Like Religious followers, Scientists are Believers. They believe in Science. But Science also has a restrained view of life
The Limits of Medical Science
Consciousness depends on Mind/Body and visa versa
We Cannot Find Consciousness in a Gene
Neuromania or Neuroscience?
An Analogy of Paper Money to the Brain
Happiness and Health
Suffering and the Self
The Brain and Love, Compassion and Diet
LIKE RELIGIOUS FOLLOWERS,
SCIENTISTS ARE BELIEVERS.
THEY BELIEVE IN SCIENCE.
BUT SCIENCE ALSO HAS
A RESTRAINED VIEW OF LIFE
THE LIMITS OF MEDICAL SCIENCE
Scientists believe in science. Scientists believe in research, experiment and hypothesis and application. They hold sincere beliefs in science Theoretical science and applied science has a legitimate view from a legitimate perspective. Sadly, science functions within a very constrained view of life with the mind of the scientist constrained to the forms and methods of science. Science operates on the bases of belief in certain priorities especially around analysis, measurement and graphs. It struggles to comprehend consciousness and its vital place in the scheme of things. With the exclusion of consciousness from much of science, it finds itself grasping onto the material world as a kind of absolutely reality.
Scientists thus find these constraints inhibit perceptions and explorations outside the box of conventional science. Medical science has become an important branch of science, particularly around gene therapy and neuroscience. Science cannot explain sudden healing, the power of mindfulness, depths of meditation, religious ecstasy, sudden awakenings, mystical, spiritual discoveries and transformative experiences. Science cannot explain nor measure the power of spiritual/religious beliefs. Science cannot comprehend the health benefits of Ayurveda massage, prayer, chanting, singing, mantras, breathing practices, pranayama, tantric exercises, the power of collective sharing/worship, the shamans and numerous other expressions of so-called paranormal activity.
Scientists cannot explain what some would regard as a miracle cure or a sudden capacity to be at peace with a life threatening illness. These experiences bring about profound inner change impacting upon our cells and DNA. Energy currents, electromagnetic patterns and other invisible forces influence every aspect of biological activity, organ tissues and genetic makeup.
Skilful application of energy, through mindfulness, meditation and numerous other means, serves as an important link between consciousness, mind, body and the brain. The condition of the mind (an umbrella concept for feelings, perceptions, thoughts, intentions and the full range of states of mind) has the potential to make a major step towards healing or, at least, an undeniable contribution. The beneficial experiences of millions of people worldwide speaks volumes about the power such healing and inner transformations. It would be naïve to exaggerate the importance of the mind for healing and health and it would be equally naïve to underestimate the importance of the mind. The same principle applies to the wise and discreet use of medical drugs.
Science works in a very limited remit. Science continues to be out of its depth in the expansive experiences of consciousness. Scientists would need to know the science of exploring deeply themselves as the subject (as consciousness, as mindfulness, as the meditator, as the experiencer) and the beneficial consequences of the power of consciousness on its content or object, namely mind and body. A strictly controlled materialistic conception of the world with a mechanistic perspective blocks the opportunity to recognise the unseen dynamics of the interaction of consciousness with energy and its beneficial application to organic life, cells and matter. Conventional medicine needs to be a late point of call for everyday health issues, except in matters of clear urgency.
Everything that we know is made up – figuratively and actually. We have the potential to experience life in numerous ways, exoteric and esoteric. Making up the appearance of matter, physical atoms consist of energy that spin, vibrate and circulate owing to myriad movements. Quarks and plutons then make up the atom, and atoms make up matter. The realm of a concentrated consciousness enables men and women to experience subtle energies and cells deep in our being.
A person’s experience takes priority in terms of recognition of the benefits to the mind and body through complementary medicine and psychological/spiritual/religious practice with appropriate use of conventional medicine for serious health issues of mind and body. Insights from experience take priority over beliefs in DNA.
