Everyone these days understands post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). But oh my fellow sufferers, what about that even more universal pre-traumatic version? Can there be any doubt the world's populations experience trauma not just as a result of wars and disasters, but just by existing in this undercurrent of trauma that comes with everyday life in the 21st C?
New York Times column Mark Epstein put it this way: "There is no way to be alive without being conscious of the potential for disaster. One way or another death and its cousins old age, illness, accidents, separation and loss hangs over all of us."
In case you're thinking "how depressing," here's something else that may depress you. MIT researchers are currently manufacturing traumatic memories! As if our memory banks weren't already over-loaded with traumatic recollections, research leader Susuma Tonegawa explains how they are using electric currents on the hippocampus portion of mice brains to create fearsome memories. Not for the sake of creating trauma, but to demonstrate how easily mice and human memories can be manipulated.
Not privy to their data, one can only speculate about this work's unintended consequences. Here may be one of them >> The more we learn how to manipulate the Brain, don't we do it at some cost to the Mind?
The question presumes the Brain is the physical workings of that magnificently complex organ under our skulls; whereas the Mind is the metaphysical workings of that transcendentally complex mystery that is our very being.
That sounds like I'm saying humans are more than their physical selves, more than simply their anatomy, more than evolved matter. If that's what it sounds like to you, it's exactly how it sounds to me. Science can tell us so much about us, but no more. Who's to take up the slack? That's where are under-used psychologists, philosophers and theologians should enter this debate.
So where are you folks....?
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