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The Strange Order of Things: Life, Feeling, and the Making of Cultures


Antonio Damasio

In conversation with Manuel Castells, University Professor, USC

What moved humans to create cultures—intelligent systems including the arts, morality, science, government, and technology? The answer to this question has typically been the human faculty of language, but preeminent neuroscientist, professor, and director of USC’s Brain and Creativity Institute Antonio Damasio argues that feelings―of pain and suffering or of anticipated pleasure―were the prime engines that stirred human intellect in the cultural direction. In his newest book The Strange Order of Things, Damasio traces the need for cultures back to one-cell organisms, long before there were nervous systems and conscious minds. Damasio will be joined by Manuel Castells, one of the world’s leading sociologists, for a fascinating conversation on the origins of life, mind, and culture that spans the biological and social sciences to offer a new way of understanding the world and our place in it.