On the Genetic Transmission of Original Sin
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.