Originally appeared in The Boston Book Review
Q&A Antonio Damasio: Homunculus Phobia
By the time you get "delivery" of consciousness for a given object, things have been ticking away in the machinery of your brain for what would seem like an eternity to a molecule -- if molecules could think. We are always hopelessly late for consciousness and because we all suffer from the tardiness no one notices it.
"The Feeling of What Happens"
HB: There can't be too many neuroscientists who allude to Derrida, as you do in your writing.
AD: I grew up with the idea that there's really no separation between professional activity in science and culture. I grew up reading a lot that was not professional -- novels, poetry, philosophy. I think that kind of reading is very helpful -- unless you're in some profession where the world of the mind does not count.
HB: Peter Brook blurbed your book. As you know, his last two plays -- "The Man Who," and "I Am a Phenomenon" -- are based on neurology.
AD: He's a brilliant figure and a very good example of a crossover of interest. He is involved in theater and in film-making because he's interested in human behavior and in the human mind, and he's involved in neuroscience because that amplifies his interests in the human mind. This has been long-standing. If you look at "Marat/Sade" he was already interested in mind and in disturbances of mind. Brook is a phenomenal intellect and who has been very interested in our work. We met a few times and helped him with the last play, which is about memory.
HB: Why is there so much interest in neuroscience these days?