Monday, February 09, 2015

On the Genetic Transmission of Original Sin

As you know by now, one of the purposes of this blog is to try to make traditional religion relevant to intelligent people in the modern world. After all, it made sense to the most intelligent people of the premodern world, meaning that it must have "fit the facts" -- or better, must have addressed man's ticklish existential situation.

One doesn't want to say "facts," because they weren't really discovered in an unambiguous way until just a few hundred years ago, and there are still some atavistic stragglers who haven't yet reconciled themselves to their existence, such as Brian Williams.

In fact, if you check out that link, it can be seen that Williams not only rejects the world of fact, but exists in a cognitively undifferentiated state in which fact and religion are still fused -- in his case, the secular religion of liberalism. The conscious lies are one thing, but they pale in comparison to this unconscious fusion that renders his entire perceptual apparatus dysfunctional. Who can read that catalogue of liberal pieties of without cringing? I couldn't even finish it.

After the 2008 presidential election, "This nation woke up this morning changed. As one columnist put it, America matured in 2008 by choosing Barack Obama." So now we're mature. Like Brian Williams.

"This is our President. To see people, whatever your politics, that excited about our new chief executive after a line of what the ordinary voter would maybe describe as bad choices or choices of evils, for years, generations, it is unbelievable to me.”

I agree. It is unbelievable, in the sense that "the damage he has wreaked is beyond calculation. He has hobbled our economy, trashed the Constitution, eroded trust in government, politicized one federal agency after another, poisoned relations among the races, stifled opportunity for poorer Americans, weakened our armed forces, conducted a perverse foreign policy, made the U.S. a laughingstock abroad… the list goes on and on" ( PowerLine).

Anyway, back to a religion that fits our existential situation. One of the first principles of Christianity is that there is something wrong with man. In fact, each religion expresses this principle in a different way: for Christians it has to do with sin -- thus being located in the will -- while for Buddhism and Vedanta it has more to do with ignorance and illusion -- more in the mind.

There is also the notion that this pathology is somehow handed down through the generations. Note that this was not a "theoretical" observation, nor any kind of deduction from abstract principles, but rather, an empirical observation that anyone can confirm for himself. In the words of Michael Novak, "A system built on sin is built on very solid foundations indeed."

Denying this foundation leads directly to an Obama and to the left more generally, which builds on an entirely different metaphysical foundation. Even so, leftists do not deny that there is something wrong with man, but simply project it into their domestic enemies. Which is why Williams can suggest that presidents prior to Obama were "evil," or that capital punishment is immoral, or that the Tea Party is an extortionist, hostage-taking "suicide caucus."

Now, in my opinion, when we talk about man's proneness to sin, we're talking about something analogous to a parasite -- a mind parasite. To even talk about this subject implies that there is a proper and healthy way for man to exist, and that there are things that interfere with this healthy functioning. I say: why not use the modern tools at our disposal to illuminate this pathology instead of, say, attributing it to "original sin," or blaming it on our first mythological parents?

Remember, the facts are one thing, the explanation another. We can still believe man is fallen without accepting the ancient explanation, just as we can believe the world is created without suggesting that it occurred in six days.

This subject is discussed in the Encirclopedia Raccoonica, and fleshed out in Pocket Guide to Interpersonal Neurobiology. For example, Siegel writes that "In relationships within families, one can see the intergenerational transfer of patterns of communication that are reinforced by the repeated experiences of energy and information flow exchange patterns."

In a moment (or maybe tomorrow) I'l explain more about what he means by "energy and information flow exchange patterns," but for now let's just highlight that fact that these pathological patterns and tendencies are handed down from generation to generation, which is what our forbears would have noticed (again, empirically).

Siegel highlights the critically important point that this intergenerational transmission is not only behavioral but genetic -- or epigenetic, to be precise. That is, "Recent discoveries in the field of epigenetics" reveal "that alterations in the control molecules regulating gene expression may also be important in this intergenerational passage of patterns of communication."

Now, think back to our furbears. Unlike us, they had no way of knowing that the cosmos was 14 billion years old, or that life had emerged 4 billion years ago, or that man had been here for 200 thousand years. In such a context, "original sin" is not a bad theory, in that it certainly accounts for the observable facts. It's just that we now have some additional cognitive tools to illuminate those same facts.

But one thing I want you to notice is how much more scientifically realistic is the idea of original sin, in comparison to the modern leftist assumption that man is born good and therefore infinitely malleable. Rather, given the complexities involved, we will rarely find the person who has escaped the exigencies of human development without his share of intergenerational mind parasites -- so rare that we might as well say that it happened just once!

