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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The 'New Brain'

You may have noticed that I've lately been posting a lot of articles about the brain.  That's because the most cutting-edge scientific work is being done in this area.  Psychology has hit a wall, partly of its own construction.  I'll get into that in a post tomorrow/

This article about brain theories caught my attention:

This loss of perception that the article mentions is important for our purposes.  Loss of attention is, in essence, a loss of our ability to participate in the world as it is.  If we 'tune out' our world, we begin to become prisoners of fantasy.

What technology can do is create 'alternate realities.'  What we have done, through our basic knowledge of human perception, is created 'convincing' alternate realities.  We can play video games that create worlds that seem just as real (in many respects) as the 'real thing.'  We have become masters at tricking ourselves.

Illusion, however, is always incomplete.  Yet, if we repeatedly 'tune out' the discrepancies between our illusions and reality, it makes sense that our brains/minds may very well 're-program' and simply drop any effort to perceive in those areas.

What is important to keep in mind (pardon the pun) is that all of this is 'soft change.'  Nothing significant about the human person has changed since the 'Stone Age.'  All of humanity's technological advances have done nothing, except perhaps slow down the 'weeding out' process of natural selection.  Yes, we have found ways to keep people alive who would not have lived in times past:

Even something as simple as expecting to survive Type 1 diabetes has an effect on our attitudes about life and fear of death.  This impacts our ability to deal with the realities of life's delicacy and impermanence.

In my opinion, one of the tragedies that technology has brought is difficulty in appreciating a non-manufactured moment.  Our brains obsess about the 'flaws' of real life and become addicted to the perfection of the manufactured.  This dissatisfaction dispels gratitude and sets the stage for many, many emotional disorders and addiction. 

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