The Body Has a Mind of its Own

How Body Maps in Your Brain Help You Do (Almost) Everything Better, by Sandra Blakeslee and Matthew Blakeslee

This month’s Great Read is a marvelous book about your body’s proprioceptive system, which helps you map and locate your body in space. This book helped Karla McLaren reframe the aura so that the concept of boundaries could be accessible to everyone.

Sandra and Matthew Blakeslee are science writers who can make even the most complex topics riveting. The Body Has a Mind of its Own explores the emerging science of body maps and our proprioceptive senses, and we learn about the ways our brains create maps of our bodies, our environment, our tools, our cars, the bodies of people we observe, and even our video game avatars!

The Blakeslees write this about our body maps: 

Just as road maps represent interconnections across the landscape, your many body maps represent all aspects of your bodily self, inside and out. In concert, they create your physical and emotional awareness and your sense of being a whole, feeling self in a larger social world.

Moreover, your body maps are profoundly elastic. Your self doesn’t begin and end with your physical body but extends into the space around you. This space morphs every time you put on or take off clothes, ride a bike, or wield a tool. When you drive a car, your personal body space grows to envelop it. When you play a video game, your body maps automatically track and emulate the actions of your character onscreen. When you watch a scary movie, your body maps put dread in your stomach and send chills down your spine. If your body maps fall out of sync, you may have an out-of-body experience or see auras around other people.

Each chapter will give you something to wonder at, and the book will open your mind about your mind, your brain, your skills, your sense of self, and your relationships to things and people in your environment. Excellent!

You can learn more or purchase The Body has a Mind of its Own here.

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