In truth, there is no material structure to the atom. How could there be? For example, a microscope shows that there is no such thing as a brain except through a perception and conceptual view that the object of interest is a brain. Genetics and neuroscience offers one way of interpreting this mass of matter in the head with all its benefits and limits. The brain gains an appearance of self existence when we divide it off from everything else, namely the conditions, near and far, past and present, for what arises.
Scientists can deconstruct matter since it is made up of energy. The brain is not a ‘thing’ Matter is not a ‘thing.’ There is a human tendency to state with conviction that matter truly exists and has “thingness” since we can see it, hear it, smell it, taste it and touch it. We do not live in a world of self-existent objects, sentient or insentient. Scientists takes matter apart and conclude that cells making up matter serve as building blocks. Science can also break down these cells. We have the capacity to relate to the world in various ways using both holistic and reductionism. Arrogance claims that a holistic view or a reductionist view brings us closer to reality. Human beings have equal claim to truth when they claim they have to live in the real world on a daily basis without consideration to a holistic or reductionists view. Others will state with equal conviction that the real world is oneness or being in the now. These also express legitimate views. Why do we cling to one view and deride another sincerely held view held?
The inflow and outflows of activity in the mind/body/consciousness/brain/environment reveals various manifestations of impact and the subsequent impressions that can become standpoints for claims to know reality.
Evolutionists tell us they believe evolution is about survival. Is that true? Is it sometimes true? Is it sometimes not true? Is it a gross generalisation? From another standpoint, we could claim nobody survives life. We all experience birth, ageing, pain and death. Countless millions die from wars, famine, floods, earthquakes, epidemics, other catastrophes, as well as from cancer, diabetes, heart disease and numerous ills. Death eventually comes. We are not made for survival more than about 10 decades. There is no possibility whatsoever of human beings or any other sentient beings finding the necessary drugs for immortality which would be the only confirmation of survival.
CONSCIOUSNESS DEPENDS ON MIND/BODY AND THE OTHER WAY AROUND
The Buddha gave extensive teachings on dependent arising. He recognised the relationship of volitional intentions to consciousness to mind and body and also the reverse of body and mind to consciousness and volitional intentions, particularly with regard to the varieties of human suffering. He stated:
- Volitional of body, speech and mind formations conditions the next link, consciousness. The volitions may be conscious or arises through blind habit, conditioning, impulses or addictions.
- Consciousness (Vijnana) depends upon volition (and other conditions). Consciousness means our capacity to divide (vi) and then to know (jnana) one from thing from another. This means when consciousness alights on one or more things, it is not conscious of much else. Such a consciousness finds itself limited through its content as it divides objects from other objects – in the mind/body or environment.
- The mind and body depend upon consciousness. Consciousness conditions the next link, mind and matter, psychology and physiology, mentality and materiality, name and form.
- The senses depend upon mind and body. Eyes, ears, nose, tongue, touch and the mind influence condition what we see, hear, smell, taste, touch and view, as well as consciousness and volitions among the primary conditions for what dependently arises.
The Buddha used a simple phrase for specific conditionality. “This is, because that (causes and conditions) is. This is not, because that (the necessary causes are conditions) is not. This comes to be, because that comes to be. This ceases to be, because that ceases to be.” Refuting belief in God the creator, he stated repeatedly that we understand ourselves, life and the universe through the inquiry into causality rather than grasping on one particular thing. This is the hub of the Buddha’s teachings free from any narrow remit, such as concentrating on the brain or the Theory of Relativity or adaption of our species, unless we include much more sets of scientific views. He advocated the importance of the exploration of contingent factors that make any event happen.
Politicians have their beliefs. Religions have their beliefs. Scientists have their beliefs. Organisations have their beliefs. Businesses have their beliefs. The Military has their beliefs. There are beliefs running through this essay. All of these beliefs have the capacity to make an impact on the mind/brain and body of others, on sentient and insentient creatures, on the Earth and its resources. The Gods are dead. God is dead. Social Darwinism is dead. Are we being brainwashed to believe that genes and the brain rule our life.
