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Brain Foundational Psychology

QM and the Vital Difference between Consciousness and Intelligence

Consciousness is the perception1 of the purpose of life. Intelligence is the ability to successfully fulfill that purpose.

Introduction

The quadrune mind model states that the human brain is able to produce four distinctly different minds. Each mind has a different level of consciousness. The purpose of life is dramatically different for each mind’s level of consciousness. The kind of intelligence required to fulfill that purpose of life is different for each mind. Note that the way “intelligence” is used throughout this blog is not to be confused with being an “intellectual,” which is associated specifically with the new mammalian mind in the quadrune mind model.2

In this post I hope to show how a multi-level model of consciousness, each with a corresponding kind of intelligence, provides explanations for people’s behaviors in a way that is not adequately accounted for otherwise. This innovative approach is based on Paul D. MacLean and his triune brain model3 as well as our quadrune mind model.4

For comparison’s sake I have provided definitions for consciousness and intelligence from the quadrune mind model,5the American Psychological Assoication,6 and Mirriam-Webster.7

The quadrune mind argues that the human brain can produce four distinct “minds” each of which functions at a different level of consciousness. Each mind corresponds to our evolutionary past (see Appendix below for examples of our interspecies relationships) and our individual developmental stages of growth. Additionally, each mind is associated with one area of the brain more than other areas. Each mind has a specialized purpose in life to perform. Successful fulfillment of each purpose is considered an indication of good intelligence for that level of consciousness.

In the quadrune mind model, we can only achieve spiritual consciousness when we are able to progress through each mind in a healthy way. Unfortunately, afflictions, whether physical or emotional, prevent many of us from developing our minds to the point that our Human mind is dominant in our behaviors, emotions, and thoughts. Understanding the consciousness and intelligence of each of our minds can help us learn how to heal each other and promote more Human-mindedness in the world. The purpose of this model is not to create a hierarchy of people, but to help us understand ourselves and each other with the goal of building relationships that enable all of us to live spiritually fulfilling lives. 

In the next section I will use the quadrune mind perspective of consciousness to describe: (1) the area of the Central Nervous System associated with each mind (2) the dominant life purpose of each mind’s level of consciousness, (3) the kind of intelligence that each mind uses to fulfill its purpose of life, and (4) how each mind is expressed in an afflicted adult who is “stuck” at that respective level of consciousness.

The Newborn Pre-Reptilian “Mind”8

CNS area associated with the mind. This “mind” is associated with the spinal cord and brainstem.

Somatic (Reflexive) Consciousness. The purpose of this proto-mind is to sense stimuli adaptively. I call this level of consciousness “sentience” but in a much more narrow meaning than the term is generally used by some cognitive ethologists, perhaps closer to this neurophysiologist’s thinking regarding the possible levels of consciousness of animals (but separate from his moral conclusions). The pre-reptilian proto-mind “guides” the fetus’s brain to neurologically integrate the sensations of gestation, birth, and a few post-birth months (and/or the self-organizing “brain” animates the nascent mind). At about eight to ten weeks of pregnancy the fetus is developing the ability to move limbs and shows many reflexive behaviors.9

A kind of integrative learning, or adapting to environmental stimuli, is present; for example, the lessening intensity of the startle response to a repeated auditory stimulus, such as loud claps near the mother’s belly.

Somatic (Reflexive) Intelligence. The first kind of “intelligence” in the quadrune mind sense is measured by the Apgar test. The newborn is rated on skin appearance (color), heart rate, reflexes, muscle tone, and respiration—brain stem and spinal cord activities. The Apgar score from 0-10 indicates how successfully the newborn’s developing brain integrated the gestational and birthing experiences. (It is not a predictor of future neurological problems.)

Dominant Pre-reptilian “mind” in an afflicted adult. The pre-reptilian mind can only react reflexively to sounds, movements of objects or people, touch, and other stimuli without an understanding of how these stimulations fit together into a sensible, coherent experience. For the proto-mind to dominate an adult consciousness there must be a significant lack of experience with an environmental setting so that a mental schema has not developed. Or a severe trauma to brain functions may temporarily regress a person’s level of consciousness. 

