In this episode, John Sherman speaks about how the mind works by using neural impulses from the brain to create understandings and actions.
One morning last August I was reading an article in an old Harper’s magazine about the origins of the First World War. The article explained what was happening in the world at the time, and it described the feeling of being alive then as an all-pervasive state of hopelessness, denial, despair, boredom, and malaise; a lack of interest in life. There was a sense that there wasn’t anything anyone could do to change things.
But with the assassination of the Archduke of Austria war broke loose, and triggered an explosion of excitement in the world. War seemed to offer the possibility of moving out of the swamp of generalized misery and hopelessness into a fresh and wondrous adventure, something which might just restore a feeling of the excitement in being alive. “The war to end all war,” they called it.
All of this was, of course, merely an opportunity to move the blame for the misery that had been festering internally to the enemy outside. And also, of course, that excitement could not, and did not, last very long. Soon all of Europe was smothered in corpses and drenched in blood, and the horror and stench of war covered the earth.
We’ve seen many wars since then.