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Freitag, 29. März 2013


Since today was pretty uneventful - I watched some hockey and was outside with Jenna and Bob, and wrote a bit, but that was it (Hawks lost against Anaheim again and Edmonton Oil Kings are in the second round of WHL playoffs), have something I just stumbled over on tumblr.

It's about history, evilness and Hitler, and I will point out my comment (it's the last one, of course).

Picture Source Source for last comment

My comment to this:

The scary thing about humans is
that we’re capable of doing these atrocities all on our own.
This is so absolutely true, and that is what is especially scary about the whole thing. That we don’t need aliens, don’t need mind control, that we’re perfectly capable of destroying ourselves without any external help. 
That that monster is sleeping in many, if not all of us, and only our up-bringing is the deciding factor in whether who we become.
I always have to think of something I read in “The Self Illusion: Why There is No ‘You’ Inside Your Head”, which briefly discusses nature vs. nurture:
Natural Born Killers

If early abuse turns on the effects of the warrior genes [a gene abnormality linked to aggression], can these negative attributes also be turned off? Neuroscientist Jim Fallon studies what makes psychopath tick by looking at their brain activity and genes. One day, as was sorting though lots of scans of psychopathic murderers, he noted that they all seemed to lack inactivity [possibly meant ‘lach activity’? Would make more sense…] in the orbital cortex, a region of the prefrontal cortex. The orbital cortex is related to social behaviours such as smiling, and is also a region associated with moral decision-making and control of impulsive antisocial behaviour. People with low activity in this region tend to be free-wheeling types or psychopaths. Perhaps these psychopaths had bad brains?

At the time, Jim was also working on Alzheimer’s disease and needed control data to compare with patients. He persuaded members of his family to have their brains scanned and provide blood samples to match against the clinical sample. Every one of his relatives’ brain scans was normal - except one - his own. Jim discovered that he had the identical lack of activity in the orbital cortex that he had observes in the psychopathic killers. The irony of the neuroscientist discovering that he also had the same abnormal brain pattern as the killers was not lost on Jim.

About a month later at the family barbecue, he was pointing this irony out to the other family members when his eighty-eight-year-old mother, Jenny, suggested that maybe he should do a little research into the family history, as he might be surprised. What Jim discovered was truly shocking. It turned out that his ancestor, Thomas Cornell, was infamous in American history as the killer of his own mother in 1667, the first documented case of matricide. But it didn’t stop there. There were another seven murderers in the line of the family from which Jim was directly descended! This was worrying. Jim looked for other evidence. Did he have the genes associated with aggression and violence? He had the blood taken from the Alzheimer study analysed. Jim’s blood was positive for the warrior gene and he had all the genetic risk factors that could predispose him to become a killer. At the time, geneticists likened the odds of Jim possessing this constellation of genes to walking into a casino and throwing double-six fifteen times in a row.

According to the biology, Jim should have been a natural born killer and a menace to society, but he wasn’t. Why not? Dr Him Fallon used to be the type of scientist who followed a failry genetic determinist line, believing that your genes pretty much determine your outcome, but his discoveries in brain imaging and genetics forced him to rethink his own rigid view of human nature. He had to accept that in his case the role of the environment had protected him, and in particular the nurturing from his own parents had played a major part in the way he turned out. This is because, from the very start, Jim was a special birth for his parents. His mother had four miscarriages in a row before Jim was finally born. It would be a long time before his mother had any more children and so Him was treated as a precious child with a lot of attention and affection directed towards him. He believes that all this nurturing offset the warrior gene that could have sent him off on a path of destruction.
This is probably the opposite of what happened to Hitler, but it shows that even the most respected people in your life could have been evil.
You never know. You can’t know. Evil isn’t just some stereotype. Evil is human. And that is what’s so scary.

And that's it for today. Some food for thoughts :)
That book I quoted is really interesting, by the way - I enjoyed it a lot!

And I'm off to bed now, seems like I am finally getting into a normal rhythm!

1 Kommentar:

Due to incredible amounts of spam I had to put the security question back on - I'm sorry :)