About the Blog

Requiem front cover (compressed)My first novel, Requiem of the Human Soul, was published in 2009.  It’s set in the next century, when most people are genetically enhanced d-humans, and there’s a proposal at the UN to make unenhanced humans, or Primals, extinct.  The only argument that Primal rights activists can fall back on: Primals have a soul that got lost in the genetic enhancement of the d-humans.

In the novel, double-Nobel Prize winner, Dr. Julius Schumacher, inventor of neurography (the imaging of human thoughts), came up with a theory that the soul comprises the never-ending harmony of the interactions of our billions of DNA strands.

But Dr. Schumacher also proposed another theory: the tyranny of the prefrontal cortex (pfc).  He saw the history of humanity as a story of the ever-increasing power of the pfc over other aspects of our consciousness: from language to agriculture, monotheism to science, and finally to human genetic engineering.

As I finished the novel, I became entranced (some might say obsessed) by this notion of the tyranny of the prefrontal cortex.  Was it really a valid thesis?  What did it mean for where the human race was going, and who we were as human beings?  I started researching this idea, going wherever the literature took me.  And it took me to some unexpected places: the evolution of language; the split in conceptualizations of the cosmos between Chinese and Western cultures; the all-encompassing power of dualism in Western thought; current theories of self-organization and how they relate to traditional Chinese and Buddhist thought; the neural correlates of consciousness.  The list seems to go on forever.

I’ve currently entering my fourth year of research on this topic.  With over 1,000 pages of dense notes and 650 references, I’m still not close to finishing.  My plan is to write a book (non-fiction this time) tracing the rise of the pfc’s dominance in human consciousness.  And more importantly, what are its implications, and what we can do about it.

The implications are enormous.  In my view, this dynamic is responsible for the massive global imbalances we deal with everyday in the news, culminating in global climate change and the destruction of our environment.  External global imbalances, I believe, are ultimately reflections of internal imbalances within our consciousness.  So, in the end, the only way we’ll truly get our relationship with our world back in balance is to get our individual consciousness back in harmony.  And that means identifying and ending the “tyranny of the pfc”, and developing what I call a “democracy of consciousness.”

These ideas have begun bursting inside me.  I began to realize I couldn’t wait years to publish my thoughts (although I still intend to do that).  So, in the meantime, I decided to start writing this blog, Tyranny of the Prefrontal Cortex, along with a sister blog, Finding the Li.  You might think of this blog as primarily diagnostic, describing what’s gone wrong in our consciousness, and the sister blog, Finding the Li, as leading towards solutions.

I hope that these blogs can be interactive, and that people will engage in meaningful dialogue on the ideas.  I look forward to all comments, both supportive and critical (as long as they’re constructive criticisms!)  I hope some people find some ideas here worthy of further thought.  Happy reading!

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1 Comment »

  1. li said,

    Fascinating. I am on (an extended) deadline for finalizing my MA Thesis in English Philology but I could not help reading your materials even though I should have better be proofreading mine. I came to your blog by following links to one of my different citations. (It happened I wanted to know more about “Technology and the Future of the Human Soul”, which is an intended book by Jaron Lanier (“His book, “Technology and the Future of the Human Soul” will be finished someday, but is delayed by epic procrastination at http://www.rollins.edu/wpi/scholars/lanier.html. ) and wanted to learn if his procrastination if finally over…and came across your Requiem for Human Soul.

    Reading into your web I found you reference Susan Greensfield in similar connection I do in my thesis…and as I am grappling with the question of agency in those huge impersonal artificial machines/networks that at one point spit out Spaceflight in the West so do you, in a different way grapple with the same. I also have to deal with enhanced humans and later with free-floating consciousness, if it ever happens, as some Trans-humanists believe it would:

    [The last] Eve lay on the mattress she had pulled onto the floor, surrounded by the provisions, medications, and tools she had assembled for her desperate attempt to give birth alone[…]

    She closed her eyes. She lay still. Her breathing became ever more quiet. No one noticed the moment of her death.

    Overhead, a blue bird was whistling the theme of the ‘‘Ode to Joy’’ from Beethoven’s ninth symphony, and two squirrels were debating the cosmological significance of Godel’s incompleteness theorem. A thousand light years above, the wavefront of galactic cyber colonization was moving confidently forward. The human species was extinct, but human intelligence had become immortal (Bainbridge 2009 Demographic 744).

    You named your culprit “pfc.” Fantastic.
    Mine is “abstract motivation” (this is oxymoron – there is of course nothing of that sort. I will exploit your concept of tyrany as “imposed condition” or “regime” in place of in person perpetrated evil though.)

    I know the stuff you present but my knowledge is now dated. By first degree a Physician, I have also a degree in Sociology and some background in History. My Grand project was “mind-body” integration to which language is the key, obviously. But this is now out. Too much in the way of academic focus, too broad a field and too many hunters chasing the prey already. Too ambitious…. My The Space Frontier: A Dream, Vision or Mission/on Space motivations is a diversion from a much more rigorous examination of deictics in doctor-patient interaction which I should have been writing about if anyway close to being serious about my “science”. Anyway, I must be boring. Fascinating read you have. Good Speed.

    Li

    Keep on

    P.S. you do not need to search for “li” any longer ha ha

    (Li in this particular context stands for “Libor”, my given Slavonic name. Allegedly the root goes back to “Love”; there is Latin analogue of Liborius to tie with Liber or possibly Labor….ok false lead ha ha )


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