Mysticism in the Gene Pool(2)

Mysticism in the Gene Pool(2) - 1 5 April 2007 Esther...

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1 5 April 2007 Esther Quinlan WRTG 3020 Mystical Neurons? One of the most prominent and controversial aspects of human spirituality revolves around the question of body-spirit polarization. Do body and spirit exist as opposing elements, or are they cohesive? Are these two components in perpetual battle, or are they synergists? Questions such as these have sourced countless schools of thought in relation to the spiritual quest. Specifically speaking, the varying Eastern and Western practices that seek to explain the spirit-body relationship are perfect examples of the spectrum of arguments that comprise this debate. While Western and Eastern interpretations of the body-spirit connection have been popularly considered to oppose each other, we argue that they are ultimately quite similar. Although the principles and practices occurring in the East and West greatly differ, we believe that both definitions of spirit and body may be easily compared. In their essay The Neuropsychological Basis of Religious, Or Why God Won’t Go Away, d’Aquili and Newberg argue that there is a distinct scientific basis for the human spiritual experience. These authors use the scientific method to discuss the significance of the causal and holistic operators 1 that function within the nervous system. They claim that these operators, or networks of nerve tissue in the brain 2 account for the physiological formulation of spirituality. The higher cognitive abilities that humans 1 d'Aquili, Eugene G., and Andrew B. Newberg. "The Neuropsychological Basis of Religious, or Why God Won’t Go Away." Zygon 33 (1998): 187-201. P.187 2 d’Aquili and Newberg p.190
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express has resulted cross culturally in the need for environmental understanding and domination. On the cellular level, these are the factors that provide for biological perception of human fulfillment by giving an ultimate cause to the external world around us. In theory, the human need for an explanatory model of the external world 3 is satisfied simply by a series of neural operations. Newberg and d’Aquili maintain that there is a causal operator 4 responsible for the organization of reality into connected causal sequences. Because humans generally acknowledge their existence within a larger reality, the psychological generation of gods, spirits, demons, or other personalized power sources 5 provides an individual with some sense of orientation within the greater spectrum of life. In this way, all human questioning inevitably resorts back to some spiritual causal factor. Not only does this argument categorize spirituality as a universally innate quality, but it also allows humans to solve abstract problems 6 . In this manner, these authors qualify spirituality as an adaptive force. They also maintain that this adaptation is the basis of the existential anxiety that all humans bear within them . 7
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This essay was uploaded on 03/18/2009 for the course WRTG 3202 taught by Professor Esterquinland during the Spring '08 term at Colorado.

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Mysticism in the Gene Pool(2) - 1 5 April 2007 Esther...

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