The He(art) Behind Neuroscience.

Beat. Beat. Beat.

Tick, tick, tick. Think, think, think.

Feel. Feel-(Feel.)

Is there a heart behind neuroscience? One of my favorite books to peruse is The New York Times Guide To Essential Knowledge, yet most recently as I began researching this post, I noticed that some of the information from its 2007 publication is now outdated. Scientific theories and facts sometimes change, leaving one wondering:  what is consistently true? When it comes to neuroscience and the ways of the brain, must we also entrust within the science world –the care and nurturing of our hearts? Does science really know best when it comes to that feeling part of who we are? Can we entrust “evidence”, books and studies with the aspect of our deepest selves? If, some day, science can control our brain and manipulate our hearts, is that the trajectory we want to embark on as a race?

In the article,  “How Does The Brain Work?”, by Sandra Blakeslee, from the Guide To Essential Knowledge, the indication was that there were brain cells in our hearts, but wait (!) that was way back in 2007 and now current research states that neuron’s are not the same as a brain cell. (This is already too much for my romantic heart.) My interest for this post is not to confuse facts and theories, but rather to ask ourselves how we feel—if we can identify how we see life, the world and our feelings, separate from science and society, culture and religion.  (Tall order, but I think we can handle it.)

Our days are increasingly growing busier, globally and we are becoming more seduced by the lure of technology’s light beams from the pixels on our mobile devices.  Add background noises, professional and personal daily obligations and we can understand why and how we are becoming desensitized from the core of what it means to be human.  If we take a moment we might need to remind ourselves what it means—to feel. (and can we remember?)

Freud is known to have said, “Wherever I have gone, a poet has been there before me…”  

Perhaps, he too realized the value of the heart.  Neuroscience says that there is no Deity in our brain and while some theories say that there are brain cells in our hearts, they deny that the heart has feelings in the love and emotional sense.  Science talks about the heart’s complex nervous system and that it is responsible for what we poets take as a higher meaning or order to our lives.  When science suggests what is true (for now) we must remember:  Western Medicine, Western Psychology, Western Every-thing is newer than the ancient, Eastern way of healing our minds and bodies. Ancient Widsom understands how we think and feel regarding life, love—meaning.   With our new science, our new medicine, yes, we have managed to save lives but at the same time, we are destroying our planet. So if there is no “God”, certainly there is some-thing and that thing we are scientifically a part of and it is a significant part of—us.   Whether there is a God or not, what are we responsible for?

This New Age that gets such a bad rap is perhaps merely Old Wisdom that deserves more respect than it currently gets and that the “New Age” is really the birth of the Western Mind and Western Medicine.  Science does change. Einstein’s theory is being challenged now.  Brian Greene’s theory about strings being the fabic of our universe is tempting and challenges even the most evolved minds, for the very core of reality is being challenged here.  And, ahhh, yes then there are the theories and wisdom of Winnie The Pooh and one of my favorite of all time--The Little Prince!  Life is movement and with movement everything and everyone one changes. We read and we believe and we trust, and in doing so, perhaps what we need to do is question what and whom we believe, whether it is science, religion or Disney, can we relearn to believe in ourselves?

My “theory” is that there is absolutely no God in our brain, for if there was, we would never have managed to destroy our lovely, beautiful planet--a planet that we are solely responsible for its destruction.   Our Western Mind has managed in just a few short hundred years to kill all that was good.    Yet, we all know, deep within our beings that there is a Such-ness Out There and In Here and that Such-ness is the intangible part of our heart.  Take away all the science of mind and theory and we can travel back thousands and millions of years and there is a basic core that runs through living things.  Perhaps we can grapple with the extent of our nervous systems and who or what species and animal has a stronger, more complex system, but why must everything be explained?  What if we had to rely on our own internal resources, thinking and feeling?  Whom and what would we turn to then? No books, No media? No religions, No video games—no things other than:  ourselves.

In closing, our genes, our brain chemicals, combined with oxytocin and vasopressin are supposed to be responsible for whom we love.  Can hormones completely dictate how we feel and whether we have empathy or can love? Intimacy is becoming increasingly more oblique and relationships seem to have lost the vital, tangible sensitivity that made them relationships in the first place.  What is “trending” these days are “sexbots” and recent poles state that some humans actually are ok with this kind of sexual relating.   Yet, in the beginning, before fast food quickly polluted our brains so our bodies would grow too numb and sick to feel, slowly our hearts deadened and love was lost to things outside of ourselves.  Add to the list of bad diets and thoughts—air pollution, water pollution, noise pollution and corporate suppression (polluting our hearts and minds)—the human being contained every aspect of what it takes to have love be an active part of our species survival.

If we refrain from emotional and physical complacency and remain curious about what makes us tick, feel and love, rather than rely on books and "evidence",  neuroscience might have a hand in helping us understand how to heal the very parts of our minds and hearts that we are losing sight of.  Together we can intelligently thrive in a world with love as our foundation for thought and science…