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The mystery of consciousness

Nicholas Humphrey's latest book on the mystery of consciousness travelled with me to Crete, Latvia and America. And the intellectual journey it took me on has half-persuaded me that his evolutionary approach will one day provide an answer

By Paul Broks   April 2007

One day I’ll be dead. The thought swirled by on a summer’s evening in Crete. There was cold beer at my elbow and my sandalled feet were up against the trunk of a pine. A book lay open in my hands but I wasn’t reading. I was noticing colours: the bark running blue-grey to rust, the red geranium. I was noticing insects and animals: the tiny green bug on my forearm, the microscopic orange thing that dropped on to the book, no bigger than a full stop, the ginger cat stretching in the shade. The air was filled with the…

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