Sunday, September 26, 2010



I've hounded you in past about the paper becoming more relevant. This instance of the girl who has injured herself with acid is a case in point.

One of your commentators mentioned "Munchausen's syndrome". That syndrome, as well as many more, are being deeply explored in the fields of neuroscience and/or evolutionary psychology. Unlike psychology of the past, these new fields are hard science, based in new techniques for imaging and analyzing the brain and its functions.

Central to their findings is the idea that the brain is not and has never been a blank slate upon which any culture can write any lesson which they care to. The core finding of these new sciences is that the brain is an accumulation of hundreds and thousands of minute adaptations over time (minute computing devices with specific and limited duties) which have culminated (for the moment) in the modern brain which first appeared between 50 and 100 thousand years ago with all its strict limitations and its soaring strengths.

Reading in these fields will open any mind (and the minds of your readers) to what an amazing device the brain is. It contains all that is us, all the chemistry of our feelings and thoughts. The brainRus, so to speak, and its physical functioning produces every nuance of personality that others perceive in us. These states which we label "emotions" and talk about as if they were some sort of soul-state or airy-fairy presence within us are actually electro-chemical states of the body which evolved for the regulation of human decisions. Understanding these basic facts would go a long way toward humanity's beginning to get ahold of ourselves and our actions. Right now, we humans are pretty much by nature out of control of our actions.

These new findings are as important in the long run as Darwin's discover of the mechanisms of natural selection in the biological world. Is it not the duty of a newspaper to inform the public of new findings which may alter humanity's self-perceptions and our functioning in the Cosmos?

David Brooks, the once-upon-a-time conservative writer, brought up this new field of science in a recent conversation with Charlie Rose. He sees its importance as much as anyone in your line of work. That's why I mention him.

Good luck and good reading,
George Thomas

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