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biology of culture, ideology, neuroethics, neuropolitics
Looking beyond the usual research models, which tend to create brain maps as correlates or photocopies of our mental maps, there exists an easier way of studying the relationship between the mind and the brain. It involves the adoption of a phenomenological kind of approach to what today might be termed the “hard problem”, and it requires us to embark on an exploration of the places and circumstances in which the world of ideas becomes fixed on the organic body, becoming one with it. Plato spoke of a “descent of souls” that take possession of bodies. This same function is fulfilled by the ideological apparatus that “cages” the person and becomes part of his very structure and even of his “appearance” (as the theologian Lavater once put it). The questions, therefore, are these: how does this fusion take place? How does the organic body select ideas that befit its structure? What is the force that confers on ideas such solidity and toughness that the individual becomes unable to change his ideological orientations (aesthetic, cultural, political, moral, sexual)? And what, on the other hand, is the nature of the force that is capable of dissolving this bond between body and ideas, bringing about a change of inclination and direction of the forces that drive human evolution? In subsequent chapters we will explore these issues in a general sense, with the broader aim of clarifying “the biology of culture”, and of showing how it represents a meeting point, and a point of integration, between human and natural sciences.