The Dragons of Eden

ISBN: 0345281535
ISBN 13: 9780345281531
By: Carl Sagan

Check Price Now

Genres

Biology Evolution Favorites History Non Fiction Nonfiction Philosophy Psychology Science To Read

About this book

Dr. Carl Sagan takes us on a great reading adventure, offering his vivid and startling insight into the brain of man and beast, the origin of human intelligence, the function of our most haunting legends--and their amazing links to recent discoveries."A history of the human brain from the big bang, fifteen billion years ago, to the day before yesterday...It's a delight."THE NEW YORK TIMES

Reader's Thoughts

Ali Bari

لا حدود للمستقبل, لا مطلقات في الوعي, لا توقف في الزمنالبحث هو اداة الارتقاء الطبيعية للوعي.

Ashley

One of the most beautiful things I've ever read came from this book:"If the human brain had only one synapse-- corresponding to a monumental stupidity-- we would be capable of only two mental states. If we had two synapses, then 2^2 = 4 states; three synapses, then 2^3 = 8 states, and, in general, for N synapses, 2^N states. But the human brain is characterized by some 10^13 synapses. Thus the number of different states of a human brain is 2 raised to this power-- i.e., multiplied by itself ten trillion times. This is an unimaginably large number, far greater, for example, than the total number of elementary particles (electrons and protons) in the entire universe."

Ramy

كتاب اخر جميل من ابدع ما كتب العالم الجليل كارل ساجان هو واحد من العلماء الموسوعيينهو مسئول برنامج البحث و الاتصال بالكائنات الاخرى خارج نظامنا الشمسى فى ناساتخصصه فى الاتصال بالموجات الرادوية العابرة للمجرات و مع ذلك نجده يكتب فى الطبيعة و الاحياء و البيولوجية و التطور وا لوراثة و العادات الحضارية و الثقافية المتنقلة من جيل لاخركتابه هذا هو مجموعة من المقالات تتناول بالشرح وا لتفصيل تطور مخ الانسان من الناحية المادية hardware و من الناحية العاطفية و النفسية و الوجدانية وا لثقافية ال software و كيف ان اقدم اجزاء مخ الانسان و التى تطورت فوقها طبقات و طبقات لاحقة هو المركب ز او reptilian partالجزء الزواحفى الم تلاحظ من قبل اننا كبشر نهمس ب الصوت هووووووس hushعندما نريد الاخر ان يصمت الا يذكرك هذا الصوت بفحيح الثعبان....خوفنا الدائم من المرتفعات و حلم السقوط من عل المتكرر انما يعكس ماضى سحيق لاجدادنا فى الخوف منا لقفز ما بين الاشجار..... تفضيل رغبة النوم عن رغبة الجنس .... انعدام الرغبة فى الجنس عند التعرض لاخطار ...كلها موروثات مكنونة بداخلنا منذ عصور القفز ما بين الاشجار....العلاقة ما بين نصف المخ الايمن و النصف الايسر..و كيف ان الايمن يختص بما هو كامن فينا دون اى تعليم او ثقافة مسبقة هو جزء الحدس و الشك وا لريبة الغير مبررة وا لتى تاليا ما يتضح لها سبب منطقى بفضل اخوه النصف الايسر منا لمخ و هو المختص ب المنطق وا لحساب و اللغة .... و كيف ان الجسم الثمفى و هو مجرد لحمة عصبية من مئات الالاف الوصلات الدقيقة و التى تنقل الكهرباء ما بين نصفى المخ...لتعضيض عملهم و كيف انه فى حالات فصلها تماما تقل حالات الصرع عند المرضى به فقط لان الكهربا لا تعد تنتقل ما بين نصفى المخ ...و كيف لوحظ انهم صاروا اكثر هدؤا و لكن منهم ايضا ما فقدت معرفته اللغوية تماما يرى الكلمة و يقراها و لكنه لم يعد يدرى ما تعنى ....و جزء بروكا و هوا لمسؤل عن التركيب اللغوى و النحوى للجمل ....و الاميجدالا و هو نخاع و قلب العصب الشوكى و منطقة اتصاله بالمخ و كيف انها مسؤلة عن النزعات الحيوانية تماما بداخلنا ..... اصلنا الحيوانيو كيف ان الجزء الخاص بالشم عن الكلاب اضخم و اعقد منه عند البشر....و اننا حتى مع قدرتنا المحدودة للشم فاننا لا نستطيع التعبير عنها كفاية لغويا....و احلام كفيفى البصر و كيف انهم ان كانوا كذلك منذ المولد فهم يحلمون صوتيا فقط ...و الكثير وا لكثير من المعلومات المفيدةاقرا الكتاب فى الوقت ذاته بالترافق مع كتاب المخ ذكر ام انثى و الذى يضج بالكثير من نفس المعلومات مع فارق انه يشرح بالتفصيل الفروقات عند كل جنس فى نفس القدرات الدماغية

Marko Santos

This is the firs book I read from Carl Sagan, he certainly had a beautiful mind. I expected to read about hominids and how they started to use tools, and working in groups to gather food or hunt, instead Sagan spills his thoughts and knowledge about the human brain, things like the processing of language in the brain, the use of hemispheres, the development of abilities in the brain, even primates using sign language, and brain deceases. He then talks about machine intelligence (computers), and the possibility of evolved intelligent beings from distant galaxies.I'm always compelled when I read books from decades ago about scientific development, including discoveries, knowledge and technology. I read about a scientific breakthrough in a popular newspaper only to find out someone has been doing research or has proposed such possibilities decades ago, and to think that clever minds like Sagan have already pondered on these ideas a long time before.Sagan's tone is very friendly, it is a pleasure to find friendliness in science, but just as he was in his television shows he really enjoys wondering and traveling within his mind in the greatness of science, and he invites you to come along with him.PS. There a few amusing reference about marihuana, referring to the experiences of a user as an "informant".

