Biogenetic structuralism and religion.
Biogenetic structuralism is an account of the way in which the gene-protein process in the formation of the human body, and especially of the brain, prepares human beings for characteristic behaviours and for a range of different competence. It thus prepares us for linguistic, sexual, musical, etc., competence, without dictating what we do with each competence. The claim is that we are prepared also for religious competence, and that religious beliefs and behaviours are consequently an inevitable part of human life. Biogenetic structuralism proposes two operators arising from different parts of the brain: the causal operator, which operates in the same way as a mathematical operator: it organizes a given ‘strip of reality’ into what is subjectively perceived as causal sequences taken back to the initial source of that strip. If the initiating source is not given by sense data, the causal operator generates a source automatically. When these are personalized, they produce the religious consequence of gods, powers, spirits, devils, demons, etc. When the strip of reality is the entire universe, the initial source produced by the causal operator is Brahman
, the unproduced Producer of all that is Aristotle's
unmoved Mover, and the like. The second operator is distinct from that concerned with control. It produces those states commonly described as mystical
. In the human autonomic system are two subsystems, the sympathetic (concerned with short-term energy expending, e.g. ‘fight or flee’, hence called ergotropic) and parasympathetic (concerned with energy-conserving in body-function maintenance, hence called trophotropic). Rhythmicity in the environment, whether visual, auditory, tactile, or propriocentive, drives the sympathetic-ergotropic system to maximal capacity with intermittent spillover and simultaneous activation of the parasympathetic-trophotropic system, thus creating unusual subjective states. Other effects (e.g. the use of incense
), by stimulating the pleasure system, reinforce the attainment of ecstatic unitary states. Of these, the sense of absolute unitary being (often summarized as AUB) is described in virtually all religions: the difference between one's self and any other is obliterated, there is no sense of the passing of time, and all that remains is a perfect, timeless, undifferentiated consciousness. The state may in fact (and in time) be extremely brief, but qualitatively it leads to self-transcendence of such a kind that the contingencies of life (including death) seem comparatively unimportant.