The conscious mind has the capacity to reflect, to learn from the past, to explore and discover what the present reveals and to plan wisely for the future. There are behaviours which we have learned from parents, old experiences, education, friends, strangers, and society, alone and with others. There are behaviours which we need to unlearn, to dissolve and let go so that we can move freely through life. Problematic behaviour in body, speech and mind limits and curtails our capacity to express ourselves in skilful ways. Our history can support ourselves and others or interfere. To know ourselves includes knowing the impact our past has on the present and, equally, knowing the way to end any painful influences. It means that mindfulness can recognises the healthy responses and finds the commitment to work with the unhealthy through naming it and wise counsel with others.
We can remain stuck in particular situations because we feel we do not deserve anything better. Others have told us this, directly or indirectly, or we have persuaded ourselves. There is no gene that categorically states: You do not deserve anything better.” It is an attitude of mind repeated with regularity in a variety of ways impacting on our cells and elsewhere. The stimulus for such negative views can spring from a painful past, deeply rooted patterns or from grasping the stimulus of what somebody says to us. We cannot neglect the impact that negative or positive beliefs from parents, teachers and others have upon us. Neuroscience relies far too much on the brain to explain behaviour instead of pursuing the various circumstances shaping our beliefs
To claim the brain is the mind/consciousness is one view. To claim that the mind/consciousness is not the brain is another view. Both views have failings, weaknesses and remain unhelpful to propagate. To claim that the brain and mind are both same and different expresses another view. Which part is the brain? Which part is the mind? Neuroscientists may answer these questions in one way, or another, or a combination or neither. There is no final answer to these claims about the relationship, if any, of the mind to the brain because we cannot draw up percentages with regard to organic life. We may try to impose mathematics and measurement on organic life but we need to be mindful to not confuse mathematics with organic life.
WE CANNOT FIND CONSCIOUSNESS IN A GENE
A team of scientists concluded that DNA contributes to a third of our behaviour including our relationship to money following a Swedish analysis of the DNA of 15000 twins. The analysis did not find a spending or saving gene, yet such results means we can now blame our DNA for any excess in our spending or being tight fisted. “Don’t blame me. Blame my DNA.”
DNA molecules are complex. They carry the genetic code that determines the characteristics of a living organism. Neuroscience does not provide a satisfactory account of the range of conditions forming behaviour. Scientists need to distinguish consciousness from neural activity. Neuroscience explains how daylight etc. gets into your brain via the eyes but there is nothing to explain the activity of consciousness and intentionality around the relationship to object and daylight, There is the conscious experience of the object. There is the state of sensory inputs from outside of ourselves and inputs from within impacting on consciousness. That does not make us robotic reactions to stimulus with some design for survival. Such views ignore the significance of volitions, which lies in the heart of the mind affecting our perceptions and relationship to the world, for better or worse. The meeting point of consciousness, intentions, feelings, perceptions, mindfulness, meditation require as much exploration as the view of the brain as some kind of motor for experience. Owing to perception, the object is revealed to the subject and the subject responds in different ways based on a wide variety of events, inner and outer. We may see these events close to the object, far from it and not connected with it.
Scientists tend to dismiss the subject’s experience of the object as beautiful or ugly, warm or cold, colourful or not, poetic or not, holistic or not. The scientist believes s/he has contact with the object (matter, cells, DNA etc.) in itself, and goes deeper into the object by breaking it down into sub atomic particles. Scientists may treat their experience of matter as less real than sub atomic particles, electromagnetic fields, neutrons, DNA. They believe in their conclusions through charts graphs and mathematical figures as the revelation of the real.
We cannot find consciousness in a gene. Consciousness has no single DNA, nor a cluster of DNA, nor a whole collection of them. If so, scientists could isolate the gene or genes to bring the dead back to life. That is the stuff of science fiction. We have enough science fiction around already with implausible views heaped upon us as truth, as reality. Scientists tell us the 96% of the universe contains no matter. They described this vast area of matter as dark matter. It is neither matter nor dark – without content nor colour. The description/metaphor is bad science. The label ‘dark matter’ reflects the attachment of science to matter.
