Counter Cultural Love – This weeks Vicar’s thought

Counter Cultural Love

Dr Lasana Harris says [1] our minds are “trained to disconnect” when we see a homeless person. “We readily help kids and cute animals, in part because we know that whatever trouble they’re in, they can’t really be held accountable.”

He says, “We’re less likely to be so understanding and forgiving when it comes to homeless adults or drug addicts.” “This tendency to judge rather than help is partly the result of a spot in the prefrontal which appears to modulate the degree of empathy by regulating the release of dopamine. No dopamine means no reward from engaging with the other person, which makes it less likely that we’ll reach out empathically.” This sense of disconnect could be at the heart of everything that divides society today.

“Of course these kinds of responses occur, ultimately, in our brains; where else would they occur? But social processes have enormous power to change neural processes.”

 So is our humanity something we can turn on and off – if only we found the right buttons to push? 
“We’re trying to figure out what brain mechanisms allow us to switch these responses on and off,” Harris says. “We want to make empathy the default response because now, the default response is to switch off entirely. If we’re going to get that to change we need a complete cultural shift.
As Christians we believe that living God’s way will turn our response around – we will love others as God loves us. That is Counter Cultural Love

[1] Associate Professor of experimental psychology at University College London, studies neurological responses, specifically the way our brains engage with other people and the world