Rediscovery vs Revolutionary Advances
3/15/2010 8:42:30 PM
Despite the claims of neuroscience to have discovered what it has, the reality is that most of the discoveries are simply providing slightly more "objective" evidence for what has already been known and in use in yoga, Ayurveda, Buddhism and the like for more than 2500 years. Practitioners like myself have had to put up with our work as being mumbo jumbo by the likes of Richard Dawkins who was prepared to rubbish these forms of knowledge without bothering to do any detailed research on them.
The risk we face with the new neuroscience is that we dumb down the human race and outsource our intelligence to machines. At one level the only real difference between Yoga, Ayurveda and Buddhism on one hand and science on the other is the lens we use to understand the world and the connections that this lens reveals or hides. By denying the subjective lens, reductionism in science has lead to a limited mechanistic structural view of the world. On the other hand the skills developed by the mental training of Yogi's has revealed a world of complex adaptive systems and fractal development patterns that have been in operation since the big bang. Just as the technological advancement provided by running shoes has lead to uneconomical and damaging running techniques that are creating injuries, so new technologies for the mind that deskill us risk creating unintended damage that will emerge in the future.
At another level it is clear that evolution has created a human system that lacks the long term feed back mechanisms and intelligence required to make sense of the future impact that our collective and individual behaviours are having and will have on our planet. We evolved in a "short term environment". The solutions to our challenges lie in raising consciousness — this is not going to happen with machines or tablets — it requires neural correlates in the form of an increase in neuronal connections. This increased differentiation and integration at the physical level of the neurons only develops through introspective brain training. Furthermore, health is a product of developing the wisdom and skills to create an environment and behaviour that is in harmony with our natural genetic profile. This takes self awareness and practice. In short, any reliance of technology from neuroscience runs the risk of dumbing us down in the long run