Book review: Govind Bhattacharjee, Story of Consciousness

AuthorB. P. Mathur
Published date01 March 2021
Date01 March 2021
Subject MatterBook Reviews
Indian Journal of Public
67(1) 132–144, 2021
© 2021 IIPA
Reprints and permissions:
DOI: 10.1177/0019556121996234
Book Reviews
Govind Bhattacharjee, Story of Consciousness. Noida, India: Vigyan
Prasar, 2019, 372 pp. `450.00.
The book, Story of Consciousness by Govind Bhattacharjee explores how human
beings’ consciousness has evolved over millions of years, which equip them with
mental attributes that make sentient beings different and distinct from the rest of
the living creatures and enable them to take charge of their destiny. The author
gives a bird’s eye view of advancement of knowledge from the time homo sapiens
appeared on planet earth, particularly from the age of enlightenment, in diverse
fields such as philosophy, psychology, biology and physics and the contributions
of great minds such as Rene Descartes, Sigmund Freud, Isaac Newton and Charles
Darwin, to name just a few.
The book explains in great detail that human consciousness is a function of
brain. Brain is a very sophisticated structure which has evolved over years and
gives humans power of abstract thinking. Brain is an incredibly complex part
of human body which has tremendous power to gather and process all sensory
data and take appropriate decision. The brain of human being has taken millions
of years to develop through an evolutionary process. The author describes how
the course of history, symbols and geometric configuration play an indispensable
role in shaping human consciousness. It is the brain which has given humans,
linguistics ability necessary to develop spirit of enquiry such as our origin, nature
of the world, meaning and purpose of life. Language shapes our destiny and gives
sophisticated cognitive ability with which we can think, form ideas, reflect and
engage in abstract thinking. Thus, it brings conscious awareness of the reality that
surrounds us.
Consciousness is a very complex subject, and great philosophers, physicists
and neuroscientists have defined, explained and even understood it in a widely
different manner. It is only through consciousness that human beings have
memory and emotions, which gives them their unique characteristics, different
than other species. The main purpose of memory is to collect information about
objects, events, people, environment through sensory inputs and remember these
for subsequent use. Nervous system has evolved for this specific purpose. Like
other inherited biological traits, human memory has a long evolutionary history
shared with other creatures. Emotions such as love, fear, anger and jealousy are
inherent to humans and handling emotion is one of the most complex capability of

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