• Hardcover: 416 pages
• Publisher: Harper Wave (April 12, 2016)
Why do we think, feel, and act in ways we wish we did not?
For decades, Dr. David A. Kessler has studied this question with regard to tobacco, food, and drugs. Over the course of these investigations, he identified one underlying mechanism common to a broad range of human suffering.
This phenomenon—capture—is the process by which our attention is hijacked and our brains commandeered by forces outside our control.
In Capture, Dr. Kessler considers some of the most profound questions we face as human beings: What are the origins of mental afflictions, from everyday unhappiness to addiction and depression—and how are they connected?
Where does healing and transcendence fit into this realm of emotional experience?
Analyzing an array of insights from psychology, medicine, neuroscience, literature, philosophy, and theology, Dr. Kessler deconstructs centuries of thinking, examining the central role of capture in mental illness and questioning traditional labels that have obscured our understanding of it.
With a new basis for understanding the phenomenon of capture, he explores the concept through the emotionally resonant stories of both well-known and unknown people caught in its throes. The closer we can come to fully comprehending the nature of capture, Dr. Kessler argues, the better equipped we are to eventually alleviate its deleterious effects and successfully change our thinking and behaviors.
Ultimately, Capture offers insight into how we form thoughts and emotions, manage trauma, and heal. For the first time, we can begin to understand the underpinnings not only of mental illness but also of our everyday worries and anxieties.
Capture is an intimate and critical exploration of the most enduring human mystery of all: the mind.
Praise “Kessler proposes an original theory of the mind. His cogent argument is that a great deal of the apparently inexplicable behavior of human beings is the result of impulses, drives, and obsessions that may share fundamental neural and psychodynamic mechanisms. This carefully researched book is both startling and engaging, and is written with brio.”—Andrew Solomon, National Book Award-winning author of The Noonday Demon
“In this richly documented, beautifully written, and original work, David Kessler has given us an idea that explains one of the most strange and most powerful processes in the human brain.”—E. O. Wilson, University Professor Emeritus, Harvard University
“Capture is a breakthrough book. In a world of increasingly specialized knowledge, it takes a particular gift and some stubbornness to cut across the fields of neuroscience, psychiatry, philosophy, and psychology, and to ask the fundamental question: Why is it that we allow our best selves to be captured and torpedoed by thoughts and actions that sink us? Kessler’s exploration of the question makes for a compelling read. His ultimate answer is profound and one that could be life changing and life saving. I know I will be handing this book out for just that reason.”—Abraham Verghese, MD, author of Cutting for Stone
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When the brain malfunctions it switches from planned, goal oriented thought to impulsive, them compulsive thoughts and how the process begins is with capture.
Once you begin to read this book be prepared for your mind to rev up and go in unexpected directions. It is amazing how much can be researched and written about what could be initiallylook like a narrow topic. Capture refers to a brain process, a stimulus response. Yet there are innunerable related responses that affect other brain processes. A capture can even trigger additional captures.
Told by examining collected narratives of fact, fact based fiction and fiction regarding mental disease and theories of how and why humans think feel and behave, Capture explains how mental illness falls along a spectrum and disorders are not fully individual.
Throughout history, causes of mental illness have been blamed on everuthing from external sources to chemical imbalances to physiological imbalances and diagnoses. Likewise, "cures" or treatments have ranged from bleeding to shock to drugs to tapping, EMDR, meditation, sound healing and more.
Writer David Wallace is used as an example repeatedly throughout the book due to a lifetime of menal struggles culminating in suicide.
Ernest Hemingway is similarly highlighted.
Dr. Ralph Hoffman of Yale University identifies "capture" as an autocatalytic process which primes attention to hypervigilance. Narrowing ones focus forces the mind to seek out the familiar, more of what it has previously experienced. People develop rituals to build a perceived sense of comtrol. It all begins with capture. Author David A Kessler, M.D. does a very thorough job of describing how capture works.
About David A. Kessler, M.D.David A. Kessler, MD served as commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration under presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
He is the author of A Question of Intent and The End of Overeating, a New York Times bestseller. He is a pediatrician and has been the dean of the medical schools at Yale and the University of California, San Francisco.
Dr. Kessler is a graduate of Amherst College, the University of Chicago Law School, and Harvard Medical School.