The Embodied Mind: Understanding the Mysteries of Cellular Memory, Consciousness, and Our Bodies (Hardcover)
As groundbreaking synthesis that promises to shift our understanding of the mind-brain connection and its relationship with our bodies.
We understand the workings of the human body as a series of interdependent physiological relationships: muscle interacts with bone as the heart responds to hormones secreted by the brain, all the way down to the inner workings of every cell. To make an organism function, no one component can work alone. In light of this, why is it that the accepted understanding that the physical phenomenon of the mind is attributed only to the brain?
In The Embodied Mind, internationally renowned psychiatrist Dr. Thomas R. Verny sets out to redefine our concept of the mind and consciousness. He brilliantly compiles new research that points to the mind’s ties to every part of the body.
The Embodied Mind collects disparate findings in physiology, genetics, and quantum physics in order to illustrate the mounting evidence that somatic cells, not just neural cells, store memory, inform genetic coding, and adapt to environmental changes—all behaviors that contribute to the mind and consciousness. Cellular memory, Verny shows, is not just an abstraction, but a well-documented scientific fact that will shift our understanding of memory.
Verny describes single-celled organisms with no brains demonstrating memory, and points to the remarkable case of a French man who, despite having a brain just a fraction of the typical size, leads a normal life with a family and a job. The Embodied Mind shows how intelligence and consciousness—traits traditionally attributed to the brain alone—also permeate our entire being. Bodily cells and tissues use the same molecular mechanisms for memory as our brain, making our mind more fluid and adaptable than we could have ever imaged.
About the Author
Thomas R. Verny is a clinical psychiatrist and the author of eight of books, including The Secret Life of the Unborn Child, which was published in 27 countries and 47 scientific papers. He has previously taught at Harvard University, the University of Toronto, York University (Toronto), and St. Mary’s University.
“The human mind is broader than the brain, bigger even than the body. In this fascinating book, our guide takes us on a journey into the fully embodied nature of mental life, reviewing the cutting-edge science revealing how the body responds to and encodes experience into its structure and function. Filled with exciting summaries of the empirical support for the important view that our feelings, thoughts, and memories are shaped by physiological functions beyond those of our head-encased brain, this book invites us to 'think outside the box' and consider the body more than a transport vehicle for who we are, but rather one part of a much larger story than previously believed by contemporary scientific views of mind and self.”
— Daniel J. Siegel, M.D. NEW YORK TIMES Bestselling Author of INTRACONNECTED; MIND; MINDSIGHT, and AWARE, Executive Director of the Mindsight Institute
"Dr. Thomas Verny's The Embodied Mind is a fascinating, paradigm-shifting, mind-blowing exploration of human consciousness. Dr. Verny takes the reader on a thrilling expedition, surveying the latest research into epigenetics, the human brain, personality changes following heart transplantation, the microbiome, and so much more. The Embodied Mind demonstrates that the mind is not constrained to the brain, but rather is distributed throughout the human body. Anyone with an interest in the mind-body connection, consciousness, or the neurosciences will find The Embodied Mind a joyride that you won't want to end!"
— Mitchell Liester, M.D., Assistant Clinical Professor and Psychiatric Liaison, University of Colorado School of Medicine
“A wonderful book. Truly inspiring, and I am impressed by Dr. Verny’s very thorough literature research. He has conquered a complex topic, and reading The Embodied Mind is literally a mind-changing experience. Dr. Verny has a unique talent to inspire new ideas and challenge scientific orthodoxy. I heartily recommend The Embodied Mind to both scientists and lay readers.”
— Dr. Gerlinde A.S. Metz, PhD, Board of Governors Research Chair, Canadian Centre for Behavioral Neuroscience
"The Embodied Mind by Thomas Verney is a profoundly important synthesis revealing how cells utilize consciousness to not only manifest their life functions, but as importantly, to create a distributed nervous system that coordinates and supports life-sustaining behavior in multicellular communities, such as those comprising the human body. Verney’s insights on collective cellular consciousness and the role of epigenetics challenges the prevailing concept of reductionism and emphasizes the need for a more holistic, systemic approach in understanding human biology. I highly recommend The Embodied Mind as a compendium of knowledge that offers readers an opportunity to move beyond misperceived limitations in an effort to promote planetary health and harmony."
— Bruce H. Lipton, Ph.D., author of bestselling books, The Biology of Belief, Spontaneous Evolution (with Steve Bhaerman) and The Honeymoon Effect
"Dr. Thomas Verney is a genius scientist who courageously challenges the limitation of our psyche and consciousness. He is a visionary giving us a direction for our bright future answering R.D. Laing's question from "The Facts of Life" with his unprecedented research. This book is an absolute must-read, and as an obstetrician and gynecologist I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to reclaim sovereignty over our lives!"
— Dr. Akira Ikegawa, director of Ikegawa Clinic and representative director for the Prenatal Memory Education Association
“Even though I am not a native speaker, it is easy even for me to understand - I love reading it.”
— Michiko Hayashi
This is a superbly radical book, deeply researched and exquisitely clearly written. Even more so The Embodied Mind stands as a guideposted pilgrimage through nearly five decades' experience, introspection and explorations as a practicing psychiatrist and researcher whose best-selling The Secret Life of the Unborn Child, first published in 1981, still resonates today. The Embodied Mind is a terrific read, not least because Verny’s profound curiosity regarding the nature of human memory dovetails with the notion he rigorously advances: our bodies and mind, our emotions and our ruminations, our rational thought and culturally-endowed beliefs—all are of a piece, a complex of networked information, subject to free will and the environments we occupy, from a genetic fragment inside the individual cell’s DNA all the way to the most abstruse thinking humans can attain. We are, in stunningly elegant fashion, Verny maintains, not the result of predetermination but rather of a kind of genetic kaleidoscope, a kaleidoscope of genetic interplays subject to a
degree of voluntariness and emotional influence most readers will find remarkable. It’s early days yet but the outlines of a very different view of the human animal as a feeling creature who thinks and whose thoughts and emotions may well govern the threads of genetic expression is emerging. The Embodied Mind is a compelling journey into who we think we are (we aren’t); its destination is nothing less than who we might become.
— Brendan Howley