The Brain and Belief
For years now I have been interested in brain science and studies. So I was pleased when I came across a recent article in Time called, The Mystery of Consciousness. Check it out for a fascinating read. Steven Pinker writes that it is an illusion to think that the feeling we have of there being an "I" that "sits in the control room of the brain, scanning the screens of our senses and pushing the buttons of the muscles". Consciousness doesn't reside in a "soul" that uses the brain. "Consciousness IS the activity of the brain." And one of the brain's most skillful talents is spin doctoring. It will use healthier parts of the brain to explain away the weaker parts. This is a unified function of the one self. Pinker asserts that "few scientists doubt that they will locate consciousness in the activity of the brain." He believes this is a "terrifying prospect" to non-scientists because it throws the whole concept of "soul" into question.
I think the discovery of science is exciting and challenging. But it isn't only science that is making these discoveries. So are philosophers and theologians. For instance, read Krishnamurti:
So, according to your culture, according to your conditioning, according to your knowledge, you are going to seek that which you call truth, happiness, what you will. It is according to the past, to your experience, to your knowledge, to all your accumulated memories, that you are going to seek. That is, the past is going to seek something in the future, and the past is going to dictate what it will find in the future. Therefore, what it will find will not be truth at all; it will be something according to the past, which is knowledge, experience, and memory. So a mind that would find, that would perceive what truth is must be free of the past, free of conditioning. So, if you are a Hindu, you must be free totally from all your conceptual conditioning, all your tradition. Otherwise you are going to find what your tradition has dictated, what your tradition has told you to find.
He continues in another place:
Being a Hindu or a Muslim or a Christian and God knows what else, being conditioned, you want to experience Christ or Buddha or Krishna or whatever it is. And you will, because what you are going to experience is projected from your past because you are conditioned. So your nirvana, your heaven, your experience, your future is according to your ugly little past.
This is why it is useless to argue words over the existence or lack of existence of God. We will not come to anything new. I will either become even more entrenched in my own thoughts that are the products of past experiences and memories, or maybe slightly adjusted to a modified version of the same. To come to the truth, it means being still, ending the long dirty river of thought that only perpetuates itself. Somehow, can we die, ending all this, so that new life can ensue? This to me is the question.
The fine art photograph is the creation of my friend Jorgen Klausen, and is titled, "Eternal".