Thursday, November 22, 2007

The forebrain works for the midbrain (economistsview.typepad)

"Greene proposes an evolutionary answer. He points out that our ancestors evolved in an environment in which they could only choose to save people that they knew personally, not total strangers living continents away."

Another factor is that our social INSTINCTS are not computed in our massive forebrain, but in our pea sized midbrain, a.k.a., limbic system -- which is not nearly as flexible in its (not?) thinking as our forebrain. Thus, a million lawyers are able to rise for the judge without making the comparison that they do not have to salute the flag -- operating on some raw social instinct.

In general terms, your forebrain is what you know; your peabrain is what you want -- the seat of your motivations -- inherently putting the midbrain in charge of the forebrain's doings. Thus, Alan Greenspan may be a perfectly nice guy who is out of social contact with the poor side of town -- which allows him to totally miss the tragedy of the halving of the minimum wage as average income doubled. His midbrain is as dumb as everyone else's midbrain.

I hate to bring up the subject but: in the future, when a second trimester fetus can be removed from the womb for medical treatment and then returned, it will travel as a legal person and must (in our subjective motivations) retain that status upon return to the womb. I once thought that this would ensure legal equality for all similarly situated fetuses -- but now I wonder whether we will very easily be able to retain the same dichotomy of human rights between born (at least for a time) and unborn: raw social instinct question.

Posted by: Denis Drew | November 22, 2007 at 07:44 AM

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