Future, Present, & Past:
Speculative~~ Giving itself latitude and leisure to take any premise or inquiry to its furthest associative conclusion.
Critical~~ Ready to apply, to itself and its object, the canons of reason, evidence, style, and ethics, up to their limits.
Traditional~~ At home and at large in the ecosystem of practice and memory that radically nourishes the whole person.
Saturday, May 1, 2010
This is thy brain on God. (Or maybe just thy brain.)
In case you missed it the first time around: a five-part series from NPR on the neuro-biology of spiritual experience. All caveats about relying on popular media for one's scientific understanding (let alone one's theology) apply.
Be sure you follow the various links, including the "Full Story" links. As a coda, here's the brief interview with NPR's religion correspondent Barbara Bradley Hagerty, who did the series, reporting on her book The Fingerprints of God. "The science of spirituality is like a Rorschach test," she remarks; "you can look at the evidence and come to opposite conclusions." I am most interested in that moment of decision, or even whether we "have to decide" at all. Has reality provided an Hegelian aufhebung option on the menu?
But there is no doubt, she concludes, that spiritual experience occurs, and is broadly similar across individuals from very different backgrounds (including those who "believe" and those who don't).
On this, I also commend Rational Mysticism by science writer John Horgan, Templeton Foundation beneficiary and critic.