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

Showdown at the NRA Corral

The time has come for the sane people of this country to take a stand against the violence that has intruded into our lives. We can no longer ignore the outbreaks of violence and death that occur every single day in this country of free thinkers. It is absolutely outrageous that the National Rifle Association can suggest that the solution to the violent deaths caused by firearms every day is by arming more people. An analogy to this would be like suggesting that the solution to stupidity is, by golly, more damn stupidity. Bravo NRA you have truly outworn your welcome.

What started as an honorable society to promote hunting, conservation of wildlife through population control as well as marksmanship has turned into a far right wing organization that defends the right of American citizens to own military killing machines. These are the assault weapons that have been center stage in our most recent spree of heinous and nightmarish murders. These are murders that made policemen and firemen, our fellow citizens that we have hired and have sworn to protect us, our most valiant breed of first responders, sick and horrified at the scenes of these crimes.  If we are truly a civilized country as we claim to be we shall stop right now and make drastic changes to these ridiculous gun laws that we have in place.

We have watched as the NRA has taken the interests of sportsmen and twisted them into the interests of right wing survivalists. Twisting the Second Amendment of the Constitution into a self serving violent clause when at the time it was written it was meant to prevent a possible British insurgency from retaking the country we fought so hard to free in the Revolutionary war. It is time for the saner of us to step up and tell these bad children to step down and admit that the solution is not more guns at all but to put an end to the dispersion and apparent hoarding of such killing devices into the hands of every schmoe who has legs to walk into a gun shop or gun show and slap money down and buy them.

The NRA in its despotic behavior has purchased venal Congressmen who have enacted legislation rendering the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms impotent to protect us by simply enforcing many of the gun laws that are currently on the books! We need to wake up and take action. We can cite the examples of how gun laws can and do work by comparing the United States to such countries as Japan and Great Britain where due to very strict gun law enforcement these crimes hardly occur. This is a problem whose time has come. Stand up and be counted!

Mental bearing (calmness), not skill, is the sign of a matured samurai. A Samurai therefore should neither be pompous nor arrogant.” — Tsukahara Bokuden.

“Master the divine techniques of the Art of Peace and no enemy will dare to challenge you.” — Ueshiba

Get off the cell phone and Drive! — Jake Shween

Showdown at the NRA Corral

The time has come for the sane people of this country to take a stand against the violence that has intruded into our lives. We can no longer ignore the outbreaks of violence and death that occur every single day in this country of free thinkers. It is absolutely outrageous that the National Rifle Association can suggest that the solution to the violent deaths caused by firearms every day is by arming more people. An analogy to this would be like suggesting that the solution to stupidity is, by golly, more damn stupidity. Bravo NRA you have truly outworn your welcome.

What started as an honorable society to promote hunting, conservation of wildlife through population control as well as marksmanship has turned into a far right wing organization that defends the right of American citizens to own military killing machines. These are the assault weapons that have been center stage in our most recent spree of heinous and nightmarish murders. These are murders that made policemen and firemen, our fellow citizens that we have hired and have sworn to protect us, our most valiant breed of first responders, sick and horrified at the scenes of these crimes.  If we are truly a civilized country as we claim to be we shall stop right now and make drastic changes to these ridiculous gun laws that we have in place.

We have watched as the NRA has taken the interests of sportsmen and twisted them into the interests of right wing survivalists. Twisting the Second Amendment of the Constitution into a self serving violent clause when at the time it was written it was meant to prevent a possible British insurgency from retaking the country we fought so hard to free in the Revolutionary war. It is time for the saner of us to step up and tell these bad children to step down and admit that the solution is not more guns at all but to put an end to the dispersion and apparent hoarding of such killing devices into the hands of every schmoe who has legs to walk into a gun shop or gun show and slap money down and buy them.

The NRA in its despotic behavior has purchased venal Congressmen who have enacted legislation rendering the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms impotent to protect us by simply enforcing many of the gun laws that are currently on the books! We need to wake up and take action. We can cite the examples of how gun laws can and do work by comparing the United States to such countries as Japan and Great Britain where due to very strict gun law enforcement these crimes hardly occur. This is a problem whose time has come. Stand up and be counted!

Mental bearing (calmness), not skill, is the sign of a matured samurai. A Samurai therefore should neither be pompous nor arrogant.” — Tsukahara Bokuden.

“Master the divine techniques of the Art of Peace and no enemy will dare to challenge you.” — Ueshiba

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

Pray for Malala

Most people in the United States of America are perhaps unaware of many of the severe atrocities that take place daily in the strange and cruel world we live in. Something happened this week that was particularly disturbing in the Swat region of Pakistan. A fourteen year old girl who had proclaimed her desire to be educated was so threatening to the beastly Taliban that she was singled out on a school bus, a school bus that was stopped and searched by masked men asking for her. When she was located on the bus, these beastly cowards of the Taliban shot her and left her for dead. She now is reportedly in stable but critical condition in a military hospital in Pakistan with a bullet in her head and neck.

Apparently her crusade for educational rights for women was considered to be an “obscenity” by the Taliban who have already sworn that if she lives they will try to kill her again. It is very difficult for many of us in the so called modern Western world to understand what kind of mindset it takes to perpetrate such hideous acts of violence. However we have had similar occurrences here as well. It was not that long ago that a certain Timothy McVeigh blew up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. Or more recently the shooting of Senator Gabrielle Giffords by the madman Jared Lee Loughner in Arizona.These acts of murder have a frighteningly similar focus of hate spurred on by doctrines of small minded paranoid humans. Doctrines based on the idea that somehow by destroying parts of the world that one disagrees with or does not understand one can make the world a better place for others.

A member of a civilized society therefore has a responsibility to ensure that people are allowed to live with individual freedoms. The caveat being that these freedoms of thought and expression must never impinge on the safety or well being of others. Pakistan officials to their credit have flatly stated that this kind of violence will not be tolerated. Here in the United States we would be wise to consider this case carefully and not think we are immune from such hatred and extremism. Pray, please pray for Malala Yousafzai a young woman who wishes to be a doctor and maybe we can begin to heal the world together.

“To terrify children with the image of hell, to consider women an inferior creation – is that good for the world?” — Christopher Hitchens

“Say what you will about the sweet miracle of unquestioning faith. I consider the capacity for it terrifying.” — Kurt Vonnegut Jr.