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“This is the very essence of memory: its self-referential base, its self-consciousness, ever evolving and ever changing, intrinsically dynamic and subjective.”
BY MARIA POPOVA
“One can’t write directly about the soul,” Virginia Woolflamented. “Looked at, it vanishes.” A century later, we may have rendered the notion of the soul unfashionable — arguably, to our own detriment — but the puzzlement at the heart of Woolf’s observation hasn’t left us. If anything, we’ve recontextualized it asthe problem of consciousness and taken it to the neuroscience lab, where it has only grown more perplexing — for, as Marilynne Robinson observed in her magnificent meditation on consciousness, the usefulness of the soul, and the limits of neuroscience, “on scrutiny the physical is as elusive as anything to which a name can be given.”