June 14, 2015

100 Words -- Basic Instinct

I’ve been researching neuroscience, and I came across an article in Salon which quotes a neurosurgeon named Itzhak Fried. He studies the neurological processes that turn ordinary folks into genocidal monsters. Like most of us, he started out thinking that this sort of thing happens when our baser “animal” instincts take over. His research led him to the opposite conclusion, that our higher, more civilized frontal lobe overrides the older, reptilian brain stem. Animals aren’t mass murderers. Our most basic instinct is to live and let live. Somewhere along the evolutionary line, our brains got rewired, with tragic results.

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