We have described pre-reptilian mental characteristics in previous blogs. For example, the first phase of response to psychological trauma described by Philip Zimbardo is “shock, confusion, and even psychic numbness [emphasis in the original].” There is “psychic numbness” because the neural connections in the brain necessary to support a higher level of consciousness and self-awareness have been “short-circuited.” The neural connections have become “dis-integrated.” 

Our profile of Tara Westover provides two examples of a dominant pre-reptilian mind in an adult. First, at age 17, Tara Westover moved from a secluded Idaho mountain home to Brigham Young University to begin college. In Educated, she describes the extreme social and academic cultural (sensory) shock she experienced at the BYU campus. For example, it was her first time in a classroom. She found many daily aspects of her new life disorienting. Crosswalk signals, sirens, and even people chattering on the sidewalk “battered” her mind, in contrast to the familiar sounds of her mountain home in Idaho. 

Westover’s disorientation resulted from a lack of neural connections that were not developed during her life at home. No schema had been created for an environment like the BYU campus. The areas of her brain reacting to the new stimuli were un-integrated. They had never developed with the consequence that Westover was “battered” by sounds that other students took no “mind” of.

The second Westover example is another one of a “dis-integrated” neural connectivity in response to a panic attack. We wrote: “Westover describes what she calls a panic attack… in the following way: ‘I had pressed myself into the wall and was hugging my knees to my chest, trying to keep my heart from leaping out of my body. My friend rushed toward me to help…. It was an hour before I could let her touch me… [emphasis added].’” Her traumatically regressed level of consciousness was not integrated enough to experience a (friend’s) touch as a caring attempt to comfort her. Also, the internal stimulus of a strongly beating heart might be experienced at the pre-reptilian level of consciousness as literally “leaping out of her body.” In time the resiliency of Westover’s healthy brain was able to re-integrate communications among the neurons and it reorganized at a higher level of consciousness.

The Infantile Reptilian Mind

CNS area associated with the mind. This mind is associated with the brainstem.

Behavioral Consciousness. The purpose for the reptilian mind is to integrate behavior so that it can be directed in an intentional, goal-directed way. 

Behavioral Intelligence. Along with emotional and cognitive milestones, there are many behavioral milestones of a child’s first several years that indicate how successfully the reptilian behavioral mind is developing. By about two months of age, the infant can indicate normal behavioral intelligence in several ways. For example: 

  • Moves arms and kicks
  • Lifts head when on stomach
  • Reacts to noises
  • Makes sounds

Dominant Reptilian mind in an afflicted adult. For many people there can be some kind of disruption to the neural growth of the infant’s brain. The pattern of increasing neural connectivity that generally proceeds from the brainstem to the cerebral cortex to the prefrontal cortex can lose the integrity it needs to produce the “higher” levels of consciousness. In such cases the person may become an adult who is dominated by their infantile reptilian behavioral mind.  

These persons often act out ritualized survival-oriented behaviors without the consciousness needed to be self-aware of the real drivers of their behavior: behavior to preserve the status quo. As it relates to the person’s infantile sense of identity, the need for status quo is experienced, physiologically, in the same way that the infant’s body experiences the need for homeostasis. Consequently, preserving the status quo is more important to the infantile-minded person than anything or anyone else.

For example, certain Roman Catholic bishops who identify with the Church for their existential identity (the identity that their reptilian consciousness sees as essential to survival) may cover up priestly predatory sexual behavior toward boys. The bishops “know” viscerally that it is more important to preserve the perpetual existence of the Church (and themselves) than to protect children from sexual predators. Institutional protectionism may even extend to the stature of Pope Francis.

Or constitutional originalists, who existentially identify with a sacred Constitution, “know” viscerally that it is more important to have one eternal interpretation of the law than to periodically change its interpretation—and their sense of self—even if a more contemporary understanding of law would serve the people and the country better. The reptilian mentality is profiled in our blog on Donald Trump.

