Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Wrap Your Mind Around This!

My daughter Jody recently sent me a link to a New York Times article entitled, "The New Humanism," laying out some of the latest scientific findings about humanity.  In a nutshell, author David Brookes notes that science is finally providing evidence that we're not the rational individuals we think we are.  Rather, we're emotional creatures, for whom rationality is not separate from our emotions, but rather shaped by them.  And further, we are not individuals picking our way through the obstacle course of humanity, but interdependent creatures who emerge from society, shaped by it in nearly every way.   Below are some concepts coming out of this research that explain some of the human capacities we are just beginning to get our scientific minds around:

Attunement: the ability to enter other minds and learn what they have to offer.

Equipoise: the ability to serenely monitor the movements of one’s own mind and correct for biases and shortcomings.

Metis: the ability to see patterns in the world and derive a gist from complex situations.

Sympathy: the ability to fall into a rhythm with those around you and thrive in groups.

Limerence: This isn’t a talent as much as a motivation. The conscious mind hungers for money and success, but the unconscious mind hungers for those moments of transcendence when the skull line falls away and we are lost in love for another, the challenge of a task or the love of God. Some people seem to experience this drive more powerfully than others.

If this interests you, click this sentence to be magically transported to the rest of the article.

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