«Simplexity, as I understand it, is the range of solutions living organisms have found, despite the complexity of natural processes, to enable the brain to prepare an action and plan for the consequences of it. These solutions are simplifying principles that enable the processing of information or situations, by taking into account past experience and anticipating the future. They are neither caricatures, shortcuts, or summaries. They are new ways of asking questions, sometimes at the cost of occasional detours, in order to achieve faster, more elegant, more effective actions.» A. B.
As Alain Berthoz demonstrates in this profoundly original book, simplicity is never easy; it requires suppressing, selecting, connecting, thinking, in order to then act in the best way possible.
And what if we, in turn, are inspired by the living world to process the complexity that surrounds us?
«I wrote this book out of my experiences during thirty years of teaching at the Collège de France.
In it I look both at culture and art - music and painting - as well as life in society, ethics, and the meaning of death; languages and writing, as well as the neural and molecular bases of memory and learning.
This book is a fresco that brings together a great amount of varied data, discussions, and hypotheses. It anchors the substance of contemporary science in the history of a range of disciplines: neurology, ethology, the biology of evolution, the biology of development, the study of consciousness, as well as experimental psychology and genomics.
Finally, this book attempts to show that it is up to us to relentlessly inspire the minds of humans to invent a future that will enable humanity to attain a life of more solidarity, a happier life for and with each one of us.» J.-P. C.
«In this book I examine the extraordinary saga of life on Earth in the light of the most recent scientific discoveries. This saga has resulted in the extraordinary success of our species, and in the mortal threats that it has posed for the future.
By favoring immediate benefits, to the detriment, sometimes, of long-term advantages, natural selection, in my opinion, is the source of this remarkable success, but also of the perils that come out of it.
Modern science has established the implausibility of the Biblical tale for the origins of human beings; it has not, however, invalidated the intuition that inspired it. Humanity is, infact, tainted by an intrinsic defect, by a genetic «original sin,» that threatens to lead to its demise. We do indeed need redemption to save us, but it can only come from humanity itself.
We must find in the resources of our minds a wisdom that is not inscribed in our genes.» C. de D.
The book of a great biologist, but also of a moralist.