Saturday, May 4, 2013

Does Your Brain, Or You Decide Who You Are?

In an earlier posting we analyzed the concept of equality and came to shocking conclusions. In the early Enlightenment it meant tabula rasa and equality before the law. That's it! But the approach of the egalitarians is rooted in nihilism: we are only equal at birth and in death. Equality is a negation of reality: we are not all equal, unfair as that may seem. The discrepancy between the ideal and reality is leading to pseudo scientific rationalizations begging for an accident to happen.

Some hypotheses have lately been set out holding that man is genetically determined. Nothing new there, of course. But the same people who are correctly denouncing it as racism, actually hold that man is determined by his social class: and not just what is guiding his decisions, but also his tastes and 'gender choice'. Both are two sides of the same deterministic coin. 

Old wives tales from circles of popular science about genetics and neurology are causing a renaissance in determinism. The big question is not if social, biochemical, neurological, psychological and genetic factors influence our thought and therefore our actions, but if it determines them

Evidently nature and nurture play a role in who we are, but these factors are apparently not decisive! A person with a talent for music still has to learn to read music and play the violin, and then practice for years and years from a very young age with utmost dedication and iron discipline. 

In other words, the will apparently plays a decisive role

If the latently gifted violin player prefers soccer, even if he has no 'feel' for the ball, nothing will come of his talents. So, will determines the outcome, not genetics

Each human being is an independent, autonomous entity with an inalienable right to life, which is rooted in his nature of a rational being. The fact that not everyone is able to think or act rationally at any given time,  does not refute the fact that man can only survive by rational means. If reason doesn't govern our lives, we'll be dead within a minute from some domestic accident!

We are born with a clean slate and grow up under the supervision of our parents until we are ready to assume responsibility of our own lives. What we think and do is determined by our moral standard. We shall see that for a spiritually healthy person, his life is the moral standard. From this flow his personal values: he rejects what isn't up to his standard, he and cherishes what does.

That brings us back to equality. Our integrity determines how close we are able to stay to our values. A hypocrite has multiple sets of standards. An individualist with integrity is able to judge himself, as well as friend and foe by the same standard. He corrects himself if he has strayed from his standard. He rejects people who do not measure up to his standard. On the other hand he loves his friends because they reflect his highest standards. 

So evidently, not all men are morally equal. A man with integrity discriminates between worthy and unworthy. This is not unfair! It is justice. Man has free will! 

How does the human mind work? It is no automaton. Man chooses his standard of morality either consciously, or he accepts a standard by default arrived at by subconscious associations, religion, authority, osmosis and by parroting. 

Emotions are the product of that process, consciously or subconsciously. explicit or implicit. The subconscious mind works like a computer. The main function is the integration of ideas. Every hour or so it provides status updates in the form of emotions, quick evaluations of what happens around you in relation to your values

It is clear that our moral standard and the values that flow from it, determine our decisions and ultimately who we are as a human being.