Neural We: Single Neurons, Multiple Personalities, and Redefining the Species


Wherever you find a neuron, there - as a species - we are. It is time we say a Neural Namaste to our neural selves. It is time we – the neurons – dare to unconditionally anthropomorphize ourselves. We - the so-called "humans" - would get a better sense of who we are if we started thinking of ourselves as a “we” not an “I,” as a neural plurality rather than a neural monad. (Not, as a “royal we,” but as a “neural we”). The book is about playing with the definition of being human, about expanding our radius of identification across species, and about our place on the tree of life. 

The book was previously published under the title of "A Meeting of Neural Avatars," which is now included as a chapter in the book, along with the discussion of such topics as Steven Sevush's single-neuron theory of consciousness, multiple personalities (or Robert Ornstein's "multimind"), metazoan paradox of agency, possibility of single neuron cryonics, mirror neurons, "the fetish of cephalization," split-brain research, etc. 

About the author: Pavel Somov, PhD is a licensed psychologist in private practice, and the author of 7 self-help books on mindfulness-based self-help; he speaks domestically and internationally on the topics of mindfulness; Somov is on the Advisory Board of the Mindfulness Project (London, UK); he has also published in peer-reviewed journals. 

"'A Meeting of the Neural Avatars' is, neurally speaking, a mind-blowing trip. It just may redefine the distinction between me and you and we. A fascinating take on human connection and what it means to our mutual evolution." - Donald Altman, mindfulness teacher and author, The Joy Compass and One-Minute Mindfulness

A few sample lines from the "Neural Avatars:" 

"Anatomically speaking, you are a plurality (of neurons) that experiences itself as a oneness (of consciousness)." 

"The two (brains) become one (brain). A duality is collapsed. Oneness is achieved – literally, not metaphorically." 

"A Neural Tribe pow-wow – beyond language, beyond difference, beyond the illusion of separateness." 

"We have evolutionarily learned to walk the ten-thousand-words-long road of language. I have no doubt that sooner or later we can learn how to take the neural short-cut." 

"Oneness is a Pandora’s box of understanding." 

"Like Brahmin priests of the old days we ride on top of the cellular elephants of our own bodies. The lowly cells, we – the Neurons – have risen from the soil of the Earth and are comfortably ensconced in the loft-spaces of our skulls, looking down on each other, passing each other on the dusty road without a hello. So, let us notice each other in a Namaste of neural recognition."