Courtesy of Laura McPhee/Benrubi Gallery

“In the Mind Fields is a brilliant and enthralling exploration of a scientific and philosophical conundrum that has preoccupied thinkers from Descartes to Freud to Oliver Sacks: the relationship between brain and mind. Weaving together intellectual history, science reporting, bits of memoir, and a deep reservoir of humane sympathy, Casey Schwartz brings readers along with her on a bracing quest to bridge psychoanalysis and neuroscience. A work of remarkable brio, wisdom, and wit, with gems of insight shimmering on nearly every page.”

- SCOTT STOSSEL,

Editor of The Atlantic Magazine and the author
Of My Age Of Anxiety: Fear, Hope, Dread, And The Search For Peace Of Mind


inside the book jacket

 
“Everywhere I looked it seemed that we were being defined by what our brains were doing . . . Everywhere, there were hucksters and geniuses, all trying to colonize the new world of the brain.”

“I’d never been a science person,” Casey Schwartz declares at the beginning of her far-reaching quest to understand how we define ourselves. Nevertheless, in her early twenties, she was drawn to the possibilities and insights emerging on the frontiers of brain research. Over the next decade she set out to meet the neuroscientists and psychoanalysts engaged with such questions as, How do we perceive the world, make decisions, or remember our childhoods? Are we using the brain? Or the mind? To what extent is it both?

With passion and humor, Schwartz explores the surprising efforts to find common ground. Beginning among the tweedy Freudians of North London and proceeding to laboratories, consulting rooms, and hospital bedsides around the world, Schwartz introduces a cast of pioneering characters, from Mark Solms, a South African neuropsychoanalyst with an expertise in dreams, to David Silvers, a psychoanalyst practicing in New York, to Harry, a man who has lost his use of language in the wake of a stroke but who nevertheless benefits from Silvers’s analytic technique. In the Mind Fields is a riveting view of the convictions, obsessions, and struggles of those who dedicate themselves to the effort to understand the mysteries of inner life.
 

'In the Mind Fields' is published by Pantheon Books


 

Read An Excerpt: The last thing we were assigned to read before Christmas was Freud’s evocative watershed paper, Mourning and Melancholia. In this dense work, Freud puzzles over the question of depression, though he doesn’t call it that, and what makes melancholia different than mourning. I fell into the text, taking in Freud’s formulations. Both mourning and melancholia, Freud says, are, to begin with, states of withdrawals from the world, and both are prompted by some real, external loss.  Read More