Ongoing modern brain research has demonstrated that there is a so-called “God” or “religious” area of the human brain. This research data result has been mostly dismissed as some sort of anachronistic curiosity. The prevailing hypothesis seems to be that this “religious” part of the human brain, which is not present in other animals, evolved to help us deal with our human finitude.
This hypothesis has been carefully crafted as a way to casually dismiss the findings. However, it fails to deal with the findings themselves, or the implications, both immediate and extended.
The fact that the human brain has a “religious” area as a fundamental part of its biological structure is important simply because it exists in every known copy. This “religious” biological structure can be reliably stimulated with a variety of methods, including the external application of strong magnetic fields to the appropriate area of the side of the head, as well as a variety of drug-induced stimulations. These stimulations produce feelings of religious ecstasy and/or religious visions.
There are likely other undiscovered functions of this “god” area of the brain that must necessarily be intrinsic to brain and mind function.
The human brain is by far the most complicated structure in the known Universe. Why would a “religious” part of the human brain even exist? The fact that this area does exist indicates it is indeed important, though it is not precisely clear why without delving into religious argumentation, which I’ll attend to later.
For now, I wish to concentrate on the implications of this “religious” biological brain structure.
What does the presence of this structure mean to human behavior? What psychological significance does its presence imply? What relationship does this “religious” structure have from a social standpoint? What relationship does it have with the human sense of right and wrong? How does it control our thinking? How does it affect our behavior?
Since it is part of the biological structure, present in every copy, it would be logical to assume that it is fundamental to the brain’s operation, and therefore fundamental to the human mind’s operation. If it is fundamental to the mind’s operation, the human mind cannot operate independently apart from this structure. It is therefore impossible to have a functioning human mind that isn’t utilizing this hard wired “religious” structure.
Belief in and worship of dogmas are therefore fundamental, regardless of whether a person believes or disbelieves in a deity.
This cycle of belief and worship is self-evident in every human being, regardless of culture, secular or religious background.
Friedrich Nietzsche famously noted the collapse of belief in traditional religions with his “death of God” statement. He predicted that as a result, societies would be easily infected by ideological possessions of various sorts, and that the results would be bloody and catastrophic. The 20th Century bore out his prediction, with the slaughter of men and women being in the hundreds of millions between the Communists and the Nazi’s, both variant forms of ideological possession.
Nietzsche’s solution to this problem was that humans would have to author their own axioms of right and wrong and of good and evil. In other words, man would have to become his own god. Unfortunately, this idea doesn’t seem to function in the actual world. Human beings are very social creatures, and in order to function sustainably over a long period of time, we must be able to agree on fundamental ideas of right and wrong, of good and evil. These ideals must be shared ideals, and based on actual emergent human behavior. These ideals emerge from our long-term behavior, and not from ideological utopian dreams; lofty visions that all to quickly morph into bloody nightmares.
Is it possible to bypass the “religious” area of the brain with thought? I believe the lived evidence demonstrates that this is impossible, regardless of how rational we believe our thoughts to be. We have value hierarchies that seem to be encoded into our social behavior. Whether we like it or not, we generally seem to know the difference between right and wrong. Barring sociopathy and psychopathy, even the worst criminals know these behavioral rules even if they don’t act them out.
While it is impossible to completely bypass the “god” or Conscience area of the brain, it IS possible to split from it via the vehicle of resentment. When we come into the world and become aware of our own existence, we resent people, places and things. That is how human beings play god in their own minds, as if they could strike people dead with their thoughts. Resentment separates us from our potential identity. Once someone resents, they are left with two wrong choices – either go along to get along, or try to rebel and do the opposite. Either way, as long as the resentment is present, the potential genuine identity source is disconnected. It becomes the guilty Conscience, something to distance oneself from. Thus resentment causes people to absorb the often toxic environment around them.
