In this revolutionary and provocative exploration of the history, biology, treatment, and shared experience of mental anguish, the New York Times bestselling author and former FDA Commissioner examines how and why we become the agents of our own suffering and what we can do to change it. His unified theory of the mind—which he terms “capture”—will transform how we understand the unwanted thoughts that trouble all of us.
Dr. David A. Kessler has spent the past two decades studying how addictive substances can influence our thoughts and behavior. In Capture, he considers some of the most profound questions we face as human beings: Why do we think and act in ways that are detrimental to our wellbeing? What is the origin of emotional anguish, from everyday unhappiness to mental illness? Is it possible that addiction, depression, anxiety, obsession, bipolar disorder, and even psychosis are somehow manifestations of the same biological mechanism?
Informed by the latest research in psychology and neuroscience, Dr. Kessler examines how our minds become “captured,” or taken hostage by a physiological process that feels beyond our control. He explores how the phenomenon of capture has been portrayed in literature, philosophy, religion, and art, from Aristotle’s belief in the triumph of human virtue to William James’ concept of selective attention. Dr. Kessler’s theory is brilliantly and compellingly portrayed with stories from a diverse range of afflicted lives: ordinary people, prominent writers such as David Foster Wallace, Franz Kafka, and Anne Sexton, and criminals like Sirhan Sirhan and Ted Kaczynski. On the other side of the spectrum, Dr. Kessler also examines where the mechanism of capture offers the potential for psychological benefit, and may be responsible for experiences of positive change or transcendence.
The closer we can come to fully comprehending the nature of capture, Dr. Kessler argues, the better chance we have to alleviate its deleterious effects. Ultimately, Capture offers a unified field theory of the human mind, providing insight into the ways in which experience, memory, emotion, thought, and behavior are inextricably linked, and how we might begin to unwind the processes of the human mind to create meaning and, ultimately, freedom. Download and start listening now!