The Childish Old Mammalian Mind

CNS area associated with the mind. This mind is associated with the limbic system.

Emotional Consciousness. The purpose of the old mammalian mind is to insure the survival of the family/tribe/“herd.” The life of the individual is inconsequential compared to the on-going security of the group. This can be any identifiable group of people upon which the person is emotionally attached at a symbiotic level of object relations.10 In other words, if the group does not survive, the “individual” intuitively “knows” (at a pre-rational level) that they would not survive either. The group could be a family, gang, cult, or military unit, among other possibilities. As in traditional cultures, expulsion from the group means to become a nonperson, which is worse than death. In other words, the person has no “survivable” independent identity apart from the group identity. The relationship of the old mammalian-minded adult to the group is essentially the same as that of a young child to their family.

Emotional Intelligence. Emotional intelligence is indicated when a person can experience the full range of human emotions without self-censorship. They are also able to experience emotions felt by a group and join in to express those emotions in a healthy way. 

Temple Grandin is described by us as an exceptionally intelligent old mammalian-minded person in the quadrune mind sense. She identifies her own autism spectrum brain as existing on a continuum of brains between animals and humans. Because she understands the animal brain (we might even say sees them as part of her “herd”), she picks up on their emotions in a way many people cannot. She uses her old mammalian-based intelligence to humanize our treatment of animals, which is very much a Human-minded pursuit.

Dominant Old Mammalian mind in an afflicted adult. The dominant old mammalian mind is the tribal mentality of humans. Most of us seem to believe that tribalism is an innate nature of people, but it isn’t. Tribalism represents a stunted stage of consciousness of human beings. That the childish old mammalian mind is pervasive, though, can be seen by news stories around the world every day. All emotionally-driven group-based conflict consists of old mammalians on both sides of the conflict irrespective of the content of the mind

The Adolescent New Mammalian Mind

CNS area associated with the mind. This mind is associated with the neocortex.

Intellectual (Cognitive) Consciousness. The purpose of the new mammalian mind is to imagine things that cannot be physically perceived. 

Intellectual (Cognitive) Intelligence.11

The successful thinking mind of a healthy adult generates abstract concepts and ideas including in the fields of science, morality, and ethics. It recognizes value in the pursuit of knowledge. 

Dominant New Mammalian mind in an afflicted adult. Because the new mammalian-minded person identifies with an abstract ideology, everything else in the world is evaluated as a competing abstraction. Everything is theoretical. Real life people are just statistics to be analyzed and potentially exploited for economic or political power (the idea of power also being an abstraction). Destruction of material things or death to physical bodies is a negligible price to pay for the true believer’s ideological cause.  

People have killed other people and have given their own lives for abstract concepts such as democracy, communism, freedom, Christianity, Islam, the Jewish state, and “white” supremacy. Perhaps paradoxically, the person’s transcendent abstract ideology appears to inhibit a person’s ability to think critically on the real world consequences of their devotion to the ideology. It appears that the abstract ideology is so valued for the person’s survival that it is “downloaded” to the instinctual survival-oriented reptilian mind.12

This level of “intelligence” takes the most expedient route available to its goal. “Collateral damage” is not considered a problem. For example, the life of a woman may not be valued compared to the survival of a fetus for those devoted to the “pro-life ideology.” 

We have provided some detail in our blog QM and the Scary New Mammalian Mind of the 21st Century of the dominant new mammalian mind. The poet, Robert Bly, described what a nation of “adolescents” looks like in his insightful, controversial, and perhaps vindicated book, The Sibling Society.13

The Adult Human Mind

CNS area associated with the mind. This mind is associated with the prefrontal cortex.

Spiritual Consciousness. The purpose of the Human mind is to decrease suffering and increase healing for the self, other people, all living creatures, and the environment.

Spiritual Intelligence. A successful fulfillment of the purpose of the Human mind might seem like a piety-in-the-sky goal: the capacity for a sense of responsibility to, and communion with, people never met, all living beings, and the earth. The practiced, habituated behaviors of the reptilian mind have become healing skills for tending the environment, comforting the suffering, and mending the broken. Human-minded individuals expand the old mammalian mind’s emotional intelligence to feel compassion for all creatures, not only members of their group. They use the knowledge gained through their new mammalian mind to promote a state of peace for people14 at all levels of personal and social organization.

