PREFRONTAL CORTEX: STAGES OF POWER
Julius Schumacher saw the prefrontal cortex gaining power of the rest of our human consciousness in stages: such as monotheism and the scientific revolution.
Schumacher was long dead by the time of the PEPS hearing in the late 22nd century. But, inspired by Dr. Schumacher, Eusebio puts the pieces together in his duel with Harry Shields, seeing the PEPS proposal of the d-humans as the final step to the total victory of the prefrontal cortex.
Here's how it went down...
the road to gold
According to Julius Schumacher, the prefrontal cortex has gradually been gaining power over the rest of human consciousness since earliest history.
As Eusebio's defending himself against Harry Shields, in a moment of inspiration he realizes that the d-humans' Proposal for the Extinction of the Human Species is just the final step to its total victory.
Inspired by Julius Schumacher's spirit, he lays it out to Harry at the PEPS hearing. For most of the hearing, Eusebio's been on the defensive against the merciless attacks of Harry Shields. But now, inspired by Julius Schumacher, he's giving it back to Harry.
And it's all based on Dr. Schumacher's theory of the rise in power of the prefrontal cortex. Here's what he says:
killing for god
"Harry, have you read the book written by Dr. Julius Schumacher called On Being Human?" I was on track and I wasn't going to let Harry trip me up.
"Yes, of course I have," came the response. "It was part of the background research on your Humanist society, Eusebio."
"Then maybe you remember the section where Dr. Schumacher describes the dominance achieved by the prefrontal cortex over the other areas of human consciousness?"
"I remember that part in general, but not necessarily every detail," Harry answered. "But I really fail to understand what this has to do with today's session."
"Please, Counsel Shields," Naomi intervened, "Let the Primal witness follow through on his discussion."
So I continued. "Well, Dr. Schumacher identified ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia as the time when the prefrontal cortex began to dominate, but then an event occurred in the collective consciousness of Eurasian society which solidified its control forever. Do you remember what that was?"
"No, actually, I don't recall."
"It was the alliance between the prefrontal cortex with the basest elements of the animate part of our consciousness: the primal desire for power."
"From the beginning of time, humans have always killed other humans, just like they've killed other animals. For food, for power, for sex, for any of the basic animate motives that exist. Just like cheetahs have always killed Thomson gazelles for food. But, a thousand years before Christ, and maybe even earlier – nobody knows for sure – a new idea emerged in Persia, in our so-called 'cradle of civilization'."
"What was that idea, Eusebio?" Naomi asked in an encouraging voice. She clearly wanted me to keep going down my path.
"It began with the great prophet, Zarathustra, and led to the religion known as Zoroastrianism. But more importantly, it also led to the monotheism of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. It was the idea, expressed for the first time in history, that there was a single God and this God was involved in a struggle for good against evil.
"For the first time in history," I continued, talking calmly, almost in a trance, "a duality had entered human consciousness. The struggle for good against evil. And this was the historic opportunity for the prefrontal cortex. Now, it could latch on to monotheism. And even better, whenever a tribe or a kingdom wanted to go looting, kill their neighbors and steal their possessions, they could do it for a higher purpose. They could do it in the battle for good against evil."
"Of course, it took a while, but once Christianity took over the ancient power of Rome, this idea really got going. And it changed history forever. Now, when humans killed other humans, they believed they were doing it for a greater purpose. Not just for power, not just for vengeance. No, they started to believe they were killing other humans for God. That they were actually doing something great and purposeful while they killed other soldiers, raped their women and massacred the innocent overrun by the tides of brutality.
"This was how the Muslims found themselves creating the greatest empire in history. Then came the Christian reaction, called the Crusades. So, for the first time, on a large scale, the prefrontal cortex, which had conceptualized this notion of an abstract all-powerful God, began to link this abstraction to the primal urges of human beings to fight for power and status. This is the alliance I'm talking about."
from god to manifest destiny
Harry Shields was getting increasingly irritated.
"Look, Eusebio, fascinating as this is, you seem nowhere nearer answering the basic question. What relevance does this have to your earlier accusation of me?"
"Well," I continued unfazed,"as we entered the Age of Reason, and the scientific method began to gain power, it was time for the prefrontal cortex to switch allegiance from one set of abstractions to another. This was easy enough, since the scientific method was itself a creation of the prefrontal cortex, just like monotheism.
"Now there was even less room in human consciousness for dissent. Those few people whose errant minds permitted a more balanced perception of the world were now marginalized, dismissed as freaks: yogis, witch doctors, tree huggers – none of them taken seriously by the world at large.
"So now, Europeans could kill both in the name of God and Enlightenment. The 'white man's burden' of the British colonialists. The 'manifest destiny' of the Americans as they laid their railroads and murdered the Indians. The light to be brought into Africa's 'heart of darkness'."
I looked across at Harry.
"I bet you're beginning to see now, Harry, where this is going. With your superior intelligence, I'm sure you've already got it."
I couldn't resist the dig. Harry just looked back at me with a stony silence.
"Do you want to finish the story for me, Harry? No? Okay, I'll do it then. We can fast forward into the twenty-first century. Colonialism is over, because now every country in the world has bought into the 'scientific method' in one form or other.
"Now, the alliance between the prefrontal cortex and the forces of greed takes the form of globalization – spreading the values of freedom, democracy and free trade. Once again, the bottom line is the same: get rich, get powerful and do it believing that it's all part of the greater good. Your greed is morally unassailable.
"Well, Dr. Schumacher never made it beyond that period. He was shot in the head on the streets of New York. So, I guess I've got to fill in the gaps now, based on what you and Naomi have told me in the past few days. It's pretty easy. I don't have to be a genius to do it."
At this point, both Naomi and Harry were watching me intently. I continued calmly. I didn't want to blow it right at the end.
"I guess your Global Aggression Limitation Treaty was the next step in the domination of the prefrontal cortex. Now, it's using its new weapon, genetic optimization, to literally make sure that each new d-human mind that comes into existence is structured with the prefrontal cortex fully in control.
"But that left a few messy loose ends. The Rejectionists. And those pesky Primals, those "chimps", still kept reproducing. So here we are now, at the end game. The Proposed Extinction of the Primal Species. The PEPS proposal. This hearing."
I raised my hand and pointed my finger accusingly at Harry.
"Yes, that's why, Harry Shields, I'm accusing you directly, you and everyone who's working behind the scenes to put you here, I'm accusing you and all the neatly trimmed, business-suited, clean, elegant, legalistic rationalizers and legitimizers of conquest, colonialism, capitalism and killing – I'm accusing you all of being party to the greatest conspiracy of genocide, destruction, and devastation of the human spirit, that the world has ever seen. There's no difference between you and Christopher Columbus, writing in his diary, ' With 50 men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want' - other than he was braver than you: he risked his life and was ready to watch the agony his victims felt when he cut them to pieces."
I was done. The room was silent. Game, set and match to the Primal race. At least as far this session went. I thanked the spirit of Dr. Schumacher for visiting me. I began to feel his presence depart, and once again, I was just Eusebio Franklin, history teacher. I knew there was no way I could have said that all over again.