Certain orthodox neuroscientists claim that the mind and the brain are the same thing with the neural ends being responsible for all our experiences. There is no trace of sameness between human experiences, pleasant and painful, spiritual and worldly, and the materiality of the brain and its functioning. To claim that the mind is absolutely different from the brain is equally an absurd conclusion. It would mean that the brain could be damaged without having any influence on the mind.
We can say that our perceptions enable different ways of seeing objects, relating to them and interpreting them. Claims about the relationships say more about the claimer than what is claimed. Different scientists have different beliefs towards the same object, event or area of interest. We may believe some scientists and disbelieve others. Scientists may find that their discoveries were later disproven. It meant what they believed and previously mistook their belief for the truth, for the real. Religionists may stick to the same belief while scientists may change their beliefs as they gain more access to new kinds of experiments and knowledge.
If scientists know the truth, know reality, they should write it down, perhaps in 10 statements with a few lines to each statement or even a single sentence a bit like the 10 Commandments. The scientists may find that other scientists, equally well qualified, may dispute some or all of the 10 statements. Who do we believe? Who and what do scientists believe?
If science knows the truth, then the truth cannot rely upon perception because the perception depends on the past studies, attitude, selective thought, drawing of conclusions. If that which supports perception changes, then the perception changes as well. so the way the object appears to the perceiver changes. Truth or the Real cannot be bound to perception because the Truth or the Real always remains true, always remains real. Science has a useful view at times, a healthy view and a violent view. Science does not have access to the truth, to the real. If they have the answers to life, then we need to be able to read them.
What neuroscientists see on their brain scans, brain maps and brain images are an appearance. The appearance cannot be anything else. The appearance may provide useful data or it may not. One neuroscientist looks at the brain scan and determines in one way, another in a different way and another does not know what to make of what he or she perceives. The view of the appearance, no matter how many agree through repetition of experiments, still remains a view, subject to change at a later date.
If perceptions and consciousness simply reflect brain activity, and no more and no less, then it becomes increasingly hard to explain why some brain activity seems so important and some seems less important and some unimportant. Are all feelings and emotions, thoughts and profound realizations simply an expression of neural activity? If the true and the real is neural activity, then there is no point in any further research because the true and the real is neural activity.
Scientists can wire the brain up, create images on the computer screen, dissect a brain from a corpse or engage in gruesome experiments on animals – mice, rate, cats, dogs, monkeys and so on. The brain will still remain the object under the influence and interpretation of the subject. A scientist does not get closer to reality because he or she excludes all feelings and emotions from their perceptions and relies instead upon data. Data cannot confirm reality but only confirm the value of the data about the object.
You cannot find consciousness by looking at the brain. The one element that matters most, namely consciousness, remains inaccessible in the object (s) of interest. Consciousness cannot make consciousness an object. The object only confirms consciousness in the subject. We lose ourselves in naïve claims about the observed and completely overlook the priorities of the observer, the intentionality and the shape of the mind brought to be bear on the object. This has been pointed out several times over the decades. We need to make it abundantly clear that science, like religion and philosophy, offers a view, sometimes incredibly helpful, for a happy and healthy life, and sometimes, harmful and destructive. The perceptions and views of the scientist get in the way of reality as much as any other perceptions, whether religious, philosophical or personal. Scientific truths, such as E=mc2, reveal a profound statement comprehended by scientists and those with a certain level of IQ and interest in science but countless citizens find the equation incomprehensible, even though it confirms that matter equals energy. A scientific view is reality for some and irrelevant for the reality of others.
NEUROMANIA OR NEUROSCIENCE?
Neural endings cannot integrate feelings, thoughts, perceptions, states of mind, energy, intention and interests into a cohesive picture. Conscious human beings can weave together a lot of events, inwardly and outwardly, to get a picture of a situation, past, present or future, in a clear or confused way. Wisdom reveals our capacity to witness events in a conscious and clear minded way so that we act with empathy, love and insight. Such responses indicate a human beings capacity to see and know reality and respond to it. A whole person employing every aspect of his or her being knows reality – not conceptual constructs, not through specific roles, not through academic knowledge nor through emotional reactions.