Humans seek opportunities to hone the skills at all levels of consciousness needed for success in the spiritual life: patience, compassion, tolerance, and respectfulness, among others. Humans take every opportunity to pass on those skills to others. Spiritual success is the only meaningful measure of intelligencefor the life of a Human being. We profiled Siddhartha Gautama as an example of Human-mindedness.

Dominant Human mind in an afflicted adult. By definition, the Human mind is not afflicted. That’s not to say that Human-minded individuals do not experience loss and struggles, but adversity is met with a spirit of equanimity. The mind is not regressed to pre-Human levels of consciousness. The person remains self-aware of their behaviors, emotions, and thoughts and how they affect self, other people, and the environment. The Human-minded person is mindful to refrain from behaviors, emotions, or thoughts that are self-serving or defensive of one group of people against others, or that use any ideology to justify partisan pre-Human actions, emotions, and thoughts. 

Conclusion

The purpose of life for each of us is not something that comes to us from out there, which we are special enough to recognize because of our brilliant intellect, good ol’ common sense, or unwavering faith. The purpose of our life is determined by our own individual brain’s level of consciousness, which dictates our behaviors, emotions, and thoughts. We then relentlessly impose our perceived purpose of life upon other people, other creatures, and the earth. If we are stuck in an animal-like mind, then we will live life with an animal-like purpose. 

We can’t acquire Human consciousness on our own. We must participate in humanizing relationships with other people. Only the Human mind has a life purpose that fits our true Human nature. Wisdom is the awareness of humanity’s purpose in life

It takes great courage, self-awareness, and self-trust for any of us to question our fundamental sense of purpose in this world—to become conscious enough to see our spiritual shortcomings honestly. It takes dedicated effort to learn the skills—to become intelligent enough to heal our afflictions that keep us stuck in animal-like levels of consciousness—and animal-like life purposes. In an act of great daring we have to treat each other humanely before we feel like consciously adult Human beings. That’s not just a naïve aspirational platitude, it’s a neurobiological necessity.15

Additional Resource

Goff, P. (2019). Galileo’s error: Foundations for a new science of consciousness. New York: Pantheon Books. “Panpsychism [as a theory of consciousness] offers a way of ‘re-enchanting’ the universe. On the panpsychist view, the universe is like us; we belong in it…. We can live in nature, in the universe. We can let go of nation and tribe, happy in the knowledge that there is a universe that welcomes us. My hope is that panpsychism can help humans once again to feel that they have a place in the universe. At home in the cosmos, we might begin to dream about—and perhaps make real—a better world (page 217).” [Emphases in the original. Phillip Goff provides historical and current context for the philosophical and scientific questions, and possible answers, regarding the nature of consciousness. He supports panpsychism as an explanation of how consciousness exists. We endorse panpsychism as a resolution of the creation versus evolution debate. Additionally, Goff’s closing statement quoted above is a very nice fit with the quadrune mind’s view of Humanity’s place in the universe. See The Guardian’s instructive review of Goff’s book].

Appendix

The modeling of human mentalities based on ancestors in our evolutionary past is more than a metaphor. It reflects the common biological heritage that shapes both human and nonhuman brains—and minds. Human beings share DNA with all other life on earth

Percent of human DNA shared with:

Other human beings                        99.9%

[This high percentage rate indicates a short evolutionary time span for humanity to genetically diversify. It is a fairly average percentage compared with other species, suggesting how fragile life on earth is. It appears that most species now living have arisen only recently because of a high extinction rate for life on earth in general].

Chimpanzees and Bonobos           98.7%

Rhesus monkeys                             93.0%

Abyssinian house cats                    90.0%

Mice                                                    85.0%

[Mice make good subjects as human analogues for medical science research, including neuropsychiatric disorders].                     