Freddy

A look into the evolution of the human mind. Sagan closes the first chapter giving the reader a perspective on their position in history: If the history of the universe was represented by our 12-month year, the history of mankind would exist in the last second of the last minute of December 31. Exploring the pains of childbirth, warring subhuman species, and simplified understandings of how the human brain works, "The Dragons of Eden" is written in a way that anyone can enjoy (it was a NY Times bestseller) learning the basic psychology, anatomy, and history of how our minds work.

Sam Catanzaro

This book was written in 1977, so much of what Sagan writes about may be dated. This, however, does not matter. Despite any inaccuracies, this book is informative, but this is not what makes it a remarkable, Pulitzer prize winning work. Sagan is more than a really smart person. Along with clearly explaining complex things about the human brain, Sagan gives his own speculations and theories. Whether he is commenting on the future of human civilization or the relationship dreams and dragons, Sagan presents his theories in a manner that is hard to argue against. Because so much of the book is empirically based, Sagan gives himself a basis to make his claims. On top of this, Sagan himself admits that much of what he is saying is purely speculation, and should not be taken at face value. This in turn gives him a sense of modesty that is easy relate to. Throughout the book, Sagan references great thinkers like Plato and Aristotle, showing the utmost respect for them. I think years from now, Sagan may be regarded just as highly as Plato and Aristotle. He is a brilliant individual who presents ideas that are thought provoking and plausible.

Leland

Difficult to rate, because the science described has moved on so rapidly since 1977, the publication date. I read it in order to feel re-acquainted with Sagan's friendly tone in his effort to popularize science ( live a few blocks from the old KCET studios from the "Cosmos" era). In that regard, it is very ingenious and concise. And frankly, the underlying scientific concepts still need popularizing. Appreciation of genetic science, paleontology, and even psychiatry is now extremely low - "pop culture" has eclipsed science and introspection for too many of the decades since the '70s - so Sagan's hopeful tone evokes nostalgia now. He aspired to be a polymath as well as a popularizer, so at the time of publication, I remember that he was knocked down for straying away from astronomy. But he asked good questions here, and not all of his answers are outdated. He responds to Julian Jaynes, in a fashion. He warns against pseudo-science, which has only proliferated and put national policy at risk, since. Glad to have picked it up!

Timothy Davis

I had certainly heard of Carl Sagan, but only in terms of cosmology. I had no idea that he wrote extensively on the field of evolutionary biology-stimulated by his wife, the biologist Ann Druyan. My field is not science, so The Dragon's of Eden was my first encounter with the idea of the tripartite brain. The idea does not originate with Sagan, as he himself points out, but this slender volume makes the idea quite assessable for the lay person and, more importantly, it creatively explores the idea's possible implications. Although I read this book years ago, I have thought of it several times a week since then, as I speculate upon some of the biological causes of human behavior. Newer models of the brain have already proved some of the basic ideas in this book as a bit oversimplified, but if you are looking for an introduction to speculating about how the brain's evolution may shape human behaviors, this is great place to start. I found the book a "mind blower"-and I always pick it up used when I see it to give to friends. Prepare to have your perception of perception itself turned upside down.

Aaron Crossen

I read this when my family vacationed to Lexington like 8 years ago. I don't remember anything about it, other than it made me want to read Cosmos.

Robin

I feel strongly that this book should be included in mythology courses because better than any textbook I've ever encountered it addresses the connections that exist between mythology and science. Not to say that mythology is scientific, but rather the ways of viewing the world, both contemporary and historical, that human beings seem to return to again and again often are the way they are for very sound biological reasons.

Jenni

One of the lesser points Sagan introduces is the analytical check our "left" brain must impose on our "right" brain's more intuitive connections. Ironically I would argue that Sagan's hesitance to check himself was this book's biggest failure. Often he excitedly drew out connections, usually preceded by a phrase such as "I wonder," that do not stand his left-brained test of reason. With that said, I found the book worth the read. Sagan draws up a quick tour of human evolutionary lineage with a focus on our neocortical developments. He also always had a ready comparison to primates in order to morefully showcase what makes us "human". As always, the line is thinner and more vague than many more orthodox religions would like to believe. One major takeaway was the human ability, through the development of the neocortex, to have built-in "intelligence", I.e. analytical thinking, as compared to "instinct". Whereas instinctual information is programmed into tightly packed DNA (and is therefore limited in nature) and survives solely off adaptive selection, intelligence (or extragenetic info) resides in a larger brain capacity.. it is the ability to think on the fly and respond successfully to innumerable changing environments and situations. Sagan introduces many other varying ideas and usually does a good job supporting them scientifically. All in all, if you ignore anything he says about aliens or computers, it's a good read.

Jesse Markus

Almost forty years since its publication, this book is as fascinating and relevant as ever. Sagan is the best!

Mukesh Kumar

Pure bliss. In the inimitable manner of Carl Sagan, engrossing, enlightening and amusing in equal measure.

Stacey Mulvey

I'd read this book a few years ago, and loved it. It's a great introduction to brain anatomy, consciousness/subconsciousness, and evolution. An "easy" read, if any book that deals with these types of topics can be considered as such. Sagan is good at presenting complex material in an interesting and palatable way. It made me want to start paying more attention to my dreams. (He also relates one of his personal experiences of smoking marijuana, and his theories of the effects it might have on the brain and consciousness.)

Dave

I would recommend this book to those interested in a highly speculative supplemental essay (at best) disguised as a novel.

Share your thoughts

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *