Humour and Neural Networks

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Tue Nov 14 19:14:51 EST 1995

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>From:  Administrador del Nodo <Postmaster at>
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>Subject:    Humour and Neural Networks
>Hello, netter colleagues!!
>                            Grant (Grant Schampel,
><grant at>,  wonders:
>>  And you might want to consider whether there is
>> any neurological evidence that religions (apparently
>> all of them, in general, your post suggests) are
>> "bizarre belief systems".
>     To essay an answer from a neuroscience standpoint,
>we are concerned with:
>    (1) The cultural prefigurations preventing studying 
>-and cash flowing- in the neurobiological field of the
>production of subjective characterizations by the
>brain parenchyma. We here devoted a lot of time to
>these History of Ideas studies. It so became progressi-
>vely depicted the syncretic myth blocking of such studies,
>specially in those well-organized countries that conse-
>quently rely the most on the organizing prefigurations
>of their peoples. In this connexion, the role of the
>cults is complex, since there exists a real social need of 
>consolation (with which those of us, working in mental
>health, are exceedingly well acquainted). Even if religions were
>the Opium des Volkes we cannot dismiss opiates! But contrarily
>the role of the cult bussiness is culturally simple and straight-
>forward: neither money nor academic recognition towards
>physico-experimental research on the differential produc-
>tion of one-witness, non-structural phenomena.  This 
>has nothing to do with religion, but only with the cults, 
>and in particular with the cult bussiness; but it is
>grounded in a factual mistake. They don't need maintaining
>the dualist cut just between a corruptible brain, and a
>transcendental soul that includes those non-structural
>contents; these last can perfectly be left to natural
>sciences while grounding any transcendentality in the
>cadacualtez, or Jemeinigkeit.  What prevents this last move
>is, only, the supposition that there is no science but that
>of the general realities; of individuals, no knowledge is
>acknowledged.  This cultural intrincacy is on its way of
>being overcome, and so I imagine that the neurosciences
>in the next years shall habitually allow funding to said
>experimental investigations, even in those central and
>well organized countries where, also, industry needs
>non-Turing automata the most.
>(2) Also the prefigurations of the Pythagoric-Parmeni-
>dean tradition that produced some false expectancies
>of experimental and factual findings, i.e., engrams,
>scotophobina, anlagen of marsupial pouches (while
>placentarians were supposed to have a marsupial descent)
>or "great-great-grandmother neurons".  These are connec-
>ted with the conceptual categories of a virtual reality
>(mind) arising from a real reality (brain) in the Pla-
>tonic chain from the "ouk ontos ouk oon" towards the "pan-
>teloos oon".  But the essential development of these
>Western conceptual tools occurred in connexion with the
>Roman Church sacrament of Eucharist (that, independent
>of its transcendental effect, was culturally interpreted
>through those conceptual tools).  It was for these rea-
>sons that in former postings I mentioned that these
>studies in the History of Ideas, if requisite for our
>experimental work in neurosciences, are highly complex,
>demand full seriousness and admit no dilettantes.
>(3) Finally, regarding the cults there is definite 
>psychopathological evidence that they, just as several
>other kinds of institutional commonalities, select some
>kinds of adequate personalities.  The peculiarities of
>these, of course, have no need of being grounded only on
>neurobiological features, and can admit concurrent indi-
>vidual and social complementary series of etiological
>triggerings.  But what Grant inquiries, is not about the
>cults, in this connexion, but about religion. Such a
>"religatio", from a neuroscientific standpoint, on Earth
>became factibilized by the Mesozoic reptilian selection
>of prolacteal glands and perhaps play, and of lactation,
>dreaming and play in Mesozoic marsupial and placentarian
>Orders. This allowed formation of primary diads (mother-son) 
>strongly linked by affective attachments (whose neurobio-
>logical opportune production was selected) required to
>value transcendence (after hominization). After such neuro-
>biological factibilization, the religious links with the
>transcendence present themselves accompanied with feelings
>that intrinsically are foreign to the eventual objective 
>truth of such religatio, but upon which feelings are incident
>said objective need of consolation, in such a way as to permit
>the institutional operation of the cult bussiness. Neverthe-
>less I do not find that, in itself, the mentioned "religatio",
>apart of the selection of personalities done by the cult
>bussiness and apart of the feelings evolved with the pecu-
>liar phylogeny of our brain, has any requirement of special
>neurobiological anomalies to produce it. As a biochemist
>I cannot imagine any substratal requirement of such anomaly
>since it is a matter of linking object contents; however,
>I cannot discard a kind of incalescency towards repeating
>the aforementioned primary-diad feelings in connexion with
>the transcendental mysteries, viz. an education of the sen-
>suality towards these object contents.
>In matters so complex as these, what I find essential
>is being extremely careful with the conceptual and
>terminological tools we use, as also required in every
>transdisciplinary venture that attemps to be fecund
>and not merely yuxtapositionative.  Anyway, ganglia or
>neural networks cannot neither engage as clients for the
>services of the cult bussiness, nor wonder why there is
>something and not instead nothing and, thus, "religating"
>themselves with the unknown ground of such peculiarity.
>Only brains producing psychisms can do it.
>A similar example I posted two days ago, regarding the Chine-
>se transplant of brain cells. I remarked there that such im-
>plant does not transfer neither psychism nor the cadacualtez.
>(However, I did not receive from this List the return of my
>mail; could I pray for someone saying me if it was indeed
>But I must now return to my Weigerts!
>            More cyberkisses for everyone, from
>                             Mariela

       Prof. Mariela Szirko,
       <postmaster at> 
       Centro de Investig. Neurobiologicas, Ministry
       of Health & Welfare, Argentine Republic; and Lab. of
       Electroneurobiological Res., Hospital "Dr. Jose Tiburcio Borda", 
       Municipality of Buenos Aires,
       Office:  Phone/Fax (54 1) 306 -7314
                e-mail <postmaster at>
       Standard disclaimer: Las opiniones de este mensaje son personales 
      y no comprometen las dependencias a cargo de la firmante.
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