Thursday 6 October 2022

Does incoherent metaphysics cause brain damage?

The clickbait title asks a question that - in a literal sense - is unanswerable; but the presumption must be: Yes. 

Leaving spiritual aspects aside (for once) it is clear that natural selection acting upon human behaviour would have adapted human beings to living on the basis of many assumptions that are now denied-by and deleted-from all mainstream public discourse. 

A simple example is God/ gods/ spirits. All humans, until recently, lived in societies that operated on the basis that there were supernatural beings which had a major influence on human life and society. The implication is that such assumptions would be hard-wired into the human brain; since 'religion' was such an important factor in human society and therefore human reproduction. 

This assumption of the supernatural has now been deleted. So modern humans are in a position of having innumerable deep, powerful, innate and spontaneous expectations built -pon supernatural assumptions, that are now denied.  

Another assumption is that life continues - in some way - after biological death. There are many different ideas in historical societies about what happens after 'death' - but all societies were built on the assumptions that death was Not the end and there would be a life after death. 

This expectation of continued existence naturally affects many attitudes to life before death - and conversely the fact that modern societies assume that death is an annihilation of everything personal must likewise affect many attitudes. In effect modern expectations of life has been shortened from 'forever' to a few decades.

It's enough to drive anyone crazy - and they are...

Multiply such factors many-fold, and you can see that - even as a simple biological level - modern men and women are likely to be some combination of insane and despairing. 

Which is exactly what we find. 

The insanity is evident from the lack of insight - loss of insight into the fact of illness being a hallmark of psychosis. This combines with incoherence of thinking - another hallmark. The despair is evident from the 'morality' of short-termist hedonism as a guiding principle (and 'right'); which culturally began to set-in with the 1960s.  

The idea that actual brain damage may underlie maladaptive responses to human life, is simply the recognize that habitual behaviours affect brain structure, as well as brain function; leading to harmful changes that are lasting and difficult to reverse. 

All this is predictable just from ordinary evolutionary biology - and leaving aside the primary level of spiritual reality: which is yet another thing that has been eliminated from modern society. 


a_probst said...

"...modern men and women are likely to be some combination of insane and despairing."

This reminds me of a comment I made here months ago. I said that I wished I could give the materialists the world they wanted while the rest of us repair to an extra-dimensional sideline and watch their society unfold and, very likely, unravel. You replied that we already had that world. But mine was an admittedly spiteful and sullen wish to see how they fared when they no longer had religious folk 'to kick around.'

But now that you mention it, maybe the continued existence of religious people to refute and ridicule gives the materialists a feeling of always becoming, and thereby is the confrontation with themselves postponed indefinitely. Keeping them sane for the time being.

And I was only thinking of the visible. What of the invisible world of prayer? What would the world be like without the hermitages, monasteries, convents, lamaseries, etc., which we have had in unbroken succession for many centuries?

Bruce Charlton said...

@a_p - That all sounds plausible.

Bearing in mind that prayer needs to be directed properly and in the right spirit, to do much good.