The Science of Meditation

Our last column compared our neural capacity to a computer’s central processing unit, CPU, and how computers or Artificial Intelligence (AI), will likely never possess empathy and other emotions. Would AI ever experience the emotion of love? What about other life forms? Emotions may or may not separate us from other life forms. As far as myself, when I look into the eyes of a horse or a cow, I sense a type of love in that four legged being. OK, it may be my empathy, but they sure love hanging out with me. I can't categorize a horse or a cow as less important than myself. In a greater context, I see all the life on planet Earth as part of the same family. Taking this concept further, arguably all of the life support systems of Earth, under the umbrella of the ‘carbon cycle,’ should also be included in the miraculous family of life. At the microcosm level, responsible and loving family members respect and care for each other throughout their lives. In a way, the family members are a ‘central processing cluster’ of their family's welfare, but also humanity’s. In a greater context, Earth’s life support systems should be included in the family unit. We can’t live and propagate without our CPU’s, better known as our gray matter. And we surely can’t live and propagate without Earth’s life support systems. Don’t even believe humans and the family of life could wholesomely and indefinitely survive in artificial environments because our emotions are stitched into the fabric of nature with one big emotion called love.

So what am I getting at here? Imagine that when you were born, you were given an empty suitcase. Of course, you were born naked with nothing but your human genome and the culturally constructed epigenome. You already have your genetic instincts. Right off the top, you begin to breathe and then begin to pucker your lips seeking your mother’s breast milk. And right off the starting line, your parents, open the suitcase and consciously and unconsciously, begin to add items to your suitcase. Remember that the epigenome carries the lived experiences of your family line - previous generations’ behaviors were shaped by their experiences and this mixture of characteristics are passed to you in the epigenome. So your suitcase, already getting filled up by our parents and culture, is also burgeoning with epigenetic characteristics. Some of them are good characteristics and others are really bad. If we examine the human species like a culture on a petri dish, we can clearly see that it isn’t flourishing and thriving. It’s carrying a lot of baggage and empathy seems to be missing.

Next week part 2.
Paul Benavidez, MFA