If it is impossible to bypass this “god” brain/mind area, what happens if we push too far into rationality and intellect? Does this brain area cease to be of importance? I believe what happens is that we are able to ignore our innate knowing of right and wrong, and that we end up with faulty value hierarchies – right becomes wrong, and wrong becomes right. With dysfunctional values, we end up making backwards choices.
The “god” area of the brain has something to do with hierarchical value structures and the manner in which they function.
Resentment comes packaged with its own denial mechanisms. Resentment can be hidden, or not, or both. People can become proud of resentment and the false identities it causes them to take on. An example of this would be labor unions turned malignant. Get workers agitated, because they probably resent having to work for a living anyway, and ultimately they become proud of what their resentment has morphed them into. Next thing you know, they have labor pride parades.
Women’s pride, abortion pride, gay pride, etc. all emerge from malignant resentment. Interestingly, they all revolve around basic human behavioral elements outlined Biblically.
In this split state, separated from our natural potential identity by resentment, we are vulnerable to ideological possession. We still act out of hierarchical dogmas, whether we like it or not.
Ideological possession can be thought of as crippled religious structures. These crippled religious structures can also be considered cults or cult-like. These structures usually have some sort of salvation figure, a demon figure, as well as ritual gatherings/celebrations and sacrificial ritual elements. They offer the possessed a form of identity, as well as methods of demonstrating group loyalty and status, of being a group member in good standing.
While these ideological possession structures can be straightforward religious cults, there are far more ideological possession structures present everywhere within human interactions.
The solution to the problem is to get rid of resentment. This must be done willingly by the individual, strictly on an individual by individual basis. More on that later.
Children always hate their parents. They see parents, or the parental placeholder, as gods, and those human gods typically sorely disappoint and fall short. Hating one’s parents is tantamount to hating God. Hating God separates us from our built-in innate value system, thus rendering us vulnerable to faulty external value systems.
Typically, people are a messy bundle of a lifetime of accumulated resentments. Since resentment comes packaged with its own denial mechanisms, we often aren’t even aware of it. Frequently we do know we can be “triggered” by the presence of different environmental and psychological factors, but we have been lead to believe that this triggering is somehow “normal.”
I believe the “Godly” value system is built-in to our minds, though it is latent in the sense that we don’t have to follow it. That’s where the idea of free will comes in. One of the most important choices we have to make as free human agents is how we react to the world. React with resentment and automatically lose. We can either listen to our Conscience, or we can ignore it, usually to our peril. It’s typically there talking to us in the background. We know it as a guilty Conscience.
This split from the control mechanism of Conscience causes us to “sin” or literally “miss the mark.” We are no longer able to live up to our potential. We end up becoming enslaved to the people, places and things that we resent.
Resentment happens in our minds, but physical parts of our brains are affected. Brain chemistry is directly impacted. People attempt to overcome these resultant brain chemistry problems with various types of psychoactive pharmaceuticals, but such efforts frequently have terrible side effects that can be worse than the problems they are attempting to solve.
Resentment pathologizes individual human minds and resulting social interactions. Resentment causes us to be susceptible to ideological possession.
As previously noted, the path out of this conundrum is to willingly give up resentment. That’s a simple solution, but virtually impossible as long as we are tangled in resentment’s resulting web of denial.
We have a choice. Each individual human being matters to the world far more than we realize. We can either tilt our existence further towards a living hell, or we can tilt it towards heaven.
The path out of resentment I have found is via a simple meditation technique. I’m linking it below. You can listen to it and practice it on your device, or download it for your convenience by right-clicking and selecting download.
I can’t promise it will help everyone, but I do believe it will help most people. If you find it helpful, it is up to you to continue with it. Giving up resentment is not an instant process. It takes time. I can promise you that it is worth every moment you spend with it. Ideally once you master this simple meditation technique, practicing it will become second nature.
Once we have given up resentment, we make friends with our Conscience. Out of Conscience our original identity flows. Conscience guides us to our original potential, and we develop a natural immunity to ideological possession of all types. Existence still has its pressures, but in the absence of resentment the terrible burden is lifted.