• Title: Capture: A Theory of the Mind
  • Author: David A. Kessler
  • ISBN: 9780062388513
  • Page: 428
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Capture A Theory of the Mind Why do we think feel and act in ways we wished we did not For decades New York Times bestselling author Dr David A Kessler has studied this question with regard to tobacco food and drugs Over the
    Why do we think, feel, and act in ways we wished we did not For decades, New York Times bestselling author 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 atteWhy do we think, feel, and act in ways we wished we did not For decades, New York Times bestselling author 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 un known people caught in its throes.The closer we can come to fully comprehending the nature of capture, Dr Kessler argues, the better the chance to alleviate its deleterious effects and successfully change our thoughts and behavior 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 of not only mental illness, but also our everyday worries and anxieties Capture is an intimate and critical exploration of the most enduring human mystery of all the mind.

    One Reply to “Capture: A Theory of the Mind”

    1. I am genuinely struggling to figure out what the point of this book is. It begins with great promise: an introduction on David Foster Wallace and what drove him to suicide. Interesting stuff. Then there are two chapters of scattered thoughts on the history of psychology. Then a series of chapters in which Kessler uses other people's books to make a point (doing some world-class cherry-picking along the way). As best as I can tell, this entire book was written to try and get Kessler's notion of " [...]

    2. It means a lot for one’s life experience to be understood - to be able to read a book like this one and say, “Yes, that is what happened to me.”I’ve written about the way we can get caught up in cognitive negative feedback loops, for instance if we feel guilty about being selfish then the suffering brought on by the guilt causes an increase in our focus on our own situation and thus we become more selfish which leads to more guilt… And we can become fixated on those aspects of our own [...]

    3. This book was a waste of time. The idea that attention and salience work together to narrow our focus before we're aware of what's going on could have been interesting, and I thought it was going to be a new angle from which to look at things like depression and anxiety. As presented, however, the concept seems weak, poorly supported, and, most importantly, not helpful. Most of the book consists of vignettes, many from the lives of the deeply troubled. The problem, which I realized too late, is [...]

    4. I was really interested in the description of this book – Why do we think, feel and act in the ways we wished we did not. It focuses on the idea of capture which is “a process by which our attention gets hijacked and our brains commandeered by forces outside our control.” There are definitely interesting things explored in this book around the whys of mental illness, addiction, unhappiness, etc. I think my favorite part of the book was the exploration of each topic through the story of a p [...]

    5. We our captured by the recursive narrative we use to view the world. Mindfulness allows us to become aware of our own awareness and permits us to step out of the trap we often create for ourselves. Some people fall into a self reinforcing iterative loop and that leads to one of four categorical problems described with in this book: 1) damage to oneself 2) damage towards others 3) excessive religious delusion, or 4) political chaos. Each of the categories had multiple people discussed separately [...]

    6. I wasn't sure whether to give this 3 or 4 stars. Kessler never really gave a definitive answer on why some people are "captured" more than others. However, I really enjoyed his approach to the question. Using the stories of people like Infinite Jest Author David Foster Wallace who committed suicide, Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, and others, Kessler attempted to understand if what makes someone kill themselves is similar to what makes someone kill others. In all the cas [...]

    7. Capture: Unraveling the Mystery of Mental Suffering is a non-fiction book that does exactly what the cover says it will. Researching depression, Kessler say many similarities between it and a variety of other things, like addiction, anxiety, obsession, mania, etc. "The medical model has long been that depression is the manifestation of a 'broken' mind--a biological error--that causes people to experience what feels like unbearable pain. This oversimplification does nothing to help us understand [...]

    8. The theory of this book is one I've held for since reading Hesse's Siddhartha in high school: the only "escape" from the wheel of any particular obsession is a kind flavor of mindfulness. It is the idea that all idols beget more of the same even if one face (being obsessed with running, God, art) is more pleasing than another (violence against others, the self). It's the natural progression from a child blocking a painful world and focusing on a fantasy to a young adult who can no longer believe [...]

