• Posted: Oct 10, 2010 10:14:36
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In the previous post Push Back, I stated "We have a forebrain for a reason. May you never fail to stay involved and use it ..." But, recent brain research has uncovered something rather interesting. Most educated, articulate people under FMRI brain scan display activity in the frontal cortex when asked to make what could be considered a moral judgement, that is a decision that has no distinct right or wrong answer but which does have consequences. But then, there are other subjects who, when asked the same or similar questions during FMRI brain scan, do not display similar frontal cortex activity. In other words, their brains are wired differently. Moral considerations do not take on the same pattern of brain activity.
Also, while the human brain is extremely plastic in response to environmental factors, that is it can learn, some brains have less inherent plasticity than others, less ability to restructure and adapt in response to the demands of changing external conditions. Research published this week suggests LD (learning disabled), autistic, and schizophrenic patients have a disturbingly high number of genetic mutations that may prove to have had significant consequences for the path their brains have taken during development and subsequent functioning.
During the preceding decade, many of us have become increasingly aware that large numbers of our U.S. citizens have not only failed to adapt to the glaring need for change on many fronts, but have become increasingly belligerent in their disdain for and resistance to change. Given the above brain research, one begins to wonder whether political intransigence is the natural expression of an inherited brain type that has less ability to change and adapt and tends to react emotionally without socially considered forethought. While groups of like minded citizens sort themselves into ideologically opposing political parties, perhaps evolution is at work evolving one or more new type of human, types that are politically incompatible by virtue of having brains that are wired differently, so differently that the two types actually live in distinctly different cognitive worlds, worlds where the internal cues and reinforcements for behavior are not the same or even similar. What does that say for the prospects of social systems relying on autonomously thinking individuals choosing to behave responsibly toward one another? What does that say about the prospect of educating a new generation of citizens that will be able to responsibly build upon, and perhaps perfect, the society we have left for them? What if our assumptions of relative equality amongst all humans, if given similar circumstances, are actually wrong?
And finally, are we bright enough to figure a way to assemble all the differently evolving pieces into a sustainable system that allows for relatively equal opportunity for all citizens?
Wednesday, October 21st, 2009
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