When ideology or laws in conflict with the instincts, it ends badly for the individual and for the country, says physiologist Svyatoslav Medvedev.
The experiments with the mass consciousness, side effects of high spirituality and vulnerability of creative people in an interview to “Rosbalt” says the physiologist, the academician, Director of Institute of human brain RAS Svyatoslav Medvedev.
Svyatoslav, was recently published your book “Brain vs brain” (“Mind vs brain”). One of the chapters in it devoted to the question of how to control the human brain. And really — how?
Is not so difficult. In the era of ancient Rome people learn, a speech, to control the crowds. Subsequently, whole Nations have changed their philosophy and psychology simply based on what was written in the Newspapers. For this, by the way, the creators of Newspapers is not necessary to be seven spans in a forehead: just enough to be able to campaign. Then manage the mass consciousness has become even easier with the help of the radio and television. Or even using chemicals.
Our brain is extremely robust: neither dog nor rabbit, nor the monkey do not stand up and share those loads that are humanly possible. But there are impacts, against which he is powerless. If you enter into the body certain substances, such as — psychotropic, narcotic, resistance is almost impossible. Famous legends about the comeback of the scouts who were silent under any torture. But under the influence of special psychotropic substances a person loses the will and the answers to any question.
This example shows the contradiction between the enormous intellectual power of the brain and its dependence on a state of the body. The influence of biological factors is often neglected. For example, a person unhealthy, but, overcoming himself, and take up the work and executes it. Indeed, in the vast majority of cases willpower is possible to suppress the movement of the body and soul. However, the neglect of the biological aspect, even if not immediately, but it leads to a particular failure.
— Apparently, not only in the psyche of the individual, but in society as a whole?
— Of course. The laws of society should follow biological laws and not to join with them in strong contradiction. It happens, when it begins to forcibly introduced a system of views and relations that are internally in conflict with instincts. Examples — the Soviet Union, Cambodia in the era of Pol Pot, China under Mao TSE Tung.
In the USSR, not socialism as an economic system and ideology was at odds with the basic biological instincts of the average man. In norm each of us loves father and mother more than any conditional first Secretary of the regional Committee. We brought up the example of Pavlik Morozov, who betrayed his own father. Unnatural for human nature was the priority of public (i.e. anyone’s) over a personal struggle against the rich — not only the kulaks, but average people… Believe that the real reason for the collapse of the country was this antibiological the course of the Politburo, forbidding all attempts to interest the producer of wealth as a result of labor. The average person works to live, just as animals go hunting when hungry, and no matter how much I explained to him that we have to work not for the sake of his wife and children, and in the name of communism, at the biological level, he still does not understand.
One of the clearest statements in your book that the problems in our country arise from an overabundance of spirituality…
— Yes, in the West, so the forehead does not break. I’m not a philosopher and not a historian, but I think that the main cause of troubles in Russia at all times was high spirituality of the whole people and its individual members. In the name of ideas, as I said, lining up a system of relations that led to the difficulties of economic and political nature. Very simple to lead a cynic. But with the “spiritual man” is much more complicated — give him the order of things according to some higher truth and justice. Our people are often willing to go against logic and even to the detriment of myself simply because he doesn’t want to do “bad”, “unfair”, etc.
In society an internal conflict can manifest in the form of violent repression to preserve the status quo (remember the “red terror”) in the form of a wave of violence and unrest, in the form of a sharp deterioration in the health of people, increase the number of neuroses and suicides. Not all laws are logical today. Because of the rejection of those illogical people brewing irritation, which can result in a social explosion for some unimportant reason. However, it is typical not only for our country. In any country there are a lot of such contradictions. American society is facing a serious crisis of moral values, antibiological which is obvious.
— What, as a rule, lead experiments with consciousness?