Cows                                                  80.0%

Fruit flies                                            61.0%

Bananas                                            60.0%

“The numbers can be misleading, though, because much of the shared DNA is ‘silent’ and is not involved in the coding sequence.” [Nevertheless, DNA shows a common evolutionary ancestry. Still, there are significant brain differences among species, which are otherwise closely related genetically. Similarly, during our lifetime we experience dramatic mental differences as our brain grows during our developmental stages. Specifically, the infantile, childish, and adolescent minds differ significantly in the kind of information it processes and the purposes in life it seeks to fulfill. And each is dramatically different from the Human mind, which seems to have no biological precedent in nature.

As an exercise in cognitive empathy and perhaps humility, it might be interesting to scale the degrees of genetic relatedness from the perspectives of other life forms. For example, put the fruit fly or banana at the “top” and work outward from them. Universal kinship works universally. It’s not just about us].

  1. Mirriam-Webster. (2021). perception
    1a: a result of perceiving : OBSERVATION
    b: a mental image : CONCEPT
    2obsolete : CONSCIOUSNESS
    3a: awareness of the elements of environment through physical sensationcolor perception
    b: physical sensation interpreted in the light of experience
    4a: quick, acute, and intuitive cognition : APPRECIATION
    b: a capacity for comprehension
  2. See the quadrune mind Study Guide for detailed additional information about the material presented here.
  3. Triune brain. Wikipedia. “While inaccurate in many respects as an explanation for brain activity, structure and evolution, it remains one of very few approximations of the truth we have to work with: the ‘neocortex’ represents that cluster of brain structures involved in advanced cognition, including planning, modeling and simulation; the ‘limbic brain’ refers to those brain structures, wherever located, associated with social and nurturing behaviors, mutual reciprocity, and other behaviors and affects that arose during the age of the mammals; and the ‘reptilian brain’ refers to those brain structures related to territoriality, ritual behavior and other ‘reptile’ behaviors….

    “Glynda-Lee Hoffmann, in her book The Secret Dowry of Eve, Women’s Role in the Development of Consciousness, references the triune theory explored by MacLean and goes one step further. Her theory about human behavior, and the problems we create with that behavior, distinguishes the prefrontal cortex as uniquely different from the rest of the neocortex. The prefrontal cortex, with its agenda of integration, is the part of the brain that can get the other parts to work together for the good of the individual. In many humans the reptilian cortex (agenda: territory and reproduction [in humans that translates to power and sex]) is out of control and the amygdala stokes the fear that leads to more bad behavior. The prefrontal cortex is the key to our future if we can harness its power” [Hoffmann’s approach to the prefrontal cortex is consistent with the quadrune mind and other neuroscientific thinking. Bracketed section above is in the original].

  4. I would like to acknowledge the contribution that a colleague, David Aspy, made to the development of these ideas. David was internationally known for his prolific and influential research in educational psychology. He was an early, active supporter of me and the quadrune mind model. We met in the morning in his home once or twice a week to brainstorm together to help develop my ideas. He always had fresh-baked bread (in contrast to my half-baked ideas) and other breakfast treats. He also mentored other community-building minded people in the area. A comment he made during a 1998 presentation at my home church of my new neurospirituality model (now the quadrune mind model) inspired me to contemplate the difference between “consciousness” and “intelligence” in the model.
  5. consciousness: the perception of the purpose of life.

    intelligence: the ability to successfully fulfill that purpose.

  6. APA Dictionary of Psychology:

    consciousnessn.

    1. the state of being conscious. [This definition has no definitive meaning in the quadrune mind model. Thestate of consciousness is different for each of the four kinds of mentalities produced by the human brain. However, many other models of consciousness identify only one mind with possibly dissociated states. The quadrune mind posits four distinct kinds of minds as emergent qualities of the human brain].

    2. an organism’s awareness of something either internal or external to itself. [awareness: “n. perception or knowledge of something…. However, it is possible to be aware of something without being explicitly conscious of it (e.g., see blindsight). Quadrune mind states that awareness of external stimuli is not the same thing as self-awareness or spiritual awareness].

