Significant Finding — The Interbrain

The Science section of today’s edition of The Telegraph features a story about how a form of  ‘wi-fi’ connects human brains.  This phenomenon is known as The Interbrain, and is based on the research of Professor Digby Tantum, a clinical professor of psychotherapy at the University of Sheffield.

Reading this article helped fill in some blanks on my own theory of culture, and how it manifests within people.  I would like to develop a paper, after putting finishing touches on a different (current) thesis, that comes at this very same idea from a different angle.  I already believe that we are wired together, and I have a lot to say on this subject.  This only confirms some of my suspicions.

If you have not read today’s article from The Telegraph, do so.  It helps to explain aspects of our social nature.  Here is a passage I found particularly pertinent.

Prof Tantum believes that the communication between brains may happen as an ‘inadvertent leak’ and it may be linked to smell. Areas of the brain which have the most activity of neurons are located in the prefrontal cortex, and are linked with smelling. They also are situated where they follow the gaze.

Our social nature may be linked to smell?  I am willing to go out on a limb with a detail of my own theory.  I think the word ‘may’ is not necessary.  But in order to explain this, I will have to first explain how similar we are to social insects.  In my younger days, before i lost my strength, I was a beekeeper (among other things).  I had the chance to study bees, and later ants, up close and personal.  Those experiences have remained with me.  I look at human behavior through a lens formed during those years.

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I have not abandoned my NaNoWriMo project.  I have only set it aside for the time being.    When i finish the project i started 36 years ago — only days from doing so — I will have more time for that, and this blog, and maybe talking about some things that Professor Digby Tantum is introducing to the world.  His ideas allow me to begin discussing my own.  Many of which bleed over into spirituality and its various forms of religious manifestations throughout history.

Have a wonderful day.

 

 

How do I know Thee, father?

As a former Catholic with a more naturalistic understanding of the world, I have long suspected that many Catholics, maybe most?, must have priestly ancestors.  There was a scandal in my own community that was kept hush-hush when I was a teenager.  A priest had become a real father with a girl from the church.  She was my age, +/- 1 year.  No one talked about it.  Years later my mom brought it up.  For some reason, we didn’t discuss these things as a family while they were an actual threat.  Ah, but that is the Catholic way.  We were kept ignorant by our own inability to speak about sexuality without feeling shame.

Now we have strong evidence that children fathered by Catholic priests is a worldwide phenomenon.  Thousands of people around the world have strong evidence that they were fathered by priests.  They are pressured not to speak about these things.  Why did I leave Catholicism?  Because the ideology does not allow for open and honest communication about things that matter.  Plain and simple.

 

The Limits of Faith

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This has been in the making for some time.  I was inspired to write a book.  I was disturbed enough to try.  For the past few years I have been hard at work developing the themes and concepts I wish to discuss, and integrating them into a model of the book.  The book itself was too complex to write in one go.  I had to build a model of it, to help me see what I was trying to say.

In some ways, the book has been a healthy diversion from life’s problems.  I have a form of muscular dystrophy that makes things quite challenging.  Several years ago I was forced to quit the working world, and deal head on with this.  It took a lot of effort to learn how to live with failing strength.  But I have.  Recently I moved from Arizona to North Carolina.  Soon I will move from an apartment into a home.  This was unthinkable three and four years ago.  But think it I did and now here I am.

Last year, at the beginning of summer, I made my first road trip, on my own.  I went to the 29th annual Pima Writers Workshop, in Tucson.  I submitted a manuscript to be critiqued by an agent.  First time doing that.  The guy likes my writing, but not as a book.  This did not stop me.  But it got me thinking about the scope of what I am trying to describe.  I have an awful lot of material that contradicts our understanding of ourselves.

One of the goals I set for myself at the beginning of this year was to write for an audience.  Begin publishing.  This blog has been on and off the back burner since its inception.  It has been difficult to keep this up while dealing with everything else.  But when I found the home, it occurred to me that I had achieved a goal I had set when I first could no longer work.  I had gotten myself out of one living situation I could no longer handle physically, and into one that I could.  A couple weeks ago I met at the house with a contractor to get a quote on a wheelchair ramp and a front deck, to replace the wooden staircase leading to the front door.  Afterwards, getting back in my van, I had to pause for a vision.  Something was telling me that I could finally pick up the blog again, and sustain it.

We live in a world gone mad.  I have been following the problem of radical Islam with intense disturbed fascination.  My writing interests have converged with world events.  I have spent my life finding the words to describe a phenomenon that regularly now is making the news.  Then, in the past few days, news broke of the pending executions of 14 pro-democracy demonstrators in Saudi Arabia.  As a writer, I feel a need to do something.  It is time to put an end to this madness.