We miss the bigger picture when we see the circuity of the brain as link to all our personal issues. Neural activity does not have the capacity to give the sense of continuity of the self, no matter how often we hear that the brain functions as some kind of complex computer, a nervous system transmitting signals. We come back to the same issue. Are we blindly accepting neuroscientific explanations for our behaviour? Neuroscience and genetics have gained a transcendent value, an arbiter of truth, of reality. For example, the media keeps publicising links of the brain to our psyche and mindfulness teachers insert neuro talk into their public talks to persuade people of the validity of their presentation
Brain scanning has become the means to examine and inquire into our states of mind. Taken to an extreme, this becomes neuromania. Neuroscience makes a very useful contribution to understanding ourselves but it should not kick above its station since it can never extricate itself from the scientist’s perception of measurement, computers, mathematics and graphs. There is a belief that the neuroscientists will eventually map the complex activities – once again ignoring the countless conditions affecting the brain.
Is one going to pick the brain over the mind or the mind over the brain? Neuroscience knows full well that the brain does not exist independently of its environment, the body, the mind and consciousness. There is a danger of discarding all other approaches, scientific, spiritual and religious, to human understanding in favour of one’s one own. This is a scientific cult.
The last century recognised the significance of our mind, its impact on global life and our capacity to change the mind through spiritual practices, exercises for the heart and mind, psychology, workshops and retreats and insights and realisations. Thoughtful neuroscientists know that they experiment in the kindergarten of human understanding and human wisdom. Compared to the Buddha-Dharma, Yoga, Advaita, Zen and Taoism, the Western conversion to the importance of the inner makes Western exploration seem like the new kids on the block. Sadly, the Western obsession with materialism has a rabid attachment to matter, energy, cells, DNA neurons, the brain, physiology, receptors, the nervous system which inhibits scientists from the capacity to realise the limits of theory and application.
AN ANALOGY OF PAPER MONEY TO THE BRAIN
We spend money through social agreement in terms of our perceptions of its value. There is hardly any value in the piece of paper, itself, even though it is called a €10 note. In the same way, you won’t find value in the genetic makeup of the brain to answer the questions of the states of mind. The paper of the paper money and the value of the money are not the same thing but they are not separate from each other either. Money arises through our perceptions, not the fact that the money hears no relationships to the bare paper itself, whether paper money or a cheque. It is similar with states of mind and the brain. The value of the money is not the same as the paper but not different. It is the same with the mind and brain.
A belief in genetic determinism or scientific claims that our genes is the essence of who we are inhibits true freedom, true liberty. True liberty lies in ending suffering due to conditioning. Freedom does not depend on others, personal history and environmental conditions or claims to possessing an essence. If it did, we would not know freedom but only a dependency, biological adaption, trapped in the influences from the DNA or belief in notions of a personal essence. A man on death row can know freedom. Consciousness needs now to be the starting point of what matters not an add on because it is too hard to explain from a Darwinian or genetic viewpoint.
Certain neuroscientists claim the brain makes decisions before consciousness knows the decision. Biological determinism does not hold up in the law courts, even though it would absolve every criminal of all responsibility. He or she could legitimately claim that he or should had no choice since the brain directed all activity. We can easily swing to the other extreme by claiming that a person must take total responsibility for their behaviour. It takes an immense degree of consciousness to have the clarity to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to impulses, reactivity, addictions and problematic tendencies. The USA and other countries execute their own citizens for their behaviour, even though their citizens were at the mercy of their upbringing, violence, blind reactivity and dysfunctional behaviour. Yes, we need prisons to safeguard society but executions and life without parole show a pathological violence and desire for punishment, no different from the criminals.
We live in a network of beings, energies, time, space and matter. The mind, culture and society all influence each other. We seem to experience a small slice of reality in the present moment. We do have a larger sense of reality bigger than firing neuros. Authentic knowledge emerges from insightful experience, free from theoretical constructs with their narrow application.
