“You Are Not Your Brain.”

January 2, 2011 at 6:39 am (By Amba)

My fascinating friend Dr. Jeffrey Schwartz — very serious, ebullient and funny — may be doing some of the most important thinking and discovering on the planet.  You Are Not Your Brain is the title of his next book, coming out in June.  This long video is completely enthralling to me.  It’s about basic stuff like mood, addictions, and overeating, and how much choice and control we actually have.

Jeff’s companion in the video is Kellie Madison, a young filmmaker who is raising funds for a dramatic (not documentary) movie, Machine Man, about a man tormented by obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD, Jeff’s specialty as a neuropsychiatrist) and redeemed by love.  If you’re interested in the subject of OCD, she and Jeff discuss it at greater length here.  A fascinating topic of both videos is Jeff’s work with Leo DiCaprio to prepare for the film The Aviator, whose subject, Howard Hughes, was an unknowing victim of OCD.  With today’s understanding of the disorder, to which Jeff has been a major contributor, he would not have had to be.


  1. Maxwell James said,

    Makes sense to me. The brain is so complex that it’s impossible to find a specific “I” in it anyway.

    OTOH, if I were to write a book along the same lines, it would probably be called “‘You’ do not exist.”

  2. amba (Annie Gottlieb) said,

    That’s what the Buddhists say, and they’ve got a point. If you strip away the layers of “conditioned existence,” most of what we ttreasure as “I” is an accretion, not an essence.

  3. PatHMV said,

    Can I anticipate a sequel entitled: “But You Are Your Genitals”? They seem to make a lot of decisions for many of us, much of the time.

  4. amba12 said,


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