The Tangled Wing

by: Melvin Konner 2009

67 The reticular Activating System in the brain sounds like a good candidate for the antenna circuitry for communicati8ng with the extra-brain component of consciousness
101 Chemical nature of steroids and sex hormones
164 Refutation of a theory that Neanderthals lacked vowel capability.
172 "...the key to being human: a sort of wonderment at the spectacle of the world, and its apprehensibility by the mind"
183 "The one brain region that typically produces loss of consciousness if damaged, while allowing life to continue, is the upper portion of the brain stem, the diencephalon; this includes the thalamus, the major way station of incoming sensation, and the hypothalamus, the center of the limbic system and the major switching center for brain-body relations. These structures, or at least parts of them, are at the head of the "reticular formation" of the brain stem....These structures, acting in concert, somehow light up the brain with mind."
208 ""Nociception" -- the sense of pain--"
215 "But the amygdala, of course, can be no more than a part of a circuit,..." I wouldn't be so sure. After all, the antenna circuit in a radio or a transmitter involves more than just the circuit; it involves transmission of information with the outside via EM radiation.
233 How fear is at the root of man's inhumanity to man.
264 The "Tinker Theory" of human behavior
317 "The autonomic nervous system cannot explain much of [love]. It is likely that some explanations lie in the limbic system.... There must be something specific about the structure or function of this system or of others in the brain that will make attachment and affectional behavior, whether strong or moderate, more comprehensible." How about as a communication link with an outside mind?
351 "The existence of rituals like these in many societies suggests that most people experience the boundary between life and death as indefinite, and that progress through life requires a periodic or even constant coming to grips with death." Duh! What about sleep itself?
354 "Is it any wonder that the world's religions, great and small, with their venerable, mutually contradictory fictions and their insatiable taste for holy war, have such a grip on so many excellent minds?"
426 "There is such a thing [as human nature], and it is not entirely tractable. Its most ominous elements are a deep vein of violence, perhaps attendant on a too-great sense of fright; a weakly developed capacity for material satisfaction, perhaps also partly due to that same sense of fright, a tendency to misjudge the difficulties of life as difficulties arising from a specified cause; and a sort of affectional inertia that puts a drag on generosity outside of a small circle of friends and kin."
427 "Human beings are irrevocably, biologically endowed with strong inclinations to feel and act in a manner that their own good judgment tells them to reprehend -- that is, if they are in the least capable of sympathy with the suffering of other human creatures, or if they have any sense of the joy and order and beauty of life." I say: Not irrevocable now that we can produce enough food.
427 "The judgment, the sympathy, the sense of joy and order and beauty -- all these evolved for other purposes than to save the human species from a protracted, dissolute destruction. Yet there they are. Can we not turn them now to this latter purpose?" I say: Yes, but these did not evolve. They were there from the beginning of, at least, life on earth.
428 Ethical "axioms" compared with Euclidean axioms.
431 "The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. --Albert Einstein, "The World As I See It"" I think that is true because it applies to PC
433 "...the sense of wonder is the first fact of life..."
433 "If the space program accomplished nothing else (and I am often at pains to discern what it did accomplish),..." In my opinion, one of the major accomplishments is to help enable us to detect and divert the next big asteroid on a course to hit earth. Without that, we will not likely exceed the longevity of dinosaurs but will be obliterated by the same mechanism they were."
435 "...we must try once again to experience the human soul as soul, and not just as a buzz of bioelectricity; the human will as will, and not just as a surge of hormones; the human heart not as a fibrous, sticky pump, but as the metaphoric organ of understanding." OK. Then we need to abandon materialism.
435 "We need not believe in them as metaphysical entities -- they are as real as the flesh and blood they are made of." Yes! "as real as", but not of the same stuff.
435 "But we must believe in them as entities, not as analyzed fragments, but as wholes made real by our contemplation of them, by the words we use to talk of them, by the way we have transmuted them to speech." Words do not make them real, or else we could get computers to do it. Contemplation, I agree, does do it. But, it leaves the question of, Who exactly is the contemplator?
436 "We must stand in awe of them as unassailable, even though they are dissected before our eyes." They are NOT "dissected before our eyes" any more than a dissection of a cell phone would reveal the source of conversation through it. There is more to both than that.

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