Numerous science books make no reference to consciousness. Yet consciousness reveals itself, directly or indirectly, in every single area of research, every single write up of every single analysis, every single hypothesis and every single application. The dead cannot engage in scientific research, nor read the conclusions, nor know about the consequences. At times, the blindingly obvious has to be stated. Science can only address object of perception. Again, we cannot place consciousness in front of consciousness to examine consciousness. The problem of consciousness will not go away. The issue of consciousness haunts science no matter how much scientists wish to forget it and make claims to know an objective reality. We do not consider ourselves as complex robots, functioning machines cells or zombies. Such standpoints make a mockery of the evolution of life and our capacity for love and empathy. We do not think of ourselves as neurons, firing at certain frequencies. If that were the case, we could behave in any way we wish since it would only be heartless DNA colliding with other heartless DNA. Try telling that to those who love their children, their partner, their friends, the animal kingdom and life, itself
Our brain is not the proper vehicle to find answers to profound questions of consciousness since the object is not the subject. Consciousness embraces and includes the field of experience, the world defined as objects to consciousness including thought, the brain and the sense objects. We can only know six objects, namely what is seen (with the naked eye or under the periscope), heard, smelt, tasted, touched or what arises from within. Consciousness is the key to insights, realisations and profound discovery to benefit all.
HAPPINESS AND HEALTH
If you wish to be happy in this world, you take leaps of faith, live adventurously, give a huge amount of attention to others, spend a lot more time out of doors, be creative, artistic and get exposed to culture, community and spiritual/religious vision. You develop ethics, mindfulness, meditation, self-knowledge, communication skills and share your inner life with others. To thrive means to stimulate the whole being – cultivate valuable beliefs, explore your cellular makeup and make environmental connections. Just as the whole body is an inter-active community of cells receptive to each other, dependent on each other, you apply the same principle to others. You are a cell in an inter-active community of cells. You have the capacity to give to other cells and the capacity to receive messages and signals worthy of attention and interest. You realise the freedom of being. You see and know then you are in touch with reality.
The cells form the family, the neighbourhood, the sports team, the dance class, the city, country, continent as well as a family of cells of 7 billion plus people. Instead of living in a world of fight and flight, and thus holding to Darwinian notions of personal or group survival through struggle with others, we develop love and wisdom to act in skilful ways to challenging circumstances. Social Darwinism belongs to the 19t – 20th century, not the 21st century. We can practice to free ourselves up from the fight or flight reactive conditioning that signal a lack of inner development.
Our mind can bring influence to bear on our body. We can meditate and experience very subtle vibrations. We can explore and a variety of sensations that make up the body and brain. We can meditate to allow the breathing to become slower and slower requiring barely any air to nourish and sustain the body to know a depth of inner peace. Through mindfulness and meditation, we can generate warmth, kindness, happiness and compassion deep down into the depths of our being.
With appropriate diet and exercise, we can meditate to lower the blood pressure, increase the heat in the body, lower the heat, dissolve pain and release exceptional energy. We can stop treating the body as a personal possession or as our identity and know through direct experience the body as organic life, as elements, as an expression of nature, as dependently arising born of causes and conditions without any inherent self to it, without a notion of the body being our core identity.
We can experience the body as waves, as vibrations. We can know deep, inner peace in relationship to the body. There is a seeing and knowing that body, including all of its constituents, belong to a mode of description as designated by perception. The body does not know it is a body. The brain does not know it is a brain. Consciousness, perceptions, feelings and mental formations designate the body as body and the brain as the brain. The brain is not what we think it is and it is not otherwise.
SUFFERING AND THE SELF
The mind determines what matters and what does not matter. The mind states this is real and this not real. The mind comes between consciousness and matter. The mind is the instrument to know the world. If mind (including the heart) is bright, clear, peaceful like a pure pond, we can see deeply into the way things unfold. If the mind is caught up in beliefs, clinging to views and reactivity, then we know more about the mind than about reality.
