I don’t want to start a fight where there is none. I mean, the Vatican has granted Evolution is more than just a theory. However, when I listen to the way the new Pope talks to his flocks, I sense a man who is relating to the whole person, not simply their evolved brain circuity.
Over the years of remarkable MRI technology, we have been able to plot the waves and ways of the human brain. However, there are those of us who wonder if we should not look deeper than the cortex; to the whole person brain, mind, emotions and spirit.
I’ll be frank. I kind of think our kind is losing ground. Another well-reviewed book is out hailing the research into the waves and ways of the brain: ‘What Makes A Hero? The Surprising Science Of Selflessness” by Elizabeth Svoboda. In it she posits: “We are hardwired to be generous”…”MRIs can identify the precise circuits of the brain that control our nurturing social impulses”….”This represents a new scientific frontier that could eventually enable the development of therapies tailored for people who have particular problems generating empathy.”
As far as I can tell, Svoboda and her peers do have room in their thinking for other factors such as our family experiences, our community relationships, our sense of spiritual responsibility, even our religious convictions about our fellow man. And yet, so often these are treated more like social graces that some of us acquire like a taste for better foods and music. Nice but hardly necessary in fathoming complex human behaviors such as selflessness.
If this is true, how then do we explain the selflessness of people like Socrates…Marcus Aurelius… Augustine …Francis of Assisi… Thomas Moore….Gandhi….Schindler…Mother Teresa…Bill Gates? Are these to be labeled, like the animals in a breeding farm, the sort of highly developed brains to be replicated for the further advancement of the species? If so, the bst of George Orwell and Rod Serling sci-fictions become the worst science!
We can map the human brain to its last lobe, and still not be fully able to explain [or re-engineer] our human behaviors. That, I posit, is because our behaviors are considerably more than anything we can find on even our finest MRI. This is only a guess, but I suspect the Pope will read Svoboda and arrive at the same conclusion.
At least I hope so! Otherwise why am I out here praying for him?
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