When not writing books with Stephen Hawking, theoretical physicist Mlodinow spent five years hanging out with neuroscientists, psychologists and philosophers at Cal Tech, trying to understand not only how the nonconscious mind operates, but also why our minds are organized in such an interesting way.
This book is his answer these questions, written in a clear and understandable style.
The world we perceive is an artificially constructed environment whose character and properties are as much a result of unconscious mental processing as they are a product of real data. Nature helps us overcome gaps in information by supplying a brain that smooths over the imperfections, at an unconscious level, before we are even aware of any perception. Our brains do all of this without conscious effort, as we sit in a high chair enjoying a jar of strained peas or, later in life, on a couch, sipping a beer. We accept the visions concocted by our unconscious minds without question, and without realizing that they are only an interpretation, one constructed to maximize our overall chances of survival, but not one that is in all cases the most accurate picture possible.