Wednesday, August 17, 2005


We can still call for it, but will we ever be able to handle it: MAKE LOVE NOT WAR!

"Mammals characteristically nuzzle, fondle, hug, caress, pet, groom and love their young, behavior essentially unknown among the reptiles. If it is really true that the R-complex and limbic systems live in an uneasy truce within our skulls and still partake of their ancient predilections, we might expect affectionate parental indulgence to encourage our mammalian natures, and the absence of physical affection to prod reptilian behavior. There is some evidence that this is the case. In laboratory experiments, Harry and Margaret Harlow found that monkeys raised in cages and physically isolated—even though they could see, hear and smell their simian fellows—developed a range of morose, withdrawn, self-destructive and otherwise abnormal characteristics. In humans the same is observed for children raised without physical affection—usually in institutions where they are clearly in great pain.

"The neuropsychologist James W. Prescott has performed a startling cross-cultural statistical analysis of 400 preindustrial societies and found that cultures that lavish physical affection on infants tend to be disinclined to violence. Even societies without notable fondling of infants develop nonviolent adults, provided sexual activity in adolescents is not repressed. Prescott believes that cultures with a predisposition for violence are composed of individuals who have been deprived—during at least one of two critical stages in life, infancy and adolescence—of the pleasures of the body. Where physical affection is encouraged, theft, organized religion and invidious displays of wealth are inconspicuous; where infants are physically punished, there tends to be slavery, frequent killing, torturing and mutilation of enemies, a devotion to the inferiority of women, and a belief in one or more supernatural beings who intervene in daily life." —Carl Sagan, COSMOS, p. 331

How often have we heard these findings? Yet, now, physical punishment is being again encouraged as a way to alter children's behavior, and we still fear sexual expression as something bad and evil. How come we fail to see the connection between these findings and western history with all its violence and aggression, and, now, the history of Islamic nations which are even more oppressive toward women and children that we are, and more sexually oppressive? When you see that angry self-destroying terrorist face in your dreams, recognize the oppressive training behind it, specially the suppression of women and sexual display.


"The human brain, it has been said, is the most complexly organized structure in the universe and to appreciate this you just have to look at some numbers. The brain is made up of one hundred billion nerve cells or "neurons" which form the basic structural and functional units of the nervous system. Each neuron makes something like one thousand to ten thousand contacts with other neurons and these points of contact are called synapses. It is here that exchange of information occurs. Based on this information, it has been calculated that the number of possible permutations and combinations of brain activity, in other words the number of brain states, exceeds the number of elementary particles in the known universe. Even though it is common knowledge, it never ceases to amaze me that all the richness of our mental life—all our feelings, our emotions, our thoughts, our ambitions, our love lives, our religious sentiments and even what each of us regards as his or her own intimate private self—is simply the activity of these little specks of jelly in our heads, in our brains. There is nothing else." (A Brief Tour of Human Consciousness by V. S. Ramachandran, pp. 2-3)

Read that carefully and understand what he says. We are robots, and that we can still imagine we are more, is a very strange case, indeed. For some, I suppose, to cling to ancient, imaginary mental states is the only way they can cling to sanity.


As I watch the religious right set out to destroy Public Broadcasting, limit science, undermine public schools and to, just, in general, dumb down the American populace to a sort of Bible-belt, Southern small town mentality, I picture that they want to make everything suitable for children because that's the level their own mentality best functions at. They want a childish American naiveté because that is easier to control than sophisticated modern people. No sooner do I write this thought in my imagination, then along comes Illinois Republican Governor Rod Blagojevich: when asked if he watches the Simpsons, he said, "I don't watch it. Because there's too much adult content." Well, if he doesn't want adult content, doesn't he admit he wants childish content? He said it. I only imagined he'd say it.

Rod's retarded rant found in U.S. WORLD AND NEWS REPORT, June 20, 2005

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