    3. the waking state (see wakefulness). [“Wakefulness” may be in service to any level of consciousness. What a person understands about the waking world will differ greatly depending on the mind of the person, who may not realize their true mind even when “awake.” Similarly, the currently self-declared “woke” folk activists might also function at any one of the pre-Human minds without knowing it. The fully spiritually-minded person would not encounter anyone in a hostile way as some activists seem to do, no matter how benighted the “asleep” might be. Probably, as if from a sleep-walking state, the “unawakened” should be gently awakened, although that might still be frightening to them]. 

    intelligencen. the ability to derive information, learn from experience, adapt to the environment, understand, and correctly utilize thought and reason. [From the quadrune mind perspective, “derive information” and “adapt to the environment” are true of all levels of consciousness, although “learn from experience” is considered much more limited for the reptilian mind. “Thought and reason” would apply only to the new mammalian mind (as well as being accessible to the Human mind)].

    The APA also defines other types of intelligence that will be discussed in this blog, emotional and cognitive intelligence, as follows (there is no APA definition for somatic or spiritual intelligence):

    emotional intelligence: a type of intelligence that involves the ability to process emotional information and use it in reasoning and other cognitive activities…. [Emphasis added. Defining emotional intelligence as “the ability to process emotional information and use it in reasoning and other cognitive activities” confabulates the old mammalian mind with new mammalian activities, from the quadrune mind point of view. As usual, all kinds of intelligence are defined in terms of cognitive intelligence instead of the quadrune mind model’s four distinct types of intelligences]. cognitive intelligence: one’s abilities to learn, remember, reason, solve problems, and make sound judgments, particularly as contrasted with emotional intelligence. [This definition is generally consistent with the quadrune mind’s new mammalian-like category of “intellectual consciousness”].

  7. Mirriam-Webster:

    consciousness

    1a: the quality or state of being aware especially of something within oneself. [Awareness (consciousness) in the quadrune mind model is qualitatively different for each mind].

    b: the state or fact of being conscious of an external object, state, or fact. [This definition would appear to specify the new mammalian mind, especially regarding a “fact”].

    intelligence

    1a(1):the ability to learn or understand or to deal with new or trying situations REASON also the skilled use of reason. [This definition applies to the new mammalian or Human awareness].

    (2):the ability to apply knowledge to manipulate one’s environment or to think abstractly as measured by objective criteria (such as tests). [From the quadrune mind perspective, this definition confabulates new mammalian intelligence (“think abstractly”) with the functioning of levels of consciousness generally (“manipulate one’s environment”)].

  8. “Mind” is in quotes here because it is not considered one of the four minds in the quadrune mind model since the pre-reptilian “mind” supports only a reflexive response to sensory stimuli. It is not able to produce intentional goal-directed behavior, which is considered a minimum requirement for a mind in the quadrune mind model. However, it is a necessary prerequisite to the further development of our minds and understanding it is essential to understanding those who have faced extreme afflictions.
  9. Zero to Three. When does the fetus’s brain begin to work? “By the end of the first trimester, a fetus’s movement repertoire is remarkably rich, [including movement of the limbs and fingers, hiccupping, stretching, yawning, sucking, swallowing, grasping, and thumb-sucking] even though most pregnant women can feel none of it. (Most women sense the first fetal movements around eighteen weeks of pregnancy.)

    “The second trimester marks the onset of other critical reflexes: continuous breathing movements (that is, rhythmic contractions of the diaphragm and chest muscles) and coordinated sucking and swallowing reflexes. These abilities are controlled by the brainstem, which sits above the spinal cord but below the higher, more recently-evolved cerebral cortex. The brainstem is responsible for many of our body’s most vital functions–heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure. It is largely mature by the end of the second trimester, which is when babies first become able to survive outside the womb.” [In the quadrune mind the brainstem is associated with the infantile reptilian mind. For embryonic and fetal development with comments about possible afflictions at various stages, see perinatology.com].

