Michael Mendizza

Writer, Filmmaker

How Culture Shapes The Human Brain


brain development

Culture Brain 1

The power of Touch the Future’s Academy is its ability to create relationship. A dramatic illustration of this synergy is in the relationships between four interviews:

(New) Joseph Chilton Pearce on The Death of Religion and Rebirth of Spirit

(New) Darcia Narvaez, PhD on Neurobiology in the Development of Human Morality

(Now indexed w/tanscripts) James W. Prescott, PhD on Sensory Deprivation and Brain Development and

(Now indexed w/transcripts) Jean Liedloff of the Continuum Concept on her experiences with stone age tribes in the Amazon.

This constellation began with our discussion with Darcia Narvaez exploring her and neuro-scientist Allan Schore’s new book on the relationship of neuro science and morality, something James W. Prescott has been describing for years. What is morality? Our capacity to be kind to others. Indeed, this capacity is innate; however, like all capacities it must be developed and this cycles back to nurturing or its absence in early childhood with what we call nurturing directly impacting how the brain forms structurally and functionally.

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Darcia describes how what we call normal is not when compared to our evolutionary history, hunter gatherers. She brilliantly explains how our identity has changed from one that is common to one that is highly selfish and narcissistic with its implied aggression and violence. Jean Liedloff shares similar observations in her experiences with tribes in the Amazon jungle. Jim drills down onto the sensory experiences that lead to the formation this identity, selfish-violent or common-egalitarian and describes how the epigenetic impact of theistic religions leads to a brain and therefore culture predisposed to violence. Pearce describes how organized religions have been the source of violence and conflicts down through the ages as we see today. He then drags science into the same harmful field effect as religion. This ‘field effect’ we call culture is a dominate factor in what Joe has called the ‘model imperative’ predating the fancy epigenetic label by decades.

What is life changing about the synergy of these priceless narratives is not some abstract theoretical bla, bla, rather, what each is pointing to is a mirror of our inner life, yours and mine and our children’s. They are holding up a mirror for us to see in ourselves the very processes that we externalize as ‘out there.’ The very reality, thoughts, reactions and feelings we share were sculpted by the forces these four and others are asking we discover in ourselves.

Like fish in water we are in many ways blind to the forces that shape us. I am reminded of David B. Chamberlain, PhD, describing the ‘hallucinated baby,’ how many medical procedures, open heart surgery performed on infants without anesthesia for example, were done because so-called science had hypnotized the medical community into a mass hallucination, creating a false reality that lead to barbaric practices, without a second thought. David along with our four featured interviews is asking us to wake up and discover a reality grounded in intelligence, kindness and compassion.  Our life depends on it. Don’t miss them.

Michael Mendizza

PS: If you have not seen it, I invite you to take a Video Tour of The Academy.