Neuroscience and The Abyss

Is it possible that all the extrasensory electronic stimulation that as a post modernist society we are all increasingly exposed to are causing some members of the population to fall into a moral and mental abyss? Take the extremely disheartening and disturbing shootings that occurred this past week, which you are familiar with I am sure, and consider the fact that the perpetrator was at times consumed by a video game in which he vicariously killed other humans in a simulated combat game. It would appear and has been documented that such behavior leads to a form of hypoesthesia where an individual becomes desensitized to sensory stimuli to the point where the line between reality and fantasy becomes blurred. This leads directly to a form of deadly nihilism which completely replaces any fragments of feelings or moral code that remain in an already socially confused and alienated individual. As a society we need to be extremely aware of such dangers and the inherent ripple effect that violence has on ourselves and others.

Compare hypoethesia to its’ antonym a condition known as hyperthesia. This is a condition where the senses become heightened. A heightening of the senses as one was perhaps enjoying the wonders of nature. Would this not then logically lead to a form of empiricism? A state in which the very reason one would have to live would be the experience of such full and heightened awareness of touch and feelings? All the senses engaged at once instead of only the senses a video game could provide? Perhaps we should also be acutely aware of the lack of this state in so many of our lives. We have dangerously replaced nature with a poor facsimile. We should take care to recognize this shortcoming of humanities’ electronic creations and make concerted efforts to remedy the lack of nature in our lives. It has been shown that being outside in nature actually helps to lower ones blood pressure, all by itself. Certainly this wouldn’t work if one was being pursued by a wild animal.

This brings us to guns. Do human beings need guns to exist happily? Absolutely not. One of the beautiful advances of modern civilization is the very fact that one can exist peacefully without constant threat of death or pursuit of by wild animals as our ancestors had to endure. For the most part we can live in peace.  Sadly there are times when madmen seek to destroy this peace by blowing things up etc. Instead of emulating the violence that has occurred we should seek to sublimate such events. More video games that have less killing and more civilized behavior would be in order. We must learn to take care of each other lest we end up in a hell world of our very own creation.

“Maybe every other American movie shouldn’t be based on a comic book. Other countries will think Americans live in an infantile fantasy land where reality is whatever we say it is and every problem can be solved with violence.”                   — Bill Maher

“Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.” — Isaac Asimov

Get off the cell phone and Drive! — Jake Shween

Neuroscience and The Abyss

Is it possible that all the extrasensory electronic stimulation that as a post modernist society we are all increasingly exposed to are causing some members of the population to fall into a moral and mental abyss? Take the extremely disheartening and disturbing shootings that occurred this past week, which you are familiar with I am sure, and consider the fact that the perpetrator was at times consumed by a video game in which he vicariously killed other humans in a simulated combat game. It would appear and has been documented that such behavior leads to a form of hypoesthesia where an individual becomes desensitized to sensory stimuli to the point where the line between reality and fantasy becomes blurred. This leads directly to a form of deadly nihilism which completely replaces any fragments of feelings or moral code that remain in an already socially confused and alienated individual. As a society we need to be extremely aware of such dangers and the inherent ripple effect that violence has on ourselves and others.

Compare hypoethesia to its’ antonym a condition known as hyperthesia. This is a condition where the senses become heightened. A heightening of the senses as one was perhaps enjoying the wonders of nature. Would this not then logically lead to a form of empiricism? A state in which the very reason one would have to live would be the experience of such full and heightened awareness of touch and feelings? All the senses engaged at once instead of only the senses a video game could provide? Perhaps we should also be acutely aware of the lack of this state in so many of our lives. We have dangerously replaced nature with a poor facsimile. We should take care to recognize this shortcoming of humanities’ electronic creations and make concerted efforts to remedy the lack of nature in our lives. It has been shown that being outside in nature actually helps to lower ones blood pressure, all by itself. Certainly this wouldn’t work if one was being pursued by a wild animal.

This brings us to guns. Do human beings need guns to exist happily? Absolutely not. One of the beautiful advances of modern civilization is the very fact that one can exist peacefully without constant threat of death or pursuit of by wild animals as our ancestors had to endure. For the most part we can live in peace.  Sadly there are times when madmen seek to destroy this peace by blowing things up etc. Instead of emulating the violence that has occurred we should seek to sublimate such events. More video games that have less killing and more civilized behavior would be in order. We must learn to take care of each other lest we end up in a hell world of our very own creation.

“Maybe every other American movie shouldn’t be based on a comic book. Other countries will think Americans live in an infantile fantasy land where reality is whatever we say it is and every problem can be solved with violence.”                   — Bill Maher

“Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.” — Isaac Asimov

Get off the cell phone and Drive! — Jake Shween

Soft Drink Danger and Other Reasons to Leave Home and Vote

This past week saw a wild rumpus ensue when the sometimes controversial Mayor of NYC, Michael Bloomberg decided to ban the sale of sodas over 16 ounces that contain 50 or more calories. Considering all the very real dangers that face us every day it is interesting to zero in on something as relatively harmless as what some consider to be a rather delightful beverage. While it is a fact that government needs to establish certain regulations to protect the populace isn’t this notion of controlling what we choose to drink going a bit far? Next will we be required to consume vegetable juice every day to ensure we get the proper dose of fiber and nutrients? Why not? If the government can forbid us drinking sweetened soda why shouldn’t it require us to drink vegetable juice?

Here’s an idea for all health conscious mayors across the country. Put a ban in place on the use of elevators in all buildings except in emergencies. This would require everyone to use the stairs. What better way to get a work out particularly if one works on the 50th floor? Maybe all the public water fountains should be boosted with vitamin c. That way we could prevent the rampant scurvy that is occurring in our cities. Have the TSA enforce a rule that anyone who wanted to ride the subway for twenty blocks or less would be turned down and forced to walk instead. Never mind inclimate weather! The harsh conditions might burn even more calories. For that matter steakhouses should be forced to serve beef in 6 ounce portions or less. Otherwise a heavy fine should be levied against them to fund cardiologists nationwide!

Dear reader it is easy to see how easy it is for government to overstep its’ bounds and dictate our lives. The Declaration of Independence states:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

Has the mayor of NYC read these very words? How can it be dictated to us what our personal definition of happiness is? Perhaps ones happiness is guzzling a big gulp on a hot day and belching at a passing police officer. It is a sad day when our country begins to dictate our habits. The term for that is dictatorship as opposed to democracy. Government need not enforce common sense. Let us concentrate our efforts on more vital matters. Perhaps the proliferation of firearms and the clear and present danger the possession and use of such weapons causes. After all, people don’t consume a soda and drop dead like they do when they’re consumed by a bullet.

 “Speaking for the great white father in Washington and all the American people, let me say we respect you savages for your native ability to instantly adapt and survive in whatever Godforsaken wilderness we move you to. Out there. Sign here.” — Firesign Theater from: Waiting for the Electrician or Someone Like Him

Get off the cell phone and Drive! — Jake Shween