Neurological Bases of Modern Humanism

By Delgado, Jose | Free Inquiry, Fall 1995 | Go to article overview

Neurological Bases of Modern Humanism


Delgado, Jose, Free Inquiry


The book Physical Control of the Mind: Toward a Psycho-civilized Society, published twenty-six years ago (Delgado, 1969), discussed two main achievements of natural evolution: (1) the ecological liberation of human beings; and (2) man's ecological domination. Considering evolution in terms of the opposition of human intelligence to natural fate has dramatic appeal, but in reality the existence of humankind, together with all of its attributes including its own ecological liberation and domination of nature, is simply the result of destiny. Humankind did not invent humankind. No conscious efforts were ever made to design or modify the anatomical structure of the brain. The appearance of creatures with wings was a result of natural evolution; thus we cannot claim that birds liberated themselves from the pull of gravity. Their wings were a gracious gift of evolution, which did not require them to have knowledge of physics, mathematics, or even a desire to own wings. Birds fly and humankind thinks. Humankind's liberation from and domination of many natural elements and the existence of our mental activities are changing the world's ecology and influencing the needs, purpose, and general organization of human life.

Philosophy and science originally had a common purpose, which was, in Plato's words, "the vision of truth," and which persisted for centuries until ideological and technological revolutions introduced new methodologies involving sophisticated specialization. As a result, philosophy and science were unable to resolve their basic differences and tore apart their common subject of inquiry. Philosophers and theologians carried with them mind and soul, while scientists kept matter and body. Psychologists, being newcomers, initially confused neurobiological activities involving spirit and substance without receiving enough scientific recognition or philosophical support. In ancient times, from the Sophists and Socrates onward, the program of "paideia" inspired pedagogic uniformity in the West, but this program was subsequently discredited without being replaced by new ideas, and it has caused a crisis in modern education. When some authorities attempted to replace classical studies with "modern humanities," based on exact sciences and technology, human values were deemphasized and people ceased to be the principal concern of humankind. This pedagogic malaise underlies the present crisis of civilization.

According to Encyclopaedia Britannica (1943-1973), "In order to bring together tradition and modernity and to merge classical and universal culture, the time has come now for a new updating of the study of man." In agreement with this proposal, the central themes of the present international conference on "Human Behaviour and the Meaning of Modern Humanism" are, in the words of its organizer, Professor Dennis Razis: (1) to counteract stagnation in the evolution of human ethics, which is not developing at the rate of science and technology; (2) to define modern humanism; (3) to develop strategies to prevent a global catastrophe; and (4) to organize an international society dedicated to the survival of the human race.

All these goals should be based on "a sense of unity in the human species," a "new view of biological evolution" leading to "new kinds of cooperative ventures" reflecting a "new unity" of the human race. Professor Paul Kurtz, formerly co-president of the International Humanist and Ethical Union, has outlined the key features of a new postmodern neohumanism as follows: (1) continuation and support of science to integrate present knowledge and define methods of inquiry; (2) emphasis on ethical values, including freedom of thought, rights to privacy, and the establishment of objective ethical standards; (3) significance of social theory supporting democracy and the open society with tolerance and respect for cultural differences; (4) consideration of the purpose of human life; and (5) realistic optimism about human potential and a reenchantment with the ideals of humanism. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Neurological Bases of Modern Humanism
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.