    9. 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 initially look 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 th [...]

    10. What a tedious book. A lengthy chapter describing basic brain function is followed by anecdote after anecdote describing what the author calls "capture." then the book ends.According to Kessler, "capture" is what happens when the attention system of the brain is overwhelmed by some stimulus and the brain (and the person attached to it) is unable to break free, with mostly deleterious consequences. Anxiety, depression, psychosis, violence, addiction, ideology--all are, in his view, examples of a [...]

    11. Beginning with the question: “What happens when our minds feel as though they’ve been hijacked by something we cannot control?” p6, this book presents a mechanism to understand emotional and mental illness ranging from anxiety and depression to addiction and schizophrenia. Underlying is the idea that all of these experiences have a common underpinning. The DSM provides labels to symptoms, but does not suggest any underlying explanation, though psychiatry is currently itself captured by the [...]

    12. The secondary title on the book I got from the library states "Unraveling the Mystery of Mental Suffering." As some who suffered from depression, I thought, oh wow, I would really like to know what triggered my years of suffering because it is something that I could never really put my finger on. This book, I thought, was right up my alley.First, this book has over 100 pages of "Notes." Some of the notes I thought were revelant, but some at 3 pages long in length, I thought well, if this discuss [...]

    13. 3.5 starsWhat is the root of mental illness - that continuum of afflictions that affect so many people in some degree? How are these illnesses related and can knowledge of that root somehow be used to stimulate change? As someone with my own issues who also interacts daily with those using medication to help stem the tide of the pain of mental illness, I was interested in this book because I hoped it would give me some insight into the minds of these people that I love. I think I approached it i [...]

    14. Deep. Fascinating. And disturbing. Here are my favorite clips:The more time and effort you put into trying to appear impressive or attractive to other people, the less impressive or attractive you feel inside. You feel like a fraud. And the more of a fraud you feel like, the harder you try to convey an impressive or likable image of yourself, so that other people won't find out what a hollow, fraudulent, person you really are.It's about a disconnect from the person you want to be and the person [...]

    15. I wanted this book to be better than it was. The premise is that many diverse forms of psychological suffering are the result of capture, or fixation, which seems to be a natural tendency of the mind. I think this general idea is sound, and the author provides numerous examples such as depression, OCD, cutting, addiction, gambling, etc. In fact, most of the book deals with case studies of various examples of capture. I found the quality and depth of these case studies to be uneven. My favorite c [...]

    16. This is an odd book, which puts the natural philosophy back into psychology and biology. Kessler's argument is that the world is so full of sensory and emotional stimulation, that we only process a tiny bit of it, chosen by our mind's filters. If we become obsessed with an idea or feeling, all of our input is filtered through that obsession, reinforcing it. This idea seems more philosophical than biological (he refers to William James a lot), but then he finds the scientific counterpart to these [...]

    17. In an effort to understand human suffering, Dr. Kessler examines the idea of "capture," the process by which our thoughts and attention are hijacked in a way that can feel out of control and cause us endless pain. The book is wide-ranging in its examination of the idea of capture in relation to mental illness, violence, ideology, and spirituality. He makes the examination almost completely through mini case studies of individuals, some famous (David Foster Wallace, Sylvia Plath, Virginia Woolf) [...]

    18. This is a very interesting and well written book, that goes trough the life of famous or less famous people to describe the process of capture, that in the words of the author is ".e process by which our attention is hijacked and our brains commandeered by forces outside our control." cit.It is not only a book on psychology, or about mindfulness or motivation, but it's a way to understand why we do or not do something and how to get to achieve the best for us. Brilliant.Questo libro é molto int [...]

    19. Interesting, but not much that's new here in the field of mental suffering, habits, brain neurochemistry or neuroplasticity. Much of the same material on depression, anxiety, ocd, etc. is rehashed and presented through a slightly different lens but without any ensuing or significant change in, or contribution to, current information or outcomes. Not exactly a major "unraveling" of anything. A good 1/3 of the last part of the book is devoted to ridiculously complicated "notes"--regarding philosop [...]