— All this is actually very dangerous. Take some religious movements: everything is regulated, matrix of standards developed great, but man is, in fact, turns into a robot. He is not able to invent anything new, to do something extraordinary. Here is an example from the film “Seventeen moments of spring” — a conversation shtirlitsa with the German General. The General claimed that people working “under the leader” cannot be proactive and creative. The leader sets boundaries that shouldn’t be exceeded. Man brilliantly performs all the duties of the leader, writes to his speech. In assignments it is proactive, but he’s got blinders on the eyes. He does not allow himself to doubt that what the chief does. With all the splendor of the performing activity, there are boundaries he can’t cross. A work permit and rather heretical thoughts.
But why in this case great literature and art flourished even in quite authoritarian regimes, say, in the late Soviet Union or tsarist Russia? And Vice versa — with a more lenient censorship, the situation often worsens. In today’s Russia, for example, freedom of expression seems to be there, and masterpieces do not appear.
The reason is that in conditions of demanding total censorship of art is, perhaps, the only way for a person to Express themselves. Here are the creators and Express themselves Aesopian language, creating encrypted, clever pamphlets.
Today it is not so. The fact is that, oddly enough, creativity must not promote at all, and the presence of certain frames. Creativity is criticism, the expression of his point of view in a situation where it is hard to do when you don’t understand. Now most people don’t care at all Yes Express, want. People can go outside and yelling — no one is interested. That’s the worst. In society there is no understanding, social contract, consensus that any protest means anything at all. “Protest, do not protest…” — then we know.
The decline in the art there is still due to the lack of organizing the General idea. When in ancient Rome, people were ready to die for the Republic is one thing. And when in the same Rome, but in a different era, they died from gluttony on the feasts of the Emperor — agree that a little more.
— So, the condition for real creativity is inhibited, press, barrier, that is something that must be overcome?
— You can say so. If you place in a comfortable, calm, slow, quiet atmosphere, you generally do not want to. When you are beaten, you will grow stronger. But not always. Often creativity is a tool for the solution of man difficult tasks posed by life. There are people who just can’t not do. Remember the story of Isaac Azimov “Profession”… (Her hero, a young man who lives in a future world where people in minutes are recorded in the brain the necessary knowledge with the help of special machines and training tapes. However, this young man is inclined to independent thinking, so in the end is recognized by the machines unfit for a certain profession and then falls in a shelter for the feeble-minded, where people are like him, people without a profession. There they try to learn the ancient forgotten way, slowly learning the nuggets of knowledge from books with the help of teachers — “Rosbalt”). Einstein created the General theory of relativity regardless of the state of society. The laws of nature are open, regardless of party affiliation. But the artwork very dependent on the state of society.
— Why creative people are often unhappy?
— Creativity is hindered by the error detector — our internal “clock” which is on duty in the brain and protects us from inappropriate behavior. Creativity is always beyond. However, any organism seeks to live in peace, so “time” will resist veering off course. And if we insist to ignore his warnings, you will inevitably start to make mistakes, to bear the loss… May be it is connected with this frequent disorder the life of creative people?
— You once said that the creative impulses of man are always paying a high price, and the farther a breakthrough in creativity, so the price is higher. What should I do?
— I was talking about the fact that the brilliant people all turned a little bit fixated. A genius sees what the others don’t see. And where a normal person would pass by, the genius of stop and start to get to the bottom. This is not to everyone’s taste. Almost all geniuses with rare exceptions have lived quite a hard life — Einstein, Pushkin, Lermontov, Vysotsky… Their fates were programmed.
Creativity is overcoming stereotypes. A creative person doesn’t do what he expects the world around us. He turns around and does something strange, what surprised all and many do not like. Therefore, creative people are often uncompetitive compared with more primitive animals. You need to have a very strong will to defeat the barbarian in himself. You have to be rich to not betray their ideals. There is not enough. Most compromise. Barbarian and knows no honor, no compromise — and wins.
— Do creativity and spirituality are doomed to defeat in the struggle with the animal beginning in the person?
— In fact, in the current world, however, wins are not a society of rude soldiers and barbarians, and it is easy to make. In addition, many ideologies, including capitalism and socialism, allow for different forms of human self-realization, among which are those that do not conflict with biological “frame.”
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