Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Man at the top of a garbage heap, but closer to God.

When I watch popular programs on brain science or read academic papers, I often become irritated. It is of course interesting and useful to understand our most important organ, the generator of all things we subjectively experience. But this fascinating excursion has taken on the dull drama of dismantling a Swiss watch. The need to perfect what is a natural organic object becomes a desire to tinker with and improve upon an organ that is not broken. Some human brains need repair, or medical support, or special understanding, but in the extreme focus on imperfect brains, all brains have become defective; the human brain is viewed as a malfunctioning electrical device and not the core of a unique living being. The result is an explosion of pathologic diagnosis and partitions of humans into normal, abnormal, treatable, sort of treatable and intolerable - a pile of rejects created in the search for a perfect supernatural Man.

Researchers have become Lords of the Brain, the prescribers and manipulators of human destiny. Who are these individuals who have taken it upon themselves to decide which human beings are normal and which ought to be “tweeked, changed or fixed,” whether with drugs or biomedical engineering? Some scientists have abandoned life in order to create perfect obedient robots to replace an imperfect creature of evolution. 

What a dangerous idea. Humans have been ‘perfecting’ the environment for thousands of years; perfecting domestic animals and plants, overriding natural processes and polluting the earth. Know-it-alls have brought us to the brink of self destruction and created a mess of social disharmony and physical suffering justified by an archaic idea: God gave the earth to man to disrupt, loot and rape. Man at the top of a garbage heap, but closer to God.   

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