Young and old, people can make cruel judgements about us. They can rubbish us, slag us off, put us down and tell us that we are worthless and useless. We are vulnerable to such tirades, instead of seeing these tirades as angry expressions of reactivity and adults acting upon their own shadows. Their violent opinions then internally get absorbed as facts, as the truth of who we are. We then become depressed, angry and inflict harm upon ourselves or harm upon others or both, through actions, speech or mind or all three. The mind inflicts suffering upon the body and the mind and body of another. Self-hate and other-hate can work very close together. The mind inflicts suffering upon itself. The mind precedes the body. The mind is the forerunner. Opinions about us become our truths, so to speak, through belief in them. These beliefs trigger suffering for ourselves and suffering for others.
Physical closeness and contact give immense support to others. We often need a hug. Deprived from hugs, touch and verbal expressions of love, children and adults easily get withdrawn and start indulging in the negative. This can lead to unhappiness and depression. Rules in education that forbid teachers from having any physical contact with children bring more suffering to children than prevents suffering because of the exceptionally rare sexual or physical abuse by teachers of children. Fear of being misunderstood now rules love in the classroom. Unruly children then face medication and teachers face stress and the need for a prescription from their doctor.
.Some scientists hold to the view that our IQ is inherited through our genes. Is it true? Parents who smoke and drink alcohol or constantly fight have an impact on the foetus affecting its capacity for intelligence in later life. The potential of the genetic make-up of a baby or children suffers through abuse, neglect and the intensity of surrounding stress. Contentment, inner peace, happiness help children and teenagers to concentrate, learn, reflect and experience original ideas. Conscious parenting and daily expressions of loving kindness offer the best support for healthy genes for children, wellness and intelligence in the approach to daily life.
Perceptions influence the brain in positive and negative ways. It is probably fair to conclude that our DNA functions rather well and that the vast percentage of health issues has little connection with our DNA. Our major industries, such as food, transport, pharmaceutical industries and military show little interest to stop or reduce their contribution to suffering of humans, animals and environmental exploitation. These industries remain in touch with their version of reality, namely sales and profit. There is the reality of suffering. There is the reality of the causes and conditions for suffering. There is the reality of the resolution of suffering and there is the reality of the way to resolve- suffering. This approach to reality applies to everybody whether engaged in science or not, religion or not, secular culture or not, political life or not. This approach to reality embraces every aspect of our daily life. It is bad science to refuse to take some responsibility for the tragic state of our planet owing to the unwillingness to prioritise the social environment we have all helped to shape. .
THE BRAIN AND LOVE, COMPASSION AND DIET
By scanning the brains of men and women who said they were in love, and comparing them with people who had fallen out of love or never been in love, researchers say they have been able to piece together the first map of the changes that occur in the brain.
Scientists inform us that their use of a functional magnetic resonance imaging scan (fMRI), which measures brain activity by detecting changes in blood flow, showed that love involves different areas of the brain. – One area dealing with the ending of a love affair. They conclude that a cocktail of chemicals also carries messages from one region to another. “Our study provides the first evidence of love-related alterations in the underlying architecture of the brain and the results shed new light on the mechanisms of romantic love,” said a professor of neuroscience. What is the volition behind such brain research? Is the volition to provide medication in the years ahead to impact that brain part affected when a relationship ends?
Scientists have also been pursuing carrying out experiments into the neurological effects of a “compassion drug”. The study, undertaken by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of California, San Francisco, found that prolonging dopamine’s – a brain chemical associated with reward and motivation – effects on the human brain causes people to be more sensitive to inequality. Subjects in the study were given a drug that changes the neurochemical balance in the prefrontal cortex of the brain – resulting in a greater willingness to engage in “pro-social behaviours”. Drugs, drugs and more drugs.
Sadly, Western science and medicine ignores a holistic approach to the well-being of society. The West has a fixation on individual disciplines in science, such as genetics, chemistry, physic, biology, as self-contained systems. Medicine has also become specialised with narrowly defined knowledge of particular ills. Western medicine could learn a lot from other forms of healing which employ a holistic approach but having spent decade after decade disparaging complementary medicine, the Western medical establishment will never admit they have much to learn from other medical traditions; some of them with a long history of adaption to contemporary needs.
