Daniel BergnerAug 4, 2022
The Mind and the Moon
My Brother's Story, the Science of Our Brains, and the Search for Our Psyches
Why is our understanding of the mind so limited? How do cells become consciousness? What are the limitations of a biological model of the mind and its disorders?
In The Mind and the Moon: My Brother’s Story, the Science of Our Brains, and the Search for Our Psyches (Ecco, 2022), Daniel Bergner examines three riveting case studies in the context of the history of psychiatry and psychopharmacology. Alongside the story of his brother Bob’s struggle with bipolar disorder, we learn about Caroline, who is besieged by the hallucinations of psychosis, and David, an attorney who is engulfed by anxiety and depression. In telling their stories while describing the frontiers of brain research, Bergner shows how the pharmaceutical industry has played a key role in perpetuating a biological view of the mind and drug-based cures for its disorders – despite mediocre drug effectiveness, many challenging side effects, and questionable patient outcomes. The Mind and the Moon addresses fundamental issues of selfhood and identity in ways that will challenge basic beliefs about who we are and who we might be.
Steve Beitler’s work in the history of medicine focuses on how pain has been understood, treated, experienced, and represented. His recently published articles examined the history of opiates in American football and surveyed the history of therapeutic drugs. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.