|Path Home: Empathy, Altruism and Agape | Presenters or Itinerary
The core dialectic of separation-attachment is the foundation of each mans development. Separation/attachment is a common referent conferring extensional identity across different conceptual levels of complexity. It therefore has architectonic potential in terms of evolution.
The evolution of life is intimately connected with the complexifying of the approach-avoidance task and the key to this complexification is the increasing complexity of the evolved brain. The brain is arranged in the form of circuits called basal ganglia thalamo-cortical loops. The basal ganglia provide a motor effector control system. The thalamus provides a sensory synchronizer and the cortex, both limbic and neocortex, provides an increasingly complex analysis system. All living organisms possess an attachment drive at the most primitive level towards food as a source of energy. Those organisms complexified enough to have developed sexual reproduction possess a higher level of attachment drive toward the sexual mate for the purpose of speciies preservation.
The reptile has a strategy based on these two levels of attachment drive. Overall however, their social strategy is one of separation. The mammal however has evolved to a new level of attachment, that of the mammalian behavioral triad. This includes maternal nurturance and caring, the separation cry, and mammalian play. This behavioral triad can be seen to foster parental attachments to offspring from the point of view of brain evolution.
In man, after the development of the anterior cingulate/medial orbital frontal loop responsible for the mammalian behavioral triad and more complexified attachment, there is the further evolution of the prefrontal cortical basal ganglia thalamo-cortical loop. In essence, there is an increasing complexification in the sensory motor analyzer effector function of the brain exhibited in the evolution of these segregated yet integrated circuits. Thus man develops the capacity to have a memory of the future as well as a memory of the past. Mans prefrontal cortex allows him to design and execute movement plans for future approaches to pleasurable attachments and avoidances of painful separations. However, we are also the only species capable of having a memory of our future separation. This of course is the psychological rendering of the basic core dialectical process of separation and attachment. I would argue that the impetus for the development of language was the evolutionary need to express and communicate approach/attachment and avoidance/separation behaviors. With the coming of language there was the fostering of memes. Information is passed from individual to individual and communities sharing information are thus solidified. Memetic evolution begets cultural evolution but cultural evolution can only be understood if we hearken back to the core dialectical issues that led to its development in the first place. Repulsion/avoidance/separation, and attraction/approach/attachment are the key issues in cultural evolution. It is here we must start to investigate the forces of altruistic love. We must look for a process of evolution that is both broad enough and deep enough to encompass the biological, psychological, sociocultural and spirtual concepts of agape.
A good candidate for such an evolutionary theory may be the separation/attachment dialectical process.
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