When we eat and drink genetically modified food, we absorb the artificial gene (s) used for those animals or crops. These artificial genes enter into our stomach, digestive system and intestine. Scientists cannot know if there will be long term consequences for humans eating and drinking genetically modified food. GM crops interfere with the organic process. Once again, the impact of GM crop affects living organisms and plants outside the crop. There is growing evidence that certain weeds become more and more resistance to GM crops to the point where the respected scientific journal Nature has labelled these weeds as superweeds. Genetic scientists and neuroscientists have a lot of soul searching to engage in as they tamper more and more with organic life.
Much of the Western approach towards medicine exists in a painfully narrow band of pills. Through sustained use of drugs, often over years, they become frequently intrusive and harmful to a patient’s health. There is very little encouragement to address the causes for the ill-health of mind and body. Western medicine has linked itself to a scientific methodology and the application of numerous, concentrated chemicals. This approach lacks a careful and sensitive understanding of what contributes to a healthy human organism and fails to acknowledge the damaging impact of such chemicals upon the immune system. We live under a brutal system, run by powerful corporations, with the support of science and governments. These institutions contribute to a massive excess of calorie intake, a minimal opportunity for children at school to exercise, the consumption of highly processed foods directly injurious to health and daily exposure to harmful toxins. Much of our soil and plants have become damaged for generations through the consistent application, year by year, of harmful chemicals to kill plants, insects and maximise growth and profit.
As perhaps the largest and most complex organ in the human body, the brain consists of more than 100 billion nerves used to communicate literally trillions. Used for thinking and voluntary movements, the cortex is the outermost layer of brain cells. The brain stem is located between the spinal cord and the rest of the brain used for breathing and sleep. The cluster of structures in the centre of the brain coordinates messages between multiple other areas in the brain. The base and the back of the brain are responsible for coordination and balance. The lobes in the brain influence motor functions, posture, memory, hearing, handwriting and capacity to see.
The researchers said that their findings, published in in the journal Current Biology, pave the way for a better understanding of how the human brain functions, specifically the interaction between altered dopamine-brain mechanisms and mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia or addiction. We can appreciate scientific research and subsequent analysis.
We need to give priority to consciousness, the mind, our relationship to sense objects and the state of the world.
Readers can consider these nine approaches for exploration:
- Scientists struggle to understand the place of consciousness. Consciousness will not go away.
- While acknowledging the important work of genetic scientists and neuroscience, there is the necessity to develop a larger view for what arises, stays and passes.
- Any exaggeration of the significance of genes ends in a view of genetic determinism
- Belief has a significant impact on the organism. This includes personal beliefs, social, scientific, religious and philosophical beliefs.
- The current conditions of consciousness, and the mind with its range of feelings, perceptions, thoughts and intentions, take priority over identification with the past such as hereditary traits, the theory of evolution and DNA controlling our lives.
- The power of wisdom applied to the current situation matters in the short and long term. We are vulnerable to exaggerating the influence of the past through grasping onto scientific analysis about the long history of our species or belief in a first cause, such as God.
- Know specific conditionality for what arises through inquiring into the four conditions:
- A strong condition or strong conditions for what arises, for what stays and for what passes
- Supportive condition, inwardly and outwardly
- Conditions that lead up to what arises.
- Various conditions, gross or subtle, near or far, not always immediately obvious.
There is no fifth condition such as God, a first cause, chance, destiny, fate, an accident or coincidence. These serve as metaphysical assertions through failure to see causes (i.e. strong condition) for what arises, stays and passes.
- The scientific view that the world is made up of matter/energy reveals a view not the true reality. The countless other scientific views on the nature of existence reveal a particular way of determining reality. We protect truth by knowing views as views.
- Remember that the mind is the chief, is the forerunner in terms of the way we relate to life.
MAY ALL BEING RESPOND TO THE ISSUES OF OUR TIME
MAY ALL BEINGS LIVE WITH COMPASSION
MAY ALL BEINGS LIVE WITH WISDOM