Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Mirror Neurons, being hard wired with Compassion and Jesus

I remembering feeling pain the night that Joe Theismann professional football career came to an end. The violent snapping of his shin into two pieces, cause a real sensation in my body. I felt for the guy, literally.

Now, science is catching up with my experience. The discovery of mirror neuron, neurons that fire on seeing another's pain, action, pleasure and multiple touches and feelings of another. They are the compassion neuron. They are also the ones that fire when I see images of Jesus on the Cross, and I start to understand the the nature of suffering. We all have them, mirror neurons. Theologically, they are startling because they make they case for humans being hardwired to compassion and empathy. We can feel the pain of God on the Cross. It hurts us to see Jesus nailed, naked, and humiliated for our collective hatred, sin, and pride. The pain we feel makes us look away, repulsed and ashamed. The blood we see and our mirror neurons make us feel is the product of our sin. Jesus bleeds and if we have the courage to see, we can transcend our sin through his work on the cross, the work of compassion. Compassion God show us defines grace. The compassion we show Christ save us from ourselves. God transforms us into loving people through the work of the cross.

One of the major protestant  movements within the art of the Church has been to remove the figure of Jesus on the Cross slowly from the walls. Who wants to see our sin in action. Who needs that pain. Yet, we need compassion. Now, Megachurches remove the cross itself, because people feel uncomfortable with the cross (compassion?). The question of the value of feeling uncomfortable and feeling compassion being a good thing does not seem to come up. Give the people what the want and not what they need. The scandal of the Cross is the scandal of suffering and this is in turn the scandal of compassion. If mirror neurons makes us feel another's pain, and no one wants to feel pain, then maybe the scandal of the cross is feeling the pain of another. Yet, only in this suffering can love be born. Being hardwired to compassion, also hardwired us to love.

I know these are but random thoughts at lunch. Below are some videos explaining the importance of mirror neurons. The first one is a cool graphic video about James Rifkin's lecture about mirror neurons helping in the creating empathic civilization. It is fun.






Here is another talk by Neurologist V.S. Ramachandran on Mirror Neurons. He goes over similar ground as the did Jeremy Rifkin but with no where near the cool graphics.

4 comments:

bornagain77 said...

These following studies confirm the "superior quality" of existence for our minds/souls:

Miracle Of Mind-Brain Recovery Following Hemispherectomies - Dr. Ben Carson - video
http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3994585/

Removing Half of Brain Improves Young Epileptics' Lives:
Excerpt: "We are awed by the apparent retention of memory and by the retention of the child's personality and sense of humor,'' Dr. Eileen P. G. Vining; In further comment from the neuro-surgeons in the John Hopkins study: "Despite removal of one hemisphere, the intellect of all but one of the children seems either unchanged or improved. Intellect was only affected in the one child who had remained in a coma, vigil-like state, attributable to peri-operative complications."
http://www.nytimes.com/1997/08/19/science/removing-half-of-brain-improves-young-epileptics-lives.html

Blind Woman Can See During Near Death Experience (NDE) - Pim Lommel - video
http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3994599/

Kenneth Ring and Sharon Cooper (1997) conducted a study of 31 blind people, many of who reported vision during their Near Death Experiences (NDEs). 21 of these people had had an NDE while the remaining 10 had had an out-of-body experience (OBE), but no NDE. It was found that in the NDE sample, about half had been blind from birth. (of note: This "anomaly" is also found for deaf people who can hear sound during their Near Death Experiences(NDEs).)
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2320/is_1_64/ai_65076875/

Quantum Consciousness - Time Flies Backwards? - Stuart Hameroff MD
Excerpt: Dean Radin and Dick Bierman have performed a number of experiments of emotional response in human subjects. The subjects view a computer screen on which appear (at randomly varying intervals) a series of images, some of which are emotionally neutral, and some of which are highly emotional (violent, sexual....). In Radin and Bierman's early studies, skin conductance of a finger was used to measure physiological response They found that subjects responded strongly to emotional images compared to neutral images, and that the emotional response occurred between a fraction of a second to several seconds BEFORE the image appeared! Recently Professor Bierman (University of Amsterdam) repeated these experiments with subjects in an fMRI brain imager and found emotional responses in brain activity up to 4 seconds before the stimuli. Moreover he looked at raw data from other laboratories and found similar emotional responses before stimuli appeared.
http://www.quantumconsciousness.org/views/TimeFlies.html

In The Wonder Of Being Human: Our Brain and Our Mind, Eccles and Robinson discussed the research of three groups of scientists (Robert Porter and Cobie Brinkman, Nils Lassen and Per Roland, and Hans Kornhuber and Luder Deeke), all of whom produced startling and undeniable evidence that a "mental intention" preceded an actual neuronal firing - thereby establishing that the mind is not the same thing as the brain, but is a separate entity altogether. http://books.google.com/books?id=J9pON9yB8HkC&pg=PT28&lpg=PT28

“As I remarked earlier, this may present an “insuperable” difficulty for some scientists of materialists bent, but the fact remains, and is demonstrated by research, that non-material mind acts on material brain.” Eccles

"Thought precedes action as lightning precedes thunder."
Heinrich Heine - in the year 1834

Genesis 2:7
And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

bornagain77 said...

this might interest you:

Quantum Consciousness - Time Flies Backwards? - Stuart Hameroff MD
Excerpt: Dean Radin and Dick Bierman have performed a number of experiments of emotional response in human subjects. The subjects view a computer screen on which appear (at randomly varying intervals) a series of images, some of which are emotionally neutral, and some of which are highly emotional (violent, sexual....). In Radin and Bierman's early studies, skin conductance of a finger was used to measure physiological response They found that subjects responded strongly to emotional images compared to neutral images, and that the emotional response occurred between a fraction of a second to several seconds BEFORE the image appeared! Recently Professor Bierman (University of Amsterdam) repeated these experiments with subjects in an fMRI brain imager and found emotional responses in brain activity up to 4 seconds before the stimuli. Moreover he looked at raw data from other laboratories and found similar emotional responses before stimuli appeared.
http://www.quantumconsciousness.org/views/TimeFlies.html

bornagain77 said...

here are few more tidbits:

Miracle Of Mind-Brain Recovery Following Hemispherectomies - Dr. Ben Carson - video
http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3994585/

Removing Half of Brain Improves Young Epileptics' Lives:
Excerpt: "We are awed by the apparent retention of memory and by the retention of the child's personality and sense of humor,'' Dr. Eileen P. G. Vining; In further comment from the neuro-surgeons in the John Hopkins study: "Despite removal of one hemisphere, the intellect of all but one of the children seems either unchanged or improved. Intellect was only affected in the one child who had remained in a coma, vigil-like state, attributable to peri-operative complications."
http://www.nytimes.com/1997/08/19/science/removing-half-of-brain-improves-young-epileptics-lives.html


Blind Woman Can See During Near Death Experience (NDE) - Pim Lommel - video
http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3994599/

Kenneth Ring and Sharon Cooper (1997) conducted a study of 31 blind people, many of who reported vision during their Near Death Experiences (NDEs). 21 of these people had had an NDE while the remaining 10 had had an out-of-body experience (OBE), but no NDE. It was found that in the NDE sample, about half had been blind from birth. (of note: This "anomaly" is also found for deaf people who can hear sound during their Near Death Experiences(NDEs).)
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2320/is_1_64/ai_65076875/

hospice care said...

It can also be attributed to the individual's health history. Several factors may affect his recovery.