Written on October 29, 2001 (1 WE).
• After I wrote the previous post (Truth, Beliefs, Religion, Science, Philosophy, Mental Programming, Brain Washing), I saw a very interesting documentary on public television. It presented the innovating brain research of Dr. Ramachandran of California University, San Diego. (Sorry if I don't get the names right. I was not aware of the importance of the program at the outset. I didn't take notes at the very beginning.)
Dr. Ramachandran's research is hardware-specific (neurological) rather than software-specific (brain as the seat of the mental operating system, MOS). If a human loses an arm, the brain still perceives the inexistent arm. There are two neighboring areas in the brain that control the face and the arm. If an arm is lost, the brain area that controls the face takes over the area that controls the arm. Brain scanning shows that clearly. If the face is touched, the human feels as if his/her inexistent arm is touched! The feeling is that the missing arm is still there. This function of the brain is common to most animals. It is not thought related.
The most astonishing part of Doctor Ramachandran's research has to do with seizures. There is a remarkable connection between brain seizures and religious behaviors. Humans tend to behave like prophets after seizures. They speak of visions of the future. Their visions are mostly apocalyptic. They speak of encounters with supernatural powers who directed them to teach humanity the Ultimate Truth.
Every religion was founded by humans who experienced out-of-this-world epileptic events. Mohammed was, undoubtedly, an epileptic. The fictitious Jesus was clearly an epileptic. Jesus was created in the image of that theological epileptic named Saul. Paul's on–the–road–to–Damascus–epiphany is a medical description of epilepsy. Paul's epilepsy (not epiphany) took roots because his love–your–neighbor–communities really worked in an impoverished world (as the Roman Empire was at that time).
Strong activities in the temporal lobes are evident during seizures or epilepsy. The temporal lobes control memory and behavior. No wonder religion is such a powerful form of human behavior, nowhere else to be found in the purely animal world. Don't forget, Homo sapiens originated in the animal world, mind you! We are superior animals because we are Computing Beasts. We have brains capable of seizures because we possess a Mental Operating System (MOS or BOS for Brain Operating System).
In my interpretation, this behavior of the human brain is still reminiscent of the animal past, but only in part. It probably started with Homo erectus - the first vertical apes. Standing required a tremendous brain effort in the first thousands of years of Homo erectus. A special command-and-control developed in the brain. It allowed the new species not only to walk vertically, but also to “see in the dark” by predicting.
The other part is mental-related. The humans developed powerful memory. Not surprisingly, the memory control is located in the same lobe as behavior. We have strong "memories" of a super-powerful force who "guides" us in the dark and who "reveals" us the future. We do not feel "walking alone". This is a very specific tool of the human FearSurvival system.
I have a better understanding now of my experience fleeing communism. For many years, I presented my experience in religious terms. I walked at night only. I had no map, no compass. I should have made a left turn just before the frontier; I didn't. I walked on a dirt road right next to the border patrol barracks. It was so quiet! I felt as if a god guided my steps. I felt no fear, no excitement. “The invisible hand of god”, some others and I concluded. In reality, it was the activity of my temporal lobes under favorable circumstances. The theory of probability made my brain action a success. For most individuals in my walking shoes, such action was a dangerous failure.
Religion came long before philosophy. Therefore, I tease myself now and then with that seizures-like mood named religion!
"It was revealed to me the Fundamental Prayer to Almighty Number:
It is The Number and Its EternallyEnding Laws, and Formulae, and Equations that guide our steps in the Light, and in the Darkness.
For courage is about Space, hope is about Time, life is about Speed."
I have never had seizures, but my brain does have temporal lobes.
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