The survival of humankind depends on the survival of the JudeoChrIslamic rituals.
BioPsychoSocial integration of the emotional and rational components.
The ‘emotional’ elements in one’s quotidian life inside our vital mesoscopic environment is not very different to that of other competing sub human species inside our biosphere. It is to a large extent controlled by reflex activity at subconscious levels directed to guarantee/enforce the biological imperative of survival of the species. Thus we reproduce, stay healthy, happy and tend to help each other in social cooperative convivial behavior against new or anticipated familiar threats from a changing environment. Once we have completed our life cycle journey we become history. This limited existential reality we have called the biopsychosocial (BPS) equilibrium adaptation inside our environmental ecosystem. Well adapted species come and go as they execute their corresponding master structural/functional journey plan and arrive at their destination. But the human species continue their trans-generation presence notwithstanding their relatively poor adaptive resources when compared to other competing subhuman species. If not ‘why’, we should be able to explain ‘how’ does it happen? For starters, we have a historical record written exclusively by humans in different languages. The oldest records reveal how nature is ‘described’ based on perceptual sense-phenomenal experiences of objects and/or events such as smell, texture, color, sounds, etc. Even the most advanced social subhuman species could not match this particular evolutionary escape from BPS stage and become both a rational and emotional being! A qualitative jump! Now we can make ontological descriptions of the ‘seen’ and epistemological explanations of the ‘unseen’ beyond albeit their presence was consistent and witnessed by all! We have examined in detail the relevant aspects of life and consciousness and the fundamental role a human living dynamic brain plays in this cognitive escape from the BPS cage we share with other species. See “Treatise on the Neurophilosophy of Consciousness, a Multidisciplinary Biopsychosocial (BPS) Model.” Trafford Publishing. Our discussion of the ‘rational’ element that follows will be a brief account of solid experimental evidence to reinforce our model strategy.
The ‘rational’ model element participation in the decision-making process is best illustrated by the discovery that the psychosocial feeling of rejection by our friends or family shares/activates the same brain neuronal networks as when experiencing physical pain. What is more relevant to this present discussion is that the collective empathy response /experience by those closer to you when participating in a religious ritual -whether inside a church, synagogue or a Muslim temple- is neurologically similar to the one grieving a loved one’s death, loss, or was socially rejected by his neighbors, peers, etc.! The neurological synchrony of feeling and purpose is what effectively triggers the congregation’s relief response in behalf of the suffering parishioner. What follows next is not about sickness, death or a romantic break up but focuses on social exclusion suffering in the first person or vicariously because of looks, economic worth, nationality, etc. Either way fMRI has recorded in both a simultaneous activation of the posterior insular cortex where physical painful sensory experiences are processed. Graphic pictures of anatomical location for the ‘anterior cingulate cortex’ and ‘insular cortex’are not provided but it is common knowledge its association with the human’s social interpersonal connectedness, homeostasis, emotions, perceptual motor control and introspective awareness of self and the subjective others.
On the negative side of this account positive subjective synchronized neuronal interconnectedness is that it does not apply to psychopath empathizing parish strangers as revealed by the fMRI data. The neural representation of empathic threat response in this case is lower, absent or reversed, it may even activate neuronal networks associated with pleasurable stimulation as recorded in the activation of the ventral striatum known to be involved in pleasurable experiences!! The message is clear, the more people participate in religious activities together they are satisfying the natural crave for companionship with friends and allies who neurologically bond together as a collective unit in purpose and a commitment to help each other! Unfortunately, psychopathic behavior is linked to the same insular cortex and neuronal networks associated with pain perception. This complex situation posits an unexpected test on the perplexed parishioners. St. Theresa of Calcutta reminds us not to make judgment before you know all the relevant behavioral facts; what if the affected subject is not consciously aware of his actions, as if subconsciously driven to behave he could not control. Is it better to forgive and be compassionate because he had no choices about his inherited genetic or acquired resources during his impoverished early childhood environment? They are usually very traumatized about their own pain, but –not by freely willed conscious choice insensitive to others negative social or physically painful experiences. There is growing evidence that loving kindness meditations as seen in collective prayer related activities can positively influence the structure/function activity of the brain’s insular cortex by neurologically enhancing a feeling of positive empathy. See http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/olympics-insula-gives-edge/ For more details on the rational aspects of the religious experience see: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-athletes-way/201403/the-neuroscience-social-pain
Dr. Angell O. de la Sierra, Esq. In Deltona, Florida 10/20/2014