It is really quite fascinating how this transmission works, and what sorts of things can be transmitted. For example, "extreme stress in one generation may be passed through gametes, the egg and sperm, such that the ability to regulate stress may be compromised in future generations."

And it turns out that the inability to regulate stress has all sorts of adverse consequences that directly affect the development and the wiring of the brain. Again, it doesn't affect the genome per se, but rather, the expression of the genome (i.e., switching some genes on and others off).

I won't bore you with all the brain parts and neural networks that are affected, but one thing we can say is that the transmission of a mind parasite always results in a lack of differentiation, an absence of integration, and a failure to achieve one's potential.

In fact, this goes directly to how we may define psychopneumatic health, which (and this is identical to what occurs collectively, based on our recent series of posts on Inventing the Individual) results from the differentiation of initially fused dimensions and modalities, followed by a "linking" that reintegrates them at a higher level. This integration is precisely what allows us to achieve our potential.

This has been a rather simple and straightforward summary. I hope the subject will become more queer as we proceed.

18 Comments:

Blogger julie said...

Rather, given the complexities involved, we will rarely find the person who has escaped the exigencies of human development without his share of intergenerational mind parasites -- so rare that we might as well say that it happened just once!

I was just reading an article this morning about whether "parent school" is the answer to closing the gaps between wealthy families and struggling families. And of course, since some people seem to benefit from it, various governments are subsidizing and considering mandating parenting classes.

But of course, government-mandated parenting classes are about as likely to be helpful as head start programs. They'll benefit parents who are already likely to work at being good parents, while doing nothing for the people who could benefit the most, since they are far less likely to make use of either the programs (unless they are forced to go) or the information therein.

Back to epigenetics, there is reason to think that bad parents and circumstances will afflict offspring for three or four generations, but that good ones will have a positive effect for far longer. As I read it, there's no reason to think it's impossible for people to be better than their parents, only that it will be a lot harder to get past the cycle if their circumstances were particularly bad. Or put another way, is there anyone who can't look at their own family and, with a little knowledge of personal history, see both the good and bad results of the behavior of their parents and grandparents?

2/09/2015 09:28:00 AM  
Blogger Paul Griffin said...

To even talk about this subject implies that there is a proper and healthy way for man to exist...

And therefore to talk about the possibility of healing, both individual and corporate.

And when we pray for healing for someone, we cannot help but notice the generational component of the damage that the person has suffered. But this also means that we cannot help but rejoice in the generational component of the healing, as well!

2/09/2015 10:28:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

The conscious lies are one thing, but they pale in comparison to this unconscious fusion that renders his entire perceptual apparatus dysfunctional.

The deluded always say, I'm not deluded.

2/09/2015 10:53:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I suppose a postmodern president deserves a postmodern newsreader for whom truth also doesn't exist.

2/09/2015 11:05:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

...the modern leftist assumption that man is born good and therefore infinitely malleable

Perhaps they think we should all be feral children, because that is working out so well for Chicago and East St. Louis.

The Bible, I think, backs up the epigenetics idea. If someone goes "bad", the curse follows to the "third and fourth generation". It probably takes that long, at least, for social pressure to straighten out the grandchildren or great-grandchildren of warped parents. On the other hand, goodness can be transmitted "to a thousand generations".

My granddaughter, talking about the sickness on her father's side of her family, said, "I've broken the cycle."

2/09/2015 11:15:00 AM  
Blogger EbonyRaptor said...

"I suppose a postmodern president deserves a postmodern newsreader for whom truth also doesn't exist."

Or as Rush calls them - "narrative readers".

Re: the Brian Williams link - WOW! I knew he was a leftist but seeing a (partial) list of his politically "cleansed" pronouncements is stunning.

2/09/2015 11:38:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Williams not only rejects the world of fact, but exists in a cognitively undifferentiated state in which fact and religion are still fused -- in his case, the secular religion of liberalism. The conscious lies are one thing, but they pale in comparison to this unconscious fusion that renders his entire perceptual apparatus dysfunctional.

The truth of that made a very big bang, but I'm also struck by the corollary: Independence is the primary ingredient in accountability, and the latter is quite certainly the Purpose of Choice, both having been born as the consequence of Existence. The One Cosmos exists in order to thoroughly to violate the void.

http://youtu.be/N0G-HmGy4WI

These are simple concepts for such a blog as this, but I can't help but take the passage about Williams, outed as the charlatan he is - and they are, - as a belwether of The Hive.

I wonder what it must be like to be either BW or BO, waking in the morning and seeing things the way they do.

2/09/2015 12:20:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I can still remember.

