Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Mirror Neurons, politicians and gender {link}

Last night, I sat propped up on cushions surfing the various nooks and crannies of the internet, when I heard the familiar noise of Joseph opening his door. "What are you doing?" He asks me in his slightly intense way, "Are you busy?"

"Just composing a quick email... what's up?"

"I was wondering about what you were telling me about earlier - mirror neurons. What do they do again? How do they function?"

I pause for a second or two and quickly read the abstract of our previous conversation in my mind. "Yeah sure, hold on a second, just want to finish this little note."

Joeseph sits down on the chair across from me and waits for me to finish typing. Upon completion, I close the PowerBook and look up. "I like what you were saying earlier today and I was hoping you'd refresh my memory. What do Mirror neurons do? What do they act on?"

"I'm not sure what they act on. What it sounds like they are doing is: focusing on the facial expression, body language and tone of voice of other humans around us or maybe even the folks on tv. The mirror neurons take in all this data, determine the emotional state and then allow the observer to actually feel what the other person is feeling."

Joe sits there taking it all in. It is around 2:30 in the morning but this doesn't matter to me or Joe. "What were you saying about politicians?"

"Well. basically, the folks making all of these decisions in the name of the 'people' for our 'protection' and all that, ha, ha, well, it is my suspicion that they lack mirror neurons or at least do not use them. Specifically, it seems as though mirror neurons, in males, are located in the temporal lobes, gray matter and the parietal lobe. I surmise that an MRI scan of Resident Shrub's brain would show that he does not use these parts of his brain. The abiity to kill massive amounts humans and then go on TV and swagger about requires a sociopth's lack of empathy."

"Wow, that's alot for my brain to take in. What were you saying about gender differences?"

"Oh yeah, it seems as though women use different parts of their brain when utilizing mirror neurons. While men appear to use the left temporal lobe, the parietal lobe and gray matter for empathy, women, in general use both temporal lobes as well as white matter."

"Huh, that's interesting. What do you think that means?"

The author of the article I read was quick to say that this doesn't mean that one method of brain activity is superior to the other. I find myself thinking otherwise. It seems obvious to me that using both hemispheres is going to give a more complete picture and thus is another example of where women appear to be more intelligent then men. Remember the heart, it is a brain and is running the limbic system located in the temporal lobes. Traditional Chinese Medicine considers the heart the center of brain activity because it regulates the cerebral cortex, the limbic system and the immune system. So, lets see, women live longer than men, are more empathic and more verbal. Thus it seems obvious to me that we want to be using the whole brain, not just half of it."

"Are there any examples of women being considered superior to men among the native peoples?"

"Good question. A great example that comes to mind comes from the Aboriginal people of Australia. Let me start with the Tibetan monks though. You know how they chant right?"


"Well, scientists have been measuring the thickness of the monks' brains and have found that they are growing millimeters of neurons on their frontal lobes. I am not sure if the temporal lobes were measured or not. Neural growth is triggered thru several mechanisms: bathing the neurons in oxygen, overtone vibrations and the circulation of cerebral spinal fluid just to name a few. The Aborigines somehow invented a device called the didjeridoo. I know from personal experience that it impacts my brain in very similar ways to that of Tibetan Buddhist chanting. In fact, I have the inclination and audacity to suggest that, in the right hands, the didjeridoo is far supeirior than simply chanting without it. Thus, that brings us back to the subject at hand - gender differences in brain activity. The Aborigines did not allow women to learn to play the didjeridoo because they already had too many advantages over the men. The male Aborigines thought of the didge as a way to correct an inate inbalance between men and women. I suspect the collective male fear of women's natural superiority drives the mysogynistic tendency of all the major religions such as Christianity, Islam, Judaism, The Church of the Latter Day Saints."

"Wow, that's crazy, I wish I was writing all this down. How do you remember all that?"

"I'm just making it up on the spot. Here's something more on the mirror neuron topic: Have you ever seen those photos of women in Japan wearing dust masks?"


"The reason they wear them, predominatnly is so that other people don't have to feel what they are feeling. They do it as a courtesy to others."


"Yeah. They don't want other people to feel their pain. This amazes me and I suspect that designer masks will soon be the rage in certain parts of the world."

"I'm gonna start a mask company."

"Good idea. I think we need to start doing MRI scans of anyone who want to control the masses. I believe we need physical evidence that they have a working brain system which allows them to experience empathy and compassion on a regular basis."

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