The genesis of mind and spirit

John A. Teske, Elizabethtown College


Spiritual life is made possible by the evolution of a human neuropsychology that requires social interdependence for its development. Extensive neuroplasticity requires experiential shaping throughout life. The evolution of frontal cortex hypertrophy suggests that much of this shaping is produced by a socially constructed virtual reality, extending beyond immediate experience. Prefrontal colonization makes possible the social scaffolding of neuroregulation, including the emotional attachments necessary for moral life. Cognitive independence from immediate environments enables symbioses with external memory systems, producing novel forms of socially constituted experience and making possible the transformative effect of religious systems upon individual biologies and psychologies. © 2001 by the Joint Publication Board of Zygon.