2/09/2015 12:29:00 PM  
Blogger Magister said...

Speaking of fact and fiction, it's nice to see Drudge linking to Christopher Booker's ongoing chronicle of the (expensive!) book cooking scandal of AGW.

I imagine guys like Williams and Obama waking up and feeling cynical. They think they have the world all figured out, and they're just spinning the wheel left as hard as they can, whatever the facts may say.

What I can't figure out is this. You know how Dalrymple says the first business of totalitarian propaganda is humiliation? That you tell an outlandish lie, and force others to repeat the outlandish lie, with the goal not so much of persuading them but rather to humiliate them?

Somehow, guys like Williams and Obama have had to first humiliate themselves, subordinate their own knowledge and attraction to the truth, in order to pass off the big lies convincingly. In a way, they are the first victims of this subjugation.

I don't get how you can keep that up, day after day, without feeling like a complete dirtbag by the end of the week. And lies will always out.

2/09/2015 01:10:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Dalrymple once said something to the effect that to be a victim is to participate in one's own subjugation.

2/09/2015 01:34:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

No wonder we must be born again... genetic baggage weighs down the vertical ascent.

I am thinking that the Founding Fathers broke the cycle of subjugation and the Left has never forgiven them for it. Where else but in America have millions found, in one generation of freedom from their oppressors, the ability to lift themselves out of poverty? Many foreigners, not victimized by anything but place of birth, found themselves reborn when they arrived. Coming to "freedom" was like finding the place they were meant to be, like finding Heaven's own promises. Like the healing of generations.

Hmmm.

2/09/2015 05:31:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Williams and Obama have had to first humiliate themselves, subordinate their own knowledge and attraction to the truth, in order to pass off the big lies convincingly

C.S.Lewis captures this perfectly in That Hideous Strength. The deconstruction begins with "objectivism" i.e.,stomping on a crucifix, continues with full-on possession by what they don't understand, and ends with willingly losing one's head.

Almost there, kids. Just a few more miles to go.

2/09/2015 05:45:00 PM  
Blogger Magister said...

I'm puzzled by this material:

http://www.endofthepresentworld.com/

I've been trying to find things written by Aleksandr Dugin in English. He's reported to be Putin's Rasputin.

Wild cards.

2/10/2015 06:56:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

I think we have to be careful not to give Putin too much credit. Politicians.

However, Russians as nationalists are much less of a threat than some of the multi-culti cult in Europe seems to think. That's my opinion.

Ask yourself how you would feel if the Russians and Chinese started telling us that we could not secure our southern border and that we had to let the Mexicans have Arizona or Texas?

If Texas were to secede -- which makes good sense, really, would Washington be upset if the Russians gave them arms and air support?

2/10/2015 07:54:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

Mushroom said "...Ask yourself how you would feel if the Russians and Chinese started telling us that we could not secure our southern border and that we had to let the Mexicans have Arizona or Texas?..."

An important part of that conversation would be how Arizona or Texas came to be 'part of' or nation, by application or by violent invasion, and I'd the later, we'd be no better than them, and would respond just as they are now.

The real question is do they have a reason to claim the Crimea, Ukraine, Georgia, etc. It might make them feel more secure to reclaim them, but that makes their feelings no more valid than if we suddenly decided that Baja California was necessary for the safety of San Diego.

It might make sense, but it wouldn't fly.

2/10/2015 08:37:00 AM  
Blogger Jules said...

Yep its possible with help from angels and divine providence. Think of Holocaust survivors.. much stress there . But some came to a real peace. And Israelis are some of the more gentle People i have met.
Mickey Rourke in " wild orchid" is a good fictional example of rags to riches.
Dergulate work, get rid of income tax and replace with a flat tax, get the govmt out of health and safety. And people with nothing can start a bussiness easily and cheaply.
Actually this already happens in the ghetto - with drugs and such .

2/16/2015 08:19:00 AM  
Blogger Jules said...

Yea. Ive noticed that a lot of hard lefties i talk to are fat and depressed. The fools are depressed because they are following a sad death cult ( leftism) . Where things are static and no one has any real control over their circumstances.
They need to get " inspired" (in- spirited) by the truth that they can improve, as can others. Maybe watch a pumping iron by Schwarzenegger.... and pump some iron.
I find it hard to imagine a top athlete also being a leftist.

2/16/2015 08:26:00 AM  
Blogger Jules said...

Dead right. If the poor dont exist then the sad left has to invent them. Or import them...

Gotta have prols around so they can feel Superior and give themselves little gold stars
While keeping them down.

2/16/2015 08:30:00 AM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home