identity through neurobiology, it would be interesting if the author delved into an explanation of humans feel at lost without interaction with the world. As well why we feel inside our “Self” even when our Self is the creation of what is outside of us. I recommend this book for next year’s students as it provides a rather exhaustive look at who we are, how we form our identities and our actions, and how our brain works. Bruce Hood explores the theme of self being an illusion through various psychological research thus providing an exhaustive amount of information for students unfamiliar with the topic of self identity. However, I would not recommend this book for students with any psychological background as they may be intimately familiar with the topic.

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