Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Transcendence from Neuroscience

Clip from a brief essay by Garreau:
....the new vision of transcendence coming out of neuroscience. It’s long been observed that intelligent organisms require love to develop or even just to survive. Not coincidentally, we can readily identify brain functions that allow and require us to be deeply relational with others. There are also aspects of the brain that can be shown to equip us to experience elevated moments when we transcend boundaries of self. What happens as the implications of all this research starts suggesting that particular religions are just cultural artifacts built on top of universal human physical traits?


  1. Well, it should be happening now, whatever it is.

  2. Anonymous10:32 AM

    The 'global economic crisis' and 'global warming' beg for a change in narrative, aka innovation. People can't help but create new stories: the ground of human intercourse.

    I'm one of those optimists who believe that we can - and must - harness the big engines of commerce to create a livable world. Experiments are underway, and we'll see many more.

    It's one of those moments of big change. Fascinating.

  3. Hi Deric- (I don't mean to be familiar, just civil as you seem to be. My name is Mike btw)

    I finally went and read the preface to your book; I can hardly wait to buy it. In the mean time....

    As I've said, I approach my thinking of human reality from a theological perspective, but I've gotten to the point where the line separating theology from science has for me evolved into a living and permeable membrane. Transcendence is a natural topic for me, and an idea that I've been working on lately ties into transcendence and your work. I'd enjoy some feedback- by you or anyone.

    When I experience human consciousness I experience it as an analog based consciousness; me being the first analog to I - the me that I know to be me- the me that I distinguish from you- Etc.

    It is this analog basis of consciousness that gives rise to transcendence because to be human is to perceive one's nature in terms of something other, whether tangible or intangible, that without exception, exits outside of my "I".

    Transcendence then is mundanely intrinsic to human levels of order. Though it has often been deployed through spiritual disciplines, transcendence is the basis of human living.

    The analogs we transcend by, can not only be higher than human being, as traditionally conceived, analogs can be level with or below human being as well.

    This analog nature that we find ourselves in seems to point to an idea that our success as a species rests on the qualities of our collective transcending by which we conceptualize ourselves.

    I'm now seeing transcendence as innately human.

  4. I think you would enjoy checking out Metzinger's book "Being no one." esp. chap. 7 on self models. (also, enter metzinger in blog's search box). You might make a story that your 'analog based transcendence' is an elaboration of the mirror neuron system of our brains. (enter mirror in the blog search box or click the mirror neurons category.)