Looking for Spinoza: Joy, Sorrow, and the Feeling Brain

Looking for Spinoza: Joy, Sorrow, and the Feeling Brain, by Antonio Damasio, reviewed by .

Four pages of positive reviews should have made me aware of the enjoyable reading experience which was to follow. I would recommend reading chapters 6 and 7 first, then go back and start with chapter 1.

I was not familiar with Spinoza the Dutch philosopher. Chapter 6 was a well structured history of Spinoza's life and times. What made me understand the person was the detail about Spinoza keeping his parents' bed. The bed is a canopied, four poster bed with heavy curtains that may be drawn to transform it into a warm, isolated island, according to Antonio Damasio. Then comes the comment based on the movie Citizen Kane — "Spinoza never had to dream about a long lost Rosebud because he never had to let it go." A great compare and contrast statement drawing in the reader from contemporary times.

Page 277, reads as follows — "For some, Spinoza's solution is a superior means to render life meaningful and to make human society tolerable....Spinoza affirms life and turns emotion and feeling into a means for it nourishing, a nice mixture of wisdom and scientific foresight." The link from Spinoza to neurobiology and current brain studies was well structured.

The Appendices were worth a review. There was a time line showing before, during, and after Spinoza's life linking the history of ideas to the birth of the United States. There was detailed diagrams of the brain which would not normally appear in the index portion of books such as this. The glossary was not overwhelming to a non medical person. Happy Reading.