Hardwired for a Reason

I’m a writer by inclination, my lack of education and talent notwithstanding. I write for several reasons, primarily because it helps me formulate and conceptualize ideas. Having been taught at an early age mostly through the written word, before television and computers were prevalent in society, written words remain a primary conceptual instrument in my life. Words in general, including spoken language, constitute a major part of my reality. And, it’s probably safe for me to assume, many others are similarly constituted. In fact, we are all hardwired for thought, language, and verbal communications according to recent research: which seems almost self-evident.

Hardwired? We have built-in capabilities to see, to hear, to modulate sounds, to process and analyze information. Therefore I can accept the concept of being hardwired for language. Research has also recently concluded, we are hardwired for empathy. Now that’s not quite as self-evident.

Who, or what, hardwired us? Evolution? Creation? Are there other ways of looking at it? Whatever we may conclude on that subject, we must continue to communicate and to cooperate on a basic, commonsense, humanistic level. Of course, that’s just an opinion. And I’m not holding my breath waiting for it to happen.

Empathy? The ability to imagine oneself as another person, to not only recognize their pain and pleasure but to experience it directly? That seems more like a sophisticated imaginative process than a hardwired automatic reaction. Perhaps our hardwired language system has reprogrammed our hardwired empathetic system. How? And why? I can only speculate. Yet one major clue could be the growth of mass media electronic technology which, in effect, has reprogrammed our conceptual continuum of self and other, while supplying us with corporate managed media content that has become a major source of our information and culture.

Corporations have turned consumption into an inner compulsion by manipulating the human subconscious, applying principles and techniques supplied to them by a well paid staff of opportunistic scientists, MBA’s, and lawyers. The very slogans of advertising and mass culture have become the idiom of common expression in our daily language. Corporate commodity culture dominates American culture. Corporate power dominates American politics: corporations have been using mass media organs of communication to empower conservative movements, while demonizing movements of social change.

What a strange corps of corporate experts we have running the show today! Homeland Security has been promoting broad use of radio frequency identification chips even though its own advisory committee on data integrity and privacy issued warnings.

The Bush administration increased the strangeness factor by several magnitudes but they are a blip on the radar screen in comparison to the potential for future abuse of advanced technology: like long range tracking of people on a large scale using radio frequency identification, RFID, chips linked with other identification methods, including biometric technologies, such as facial recognition, giving corporate led governments the means to identify, monitor, and track citizens anywhere in the world in real time, effectively creating a global surveillance network. Ironically, it will also enable criminals and terrorists to commit crimes against victims who won’t even know they’re being victimized until it’s too late to do anything about it.

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13 Comments on “Hardwired for a Reason”


  1. I like what you have to say about empathy and that you feel that it may be more of a “sophisticated imaginative process” rather than a hardwired response. All speculative of course but then the following sentence you spoke of our “hardwired language system” as if that were in fact hardwired. And while humans may have (in my mind) evolved with a complex language system because we have found use for it, I will say that like with anything we are capable of doing (X) but still must learn to do so. We all may have been born with vocal cords but we are all still taught to use language properly. One can take feral children and say that they are born with the tools to speak as most humans do but have yet to learn how to. I am in no way being critical of your piece, I merely would like to take what you said in a new direction. I believe much like empathy, following your same conclusion about it’s derived nature, that language was also a learned human process and that much of who and what we are today stemmed from a once archaic and rudimentary language structure to a much more sophisticated and complex communication platform. And the use of language is and has for some time been able to convey thoughts, feelings and emotions in ways unlike any other known living thing. Imagine if we could communicate with ants! Over a period of time we humans would have to make deals with them to satisfy their needs or they might charge our homes, infrastructure and capitol buildings and hold them hostage in fear of their homes being destroyed over a land dispute. But with no means of communication, ants see us as nothing more then another element of their surrounding and not someone to share this life with. Are they aware of us as we are to them?


    • Yes, you are right, we are hardwired for language capability but we still must learn how to use it in specific ways through education and interaction with the human culture around us.

      A remarkable intelligence is present at the most fundamental levels of living matter. Communications with other life forms could someday be possible: if we don’t destroy their habbitat first.

      I’m open to criticism on this subject, or any other subject, and I look forward to taking in a new direction. I’m just getting started here and your comment is the first so I’m still moving a little slow.


  2. Here’s more information on the subject for further reading:

    Infant Brains Are Hardwired for Language

    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/brain-sense/201002/infant-brains-are-hardwired-language

    Are We Hardwired with a Sense of Irony? Language has many layers of meaning. When and how do we grasp them?

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=are-we-hardwired-with-a-sense

    Article written by Frans de Waal, the author of The Age of Empathy, professor of primate behavior in the psychology department at Emory University.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704471504574449012560741086.html

    Newborn Brain May Be Wired for Speech

    http://www.dana.org/news/brainwork/detail.aspx?id=12786

    Feed your brain with the latest findings in neuroscience research.

    http://www.dana.org/news/brainwork/

    The Dana Foundation is a private philanthropic organization that supports brain research through grants and . . .

    http://www.dana.org

    Powered by WordPress:

    Learn more about empathy, and how empathy can enrich your life

    http://teachempathy.com/

    http://teachempathy.com/articles/are-humans-hard-wired-for-empathy/

  3. missgypsy Says:

    I would never delete your post on my Blog, I enjoyed every word. If I may steal the words “stream of consciousness” from you…..I feel the same way about the way you write. It seems almost as though your thoughts are just leaping onto the page with ease.

    I was supposedly getting ready for work this morning when I decided to dig deeper into your Blog. An hour later I was still there soaking up your words, I was captured and I WILL be reviewing them to give you my opinions. I tend to go on and on looking for an ending as well, although it really doesn’t matter to me happy or sad. As long as my own life ends happily, I can stomach a terrible tragic ending in my writing.

    I also love to write to see the words create themselves, forget rich and famous!. Sometimes it’s beyond writing even, meditation almost.

    It’s funny how we both had Empathy as a strong point in our Blog’s. That’s what made me read on and then I was captured by the levels of your writing, like you write in layers. After each layer is peeled back another layer is revealed, It’s Encompassing.

    Anyway, it seems my children are demanding my attention. Mornings are a better time, but i felt you deserved a response. I will let you know which layers I liked in which story’s 🙂

    Keep up the great work, if only to entertain me and other’s!

    Cat


    • I’m glad you won’t delete the blog comment. And I’m pleased to know you read some of my writing and liked it. I’d love to read your opinions if you can find the time from your busy life and your own writing.

      You’re right, “it’s beyond writing even, meditation almost.” I wonder about my own proclivity for fiction writing. I sometimes feel like the reincarnation of Leo Tolstoy writing a new version of War and Peace: but who wants to read it? I bet Tolstoy never asked himself that question. Of course, it’s absurd to compare myself to Leo Tolstoy but I’m going with stream of consciousness and that’s what comes to mind.

      Yes, empathy! We both have empathy as a strong point in our blog. And I sense empathetic currents in our attitudes towards writing. Empathetic feedback for writers is, as you say, hard to come by. And once found, it’s like Alana, tempting as sin. Cat?

  4. lazfreedman Says:

    Your writing reveals much wisdom.
    I have learned from it already!
    I look forward to the next visit.
    Thanks,

    Peace to you,

    Laz


    • Thanks for the visit and the comment, Laz. I just visited your site and did some reading. I like it. It’s a challenging creative format. I might even try it sometime. After I learn how to do it from you.


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