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© Ira Rosenberg, 2009. Some rights reserved.
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"Changing: On the Biodynamics of Moral Courage in Turning Points of Love and Wisdom"

Changing is a chronobiological study of the rhythms in human nature and their turning points. It identifies rhythmic characteristics in love and wisdom that trace back to specific circadian, infradian and ultradian rhythms driven by the sun, planetary water and atmospheric electrical discharges on the early earth. These rhythms have been conserved in evolution and can be found in all living beings.

Rhythmic patterns are as fundamental to life as their material carriers. On the species scale, this suggests the need for a science of evolutionary chronobiology. In individual physiology it leads to a science of developmental chronobiology. “Changing” provides a conceptual basis for these two new sciences and, then, develops new concepts for a cultural chronobiology that show how certain crucial turning points in love and wisdom produce cultural revolutions that shape the course of human history.

“Changing” treats the aggression in human nature as an instinctual characteristic that works first as a preserver of rhythm in the interests of homeostasis, but later, in historical settings, in culturally altered environments with degraded ecology, functions as a perturbation on natural rhythms in pursuit of possessions, power and ambition..

The liberated aggression with which we build civilization has by now so altered the signaling sources in nature, and so accelerated the rate of change, that we can find neither the time nor the means to restore perturbed rhythms. Instead, we employ evolved neocortical-limbic links to join reason to aggression to counteract what we take to be our most telling immediate threats. By seeking technical solutions to what are essentially ethical problems we lose the capacity for empathy with sympathy. Without sympathy, the same empathy delivers enormous powers of manipulation into our hands.

Once we defuse the aggressive triggers from their primordial roles as preservers of the rhythms of approach-separation and withdrawal-return, our hold on love fades and our devotion to wisdom flags. By skewing the alternations between inwardness and outwardness we cannot travel the legs of approach/separation and withdrawal/return to meaningful turning points. We become alienated from our inwardness. We rely more on the resources of our technical intelligence to cope with our social problems. Unpinned from our ethical intelligence, the seat of caring, we drift further from our real needs and true natures.

How can we survive in an overpoweringly technical world without an unshakable connection to the ethical mind? To be technical in all of our relationships without countervailing ethical inclinations is to be sociopathic. But how can we live with only a connection to ethical action because, despite our good will, our ignorance and incompetence will make us unwittingly destructive? How can we balance inwardness with outwardness, ethical with technical thinking, progress with conservatism, self-restraint with freedom of expression? Deeper caring will not be enough. It will take new ways of doing science. “Changing” proposes an approach to scientific investigation that honors the scientific method while preserving values by maintaining the moral presence of the scientist in the experimental process.

- Ira Rosenberg

updated 1/20/2010