Title: The Touch of Life(Previously published as Il Tocco della Vita, Nuovi Equilibri SRL, Viterbo, Italy. 2005)Author: Paolo CrocchioloImprint: The Davies Group, Publishers158 pp. USD 18.00 soft coverISBN 978-1934542279April 2011In a long conversation with his daughter, Danae, the Author tries to explain where the mind finishes and the universe begins, by resorting to a variety of narratives and dialogues drawn from different mythological, historical, literary, and autobiographical sources the — which is not an easy task, since mind and universe seem to intertwine and confound with each other in an inextricable tangle.The first chapters consist of evolutionary stories told, in the form of a card game, by the gods and the goddesses portrayed by Andrea Mantegna in his famous canvas “The Parnassus”, exhibited in the Louvre Museum in Paris.Subsequently, the evolutionary development of the mind, and of its neural correlates within the brain, is illustrated in an imaginary sequel of Lucian of Samosata's True Story, the first classical literature example of a science fiction novel, revisited as a sort of adventurous cosmogonic exploration journey.The links of our rational mind to mathematics, and of our emotional sensuality-based body/mind complex to music and the arts, are highlighted in the following chapters, shaped in the form of short sketches and autobiographical anecdotes.Finally, the repercussions of the evolutionary, as well as of the contemporary neuroscientific theories on today's economic, political and social issues are outlined in a lively imaginary debate between Epicurus, Charles Darwin, Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud.ContentsThe Queen of CupsMarsMercuryVenusApolloWhy Sex?Zany cosmogoniesDoughsWall StreetA True StoryA glass of Rodokarpon?Or a plate of Cyanokolokunt?PerceptionMovementDo the puzzle pieces fit together... or not?The MindIntermezzoMan-tailored Universes......and inborn mathematicsWinter DreamBaltasar Gracián and Catholic Mathematics007 and 07The harmony of numbersDice and minuets: the touch of lifeThe size of itIn Epicurus' GardenReviews“Paolo Crocchiolo is wise to bring in the gods – Olympian, philosophical, and scientific – and have them in colloquy to break our slumber and think, again, about the human condition.” — Edward O. Wilson, University Research Professor, Harvard University“Paolo Crocchiolo’s new book is a delightful collection of erudite meditations on evolutionary biology, all festively disguised as conversations among a remarkable cast of characters — Gods, philosophers, artists, a Hollywood crowd, and scientific academia. One smiles and one learns.”—Antonio Damasio, David Dornsife Professor of Neuroscience andDirector, Brain and Creativity Institute, University of Southern CaliforniaAuthor of: Descartes' Error, Looking for Spinoza, and Self Comes to Mind.]About the AuthorPaolo Crocchiolo, formerly senior medical officer at Geneva's WHO Headquarters, is currently Professor of Evolutionary Biology at the American University of Rome. He has authored numerous scientific papers on the philosophy, and the mechanisms, of evolution by natural and sexual selection. Books recently published by the same Author include L'Esca Amorosa (2004), which appeared in the USA with the title The Amorous Tinder (2006); Il Tocco della Vita (2005), of which the present represents the English version; and L'Intrepida Sula (The Brave Booby, 2009).