My goal is to stop these executions from happening, by bringing attention to their plight.  But this is a short term goal.  Long term, my goal is to challenge our understanding of God, so that radical Islam loses its power.  My method will be to counter the narrative of radical Islam by describing it in new terms.  Religions like Islam and Christianity present a false view of God.  I am building a case.  We need a new understanding.  Something rational.  Because we have reached the limits of faith.

Progress in Three Paragraphs

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When free versions are available, why did I pay good money for this translation of the Quran?  Some of the value is in the English-language translation itself.  But much of the book is commentary from experts on Islam.  I paid for that.  Initially, I made a good faith effort to read the entire book, page by page.  But by the time I made it through the introduction, through the first surah and into the second, I realized that the commentary was bogging me down.  Most of this book consists of commentary.  For now, it distracts me from my purpose.

So I have spent the week reading the Quran, but focusing on Mohammed’s words exclusively.  It is slow but rewarding work.  I take the time to copy passages into my journal so that I can better argue with the ideas themselves.  When I read, I argue.  If I don’t argue, I am not engaged.  The fact that I am arguing much with the Quran means that I am very engaged by what it says.  When I get to the end of the 114th surah, I will have the basis for my for the article I am writing.  I won’t be done.  But I will be on my way.

I want to explain why I cannot embrace Islam.  Idealogical differences motivate me.  More than a quarter century ago, I left the Catholic church.  My reasons for rejecting Christianity were just as valid then as they are now.  But they apply equally well to Islam.  I am convinced more than ever that religion misrepresents God.

Hitting a wall

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I spoke about patterns in my last post, before sharing some resolutions for the new year.  I am the type of person who notices patterns.  I have a mathematical mind.  I analyze things.  Today I would like to analyze the physical collapse I managed to survive in the past few years.  I have rebounded enough to begin putting things into perspective.

Myotonic dystrophy is a slow progressing disease.  I noticed my first symptom 26 years ago.  But only in 2011 did I finally tell my doctor that I thought something was wrong with me.  Each year for more than a quarter century I lost a percentage of my strength.  But I had to reach the point of collapse before I cried for help.  Looking back, I can see the role that nutrition and diet played in hastening my collapse, and magnifying the entire ordeal for me.

I aspire to eat healthy.  So those periods where I did not eat healthy stand in stark contrast in my mind.  Looking back, I have to wonder, what was I thinking?  What the hell was I thinking when I began eating at McDonalds?  (True.  The first time, back in the 1960’s, it was a treat.  Probably more for my mom, who didn’t need to cook that meal.  She prepared all the others.  I can’t blame her for allowing it to become something of a habit.  I let that happen.)

When I was in my 30s, I abused fast food.  I allowed it to become a routine part of my diet.  I allowed it to become normal.  (What the hell was I thinking?)  Back then, it seemed at times I was too busy to bother with trying to eat healthy.  Sometimes, just trying to eat and keep my pace up was all I could do.  I had too much on my plate to leave room for healthy food.  I was very driven.  (Still am.)

Because I could burn through calories so easily in my youth, the first effects of this period of unhealthy eating did not show right away.   And so, the habit unwittingly became ingrained in my repertoire of coping and survival behaviors.  However.  One cannot forever ignore the consequences of poor nutrition.  They show up sooner or later.

A few years later, my weight ballooned.  I am a shade under 5’10”.  When I eat healthy, my weight stays around 140 now, less in my youth.  As fast food crept into my diet, my weight began climbing.  Imperceptibly at first.  My low point came in my mid-30s when I reached 195.  On some people of my height, 195 doesn’t look bad.  On me, it went disproportionately to my gut.  I resembled my junior high track coach.  A man – pregnant with basketball.  (I hope he rediscovered healthy food before I did.)  Thus began my battle with weight.

My 40s was a decade of marriage.  A am grateful to my  ex for all her wonderful meals.  She knew more about nutrition than I did.  She prepared healthy food.  But by this point, I was addicted to the flavors of fast and junk.  My problem wasn’t her meals.  My problem were the choices I made when eating meals on my own, and snacking.

We separated in 2010.  On my own again, I knew I had to eat better.  And this is where I will leave the tale for today.  One year before telling my doctor I knew something was wrong with my health.

Ineffectual

In the wake of the attack in Nice, Manuel Valls, the French Prime Minister, said the following:

One could refuse to face facts, we could forget, move on.  But I must tell the truth to the French people, terrorism will be a part of our daily lives for a long time.

Does terrorism really need to be a part of people’s daily lives?  Or are the wrong people getting elected?