  10. Mahler, M. S., Pine, F., & Bergman, A. (1975). The psychological birth of the human infant: Symbiosis and individuation. New York: Basic Books. [Mahler’s classic theory describing the infant’s healthy development as a separate “self”].
  11. APA definition of cognition: “1. all forms of knowing and awareness, such as perceiving, conceiving, remembering, reasoning, judging, imagining, and problem solving. Along with affect and conation, it is one of the three traditionally identified components of mind. [For the APA cognition is, “all forms of knowing and awareness, such as perceiving, conceiving, remembering, reasoning, judging, imagining, and problem solving. Along with affect and conation, it is one of the three traditionally identified components of mind.” [Psychology usually thinks of all humans as being of one mind. The quadrune mind states that behavioral differences among people are caused by the dominance over their behavior by one of four different minds, resulting from the absence or presence of afflictions to the developing or adult brain].

    [Definition of conation, which is included in APA’s definition of cognition, reveals more: “n. the proactive (as opposed to habitual) part of motivation that connects knowledge, affect, drives, desires, and instincts to behavior. Along with affect and cognition, conation is one of the three traditionally identified components of mind. The behavioral basis of attitudes is sometimes referred to as the conative component. See also bases of an attitude [and] tripartite model of attitudes.” In the quadrune mind model “instincts” fit under the pre-reptilian and reptilian minds for reflexive and intentional ritualized behaviors, respectively. “Affect, drives, and desires” would best fit under the old mammalian functions. For APA there is one mind for all].

  12. Hutson, M. (2017, September 5). Why do people die fighting for a cause? Science. “Human beings are inspired by belief in apparently absurd things. Religion or transcendental ideologies, for example. This leap of faith seems to inspire others to great things, and probably is the reason we were able to form large polities. We found people were willing to sacrifice their family for these things.

    “Think of the origins of the monotheistic religions. Abraham is ready to slit his son’s throat. The very term “Islam” means submission of tribal and genetic identities. So those things just grab the minds and hearts. We’ve also done [functional MRI] scans which aren’t published yet. Sacred values inhibit deliberative reasoning, so they’re in a sense more efficient in the clutchYou don’t even think about them.” [Emphases added].

  13. Bly, R. (1996). The sibling society. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley. Bly writes from a specifically male generational perspective toward baby boomers. Nevertheless, his comments about an “adolescent” culture have relevance for us. For example:

    “It’s very difficult for a girl, particularly in our culture, to keep the two parts of herself in balance. The pressure will be to suppress the wild part, the ‘ugly part…’” (page 91).

    “Younger and younger children are brought onto talk shows; and they are told that their opinion and observations are important to everyone. This singling out of the very young to be celebrities or sources of wisdom is really a form of child abuse” (page 134). 

    “The closing down of affirmative action means that the ladder is being lifted farther out of reach for black people. The trick of the media is to keep the attention away from those who are pulling the ladder up, and to let the camera zoom in on the people fighting each other to touch a rung” (page 155).“Our society has been damaged not only by acquisitive capitalism, but also by an idiotic distrust of all ideas, religions, and literature handed down to us by elders and ancestors. Many siblings are convinced that they have received nothing of value from anyone. The older truth is that every man or woman is indebted to all other persons, living or dead, and is indebted as well to animals, plants, and the gods” (page 163) [emphasis added].

  14. Lederach, J. P. (2005). The moral imagination: The art and soul of building peace. New York: Oxford University Press. “[M]oral imagination, which I will define as the capacity to imagine something rooted in the challenges of the real world yet capable of giving birth to that which does not yet exist” (page ix) [emphasis in the original]. “Rarely, if ever, when faced with large-scale life-and-death issues do leaders invite artists—from musicians and poets to painters, filmmakers, and playwrights—to respond imaginatively from within their disciplines to the challenges they face as leaders. Yet in the aftermath of the events that follow, it is often the artist who penetrates the deeper essence of humanity’s plight. Why not the foremath?” (page 176).
  15. Siegel, D. J. (1999). The developing mind: Toward a neurobiology of interpersonal experience. New York: Guilford Press. “[T]he mind emerges at the interface of interpersonal experience and the structure and function of the brain” (page ix).

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