    20. Given ecstatic blurbs by writers I admire, I expected a great deal more. The concept of capture and its apparent ubiquity leads in a useful direction. But the concept is barely fleshed out. I wished he had talked more about beneficial capture, like meditation, religion, AA, etc. Most of the book describes famous cases of capture, almost all pathological. I would have liked to have seen more attention paid to how to escape capture. Quotes: ---David Foster Wallace: "It is not the least bit coincid [...]

    21. I enjoyed Kessler's previous publication so I was curious to see what this was like. When I read the opening paragraphs, I winced when he informs the reader that he is of putting forth a "theory of capture". A cutesy term for a "new" theory. Skeptical, I read on. Unfortunately, the book, though littered with entertaining anecdotal "case studies" is not, to me, comprehensive nor convincing enough to achieve a "unifying" theory of mental "illness" Skip this one and read Kessler in arenas for which [...]

    22. This book was obviously very well researched (about a third of the total pages are actually notes and sources), but I was left feeling like, eh? I did learn more about mass murdering individuals, but that wasn't why I picked up the book. This book wasn't what I thought it would be.

    23. Maybe too heavy on the anecdotal, attempting, I'm guessing, in following the Gladwellian tradition, an interesting book none the less that probably could have been cut by a third in the interest of brevity and trusting one's audience to get the point after a few examples instead of twelve.

    24. It was very insightful. I have quite a bit more to say about the book but short for time right now. Will amend this review within this next week.

    25. Autobook. Good narration. Interesting anecdotes. Could have been four stars if the explanation and defense of thesis was done better.“The theory of capture is composed of three basic elements: narrowing of attention, perceived lack of control and change in affect, or emotional state”The author attempts to introduce the theory that a behaviour of the mind causes it to get hijacked by an attention loop and that is what causes depression, suicide, addiction, obsession and aggression. Unfortunat [...]

    26. On my copy of the book the subtitle is "Unraveling the Mystery of Mental Suffering". This is false, not just in the sense that the author tried and (in my view) failed to achieve his goal, but the book doesn't even attempt to do that. This book is solely: -presenting the age-old and common notion that the mind sometimes gets fixated on things in ways that are negative and hard to escape from (depression, OCD, addiction, etc) as if it were some original theory called "capture" (3% of book) -canne [...]

    27. This book tries to collapse many things down into this one idea of the mind getting "captured" by an idea and not being able to escape I'm not sure it really succeeded in convincing me, esp because it was so very anecdotal. Plus I'm not sure the logic carries through there is something inherently different between someone being captured by depression vs being captured by violence, in a way that actually leads to committing violence. I think this was my biggest issue with the book, the fact that [...]

    28. Really interesting concept that is handled nicely for most of the book, but peters off towards the end. I felt there was an opportunity to clarify a point towards the end in the section on religious experience, where one of the people interviewed suggests that religious "capture" is something that lasts a lifetime while other kinds of capture (negative ones, such as addiction) tend to be temporary. I would liked to have seen the author point out that a) there are other kinds of positive capture [...]

    29. An excellent book that shows how humans can be "captured" by their own perspective in life. That is, being highly focused on certain traits or points of view in life without considering how to balance them and relate to people. This can on one hand, lead to success and acclaim , and on the other hand, lead to trauma and destruction. The examples of those with mental suffering were exceptionally good. Kessler provides background to some of the most heinous 21st century mass murderers and their sk [...]

    30. If you want to know every detail of David Foster Wallace's life and death, definitely read this. His name should be in the subtitle. There are also incredibly detailed portraits of John Lennon's killer and other unfortunates trapped in a mental loop they couldn't escape. The author is able to present them sympathetically and clinically at the same time, an impressive feat. Not lighthearted reading, but worthwhile for anyone interested in the spectrum of addiction.

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