"Veneer" of Civilized Thought & Behavior

by Dr. Sam Heath

I thought it was the beginning of a promising friendship with the lady until the subject of abortion came up. When she learned that I oppose abortion, it was all over. Immediately. No discussion. It was an unwanted pregnancy and she had an abortion as a means of contraception.

I wasn't given an opportunity to explain, unemotionally, that I oppose abortion on the basis of logic as a callous devaluing and desensitizing of life, all life, that abortion as a means of contraception promotes violence when the unborn are considered "things" to be discarded like unpleasant, inconvenient, and odious "trash," that I believe abortion, just as with capital punishment or divorce involving children, things impacting on a whole society, should be subject to a process of consideration rather than as easy as buying a bottle of shampoo.

Favoring capital punishment, a very emotional issue as with abortion, I also favor national standards being applied, rather than state-to-state, often arbitrary, rules of law. Sentencing someone to death, whether a convicted murderer or an unwanted baby, should be a situation demanding the most civilized and sober of carefully considered actions on the part of a society.

We have made enormous advances in knowledge without commensurate advances in wisdom, as Nobel-winning physicist Michio Kaku and others have pointed out. Is abortion on demand a wise thing for a society or nation? I don't think so. I believe those things like contraception, the preventing of unwanted pregnancies, far better suited to a society that considers itself civilized.

But when a California judge made mandatory contraception a part of sentencing a child-abusing welfare and alcohol and drug abusing unmarried mother, the ACLU stepped in with the argument: In America, we do not interfere with reproductive rights!

But the ACLU did not consider any rights of the unborn when this agency supported abortion on demand in Roe v. Wade.

As an educated and literate, civilized man, I have examined human history and come to a startling thought! I find myself in agreement with Kaku and others: Our advances in science and technology have not been commensurate with advances in either civilized behavior or wisdom!

Given the recent development of the brain function of self-recognition and self-consciousness, may it be possible our brains will eventually develop to the point where travel in time will be possible by the use of our minds as in the film Somewhere In Time? Even for some now as in the film?

No, I do not believe in UFOs, Astrology, or man-made religions. But I do believe there are amazing discoveries to be made under the oceans and ice caps, in astronomy and science. And I have learned that what was science fiction to me as a child is now, in many cases, fact. As a result, I have become somewhat more tolerant of the seemingly "impossible."

I wonder whether our brains are evolving more quickly? It took a long time to progress from Sumer to science. In the not too distant past we have had Confucius, Pythagoras, Archimedes, Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. Then there were Newton and most recently Einstein. The tremendous leap of science, could it be due to more quickly developing brains subject to multi-tasking heretofore unknown and unneeded?

Writing, as we know it and developed from the Greeks, is of very recent invention and played the most important role, this ability to convey the learning of one generation to another with ever more complex ideas finding expression in writing. Which would explain why it took so long from Sumer to science.

It may be that the exercising of our minds by intellectual stimulation has caused a rapid growth in brain growth and function. If so, this would explain the explosion of technology. The Renaissance, the Enlightenment, the writings of men like Copernicus and Kepler, the calling into question of ancient beliefs that led to scientific thinking and discoveries, the great writers like Shakespeare and those following, all these things began to accelerate ever more complex thinking and discoveries... and quite possibly, an acceleration of brain growth and function.

If brain growth and function has been enhanced at an accelerating rate by the rapid increase in multi-tasking, in technology and science, the leaving off of superstitious beliefs leading to questions of things like origins, who knows how quickly things may change in the very near future? Things like the recent slowing of light to 38 mph hold promise of unimagined possibilities for humanity! The speed of light was thought to be a universal constant. This may now be in question. Particularly when taken together with recent discoveries in Dark Matter and Vacuum Energy, the Holy Grail of physics, a Grand Unification Theory, may be on the threshold of attaining! The very stars begin to be within our reach!

Will advances in the understanding and use of light be of help in something like time travel? There is no discounting Einstein's thought of the relationship between space, matter, and time. And if our brains are actually growing at an increasing rate, due to enhanced thinking and discoveries to meet an increasing technology, who knows what resources of our minds may become available to us? The curing of diseases, the expression "mind over matter" may take on a whole different perspective.

But it remains a demon-haunted world in which three billion people have never so much as received a phone call! A demon-haunted world in which people still kill others in the name of God!

As long as things like abortion on demand and the death penalty without national standards, divorce with little consideration for children, molestation treated as of little consequence, as long as such things remain in America, we will continue on a path of violence and barbarism in spite of our science and technology, in spite of the often "veneer" of civilized thought and behavior.



Samuel D. G. Heath, Ph.D.

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