The great scientific revolution of the last five hundred years, with its technological glories and medical miracles, has landed upon a set of summary conclusions—or some slightly tweaked variations—depicting a random, indifferent, and wholly impersonal cosmos.
The world, we are told, is made up of particles and forces. Evolution, impelled by the single purpose of survival, is guided by chance through natural selection. DNA directs the chemical–mechanical unfolding of life. Consciousness and self, artifacts of the brain's firing neurons, are essentially inconsequential.
This is a picture that has been fraying at the edges for some time. Progress in medicine, quantum physics, open-systems biology, consciousness studies, epistemology, the arts and philosophy all point in a radically different direction. But fresh, coherent narratives have not yet fully emerged out of this progress, and so the old model stubbornly endures.
Hearts and Minds tells a tale of emerging discoveries—discoveries that restore our own self and consciousness as integral to the workings of the world.
1. Hamlet and the H-bomb
2. Mechanical Pump/Computer Brain—How We Got Here
3. That Perception Fallacy Again
4. The Fallacy in the Stages of Human Evolution
5. Cut to the Chase
6. Real Science
7. It’s Time to Listen to the Dummy—What It Means When the Modest Placebo Speaks
8. Consciousness? Fuhgeddaboudit
9. Trouble in Billiard Ball Land
10. The Quiet Downfall Continues
11. Hearts—It’s in the Details
12. Legos or Layers?
13. Hamlet and the H-Bomb
14. A Touch More on Magic Mushrooms/Worlding
15. Finally the Stool, but on Rollers
“Hearts and Minds champions novel research revealing the importance of consciousness in the elaboration of health and illness. It also exposes pernicious resistance to these findings from conventional science and medicine—and offers solutions. No medical approach can be complete if it does not incorporate these vital trends. Highly recommended!”—Larry Dossey, MD, author of One Mind
“A rollicking ride through the philosophical and conceptual quandaries that quantum mechanics has brought to modern science...fresh, conversational, and peppered with penetrating and homely insights, while clearly bringing out the need for going beyond the reductionist paradigm in science.”—Gopi Krishna Vijaya, PhD, Physicist–researcher, Reciprocal System Research Society, Salt Lake City
“I thoroughly enjoyed and admire this compelling book. By thinking and writing with heart and mind, Alexander restores our stereopsis, the depth of field that medical science neither practices nor admits. Here, Alexander brilliantly does both.”—Robert McDermott, Ph.D., President Emeritus, California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) and author of Steiner and Kindred Spirits
“Ours is an age of general distrust of expertise and…a particular distrust of medical expertise. For that reason, Alexander’s dispatches from the front lines of today’s medical research and pharmacological trials will be of close interest to every reader.” —Fred Dennehy, associate editor of Being Human (from a review the book in #23 summer/fall 2019)
“Hearts and Minds: Reclaiming the soul of science and medicine...is a remarkable book. Alexander...takes us directly into an exploration of a central question of our time: Is everything—most important, consciousness (including thinking, feeling, meaning, and values) produced ultimately by dead matter in motion—by neurons, molecules, DNA, hormones, etc?... [Or] is consciousness a reality in its own being, capable, in fact, of having causal effects on the material itself, most especially on the material, human body? [Hearts and Minds] is a rich offering—always exciting, well-told.... Alexander’s own light touch of humor and irony are a delight, and more than that, serve as a kind of surgical scalpel, which he deftly wields to cut clearly to the most important issues of heart and mind.
“A remarkable book that takes us directly into an exploration of a central question of our time: Is everything—most important, consciousness (including thinking, feeling, meaning, and values)—produced ultimately by dead matter in motion, by neurons, molecules, DNA, hormones, etc.? [Or] is consciousness a reality in its own being, capable, in fact, of having causal effects on the material itself, most especially on the material human body? This is a rich offering—always exciting, well told.” —Douglas Sloan, PhD, Professor of History and Education Emeritus at Teachers College, Columbia University
WALTER ALEXANDER, a New York City–based veteran medical journalist, covers clinical research across a range of specialties, including cardiology, oncology, and integrative medicine. After beginning in fiction and education, his writing career, as evidenced in Hearts and Minds (2019), reflects Walter's lifelong interests in his studies of the life sciences and medicine, astronomy, music, literature, the visual arts, epistemology, and consciousness.