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HISTORY

History reduces to collections of human stories about particular human events and situations, both famous and infamous, to have occurred at different places and at different points in time on Earth. Some of these stories are pure facts. Some of these stories are exaggerated facts. Some of these stories are the stuff of folklore.

These stories revolve around different human perspectives, perceptions, belief systems, ideas, ways of life, and so forth, at different moments in time and place. Some of these stories have had such a profound impact on the course of human events until they simply are too compelling or are too significant to ignore. Other human stories are dismissed, downplayed, and are not taken too seriously.

The human brain is essential to the telling of these stories. The human brain comes into historical play because it consumes and integrates various human stories and experiences to formulate a sense of reality and purpose in life. The brain processes assorted human stories and experiences to form a world view. The resultant world view encompasses many intertwined dimensions such as the following ones:

  1. A philosophical dimension such as a liberal or a conservative outlook on life
  2. A religious dimension such as polytheism (that is, a belief in the existence of many Gods and Goddesses) or monotheism (that is, a belief in the existence of one God)
  3. A racial/class/gender dimension such as racial integration or racial separation; or, such as social/gender mobility or social/gender stratification
  4. A scientific/educational/logical dimension
  5. A cultural dimension such as societal differences in language; manners of dress; types of foods eaten; art and music appreciation; etc. as learned from the immediate family and as learned from broader societal institutions such as schools and the mass media

Humans tend to focus on the heart (or feelings) when it comes to day-to-day human behavior. In reality, human behavior revolves around the brain.

Watch (The Brain's Inner Workings Part I: Structure and Function)




Watch (The Brain's Inner Workings Part II: Cognition)




Watch (The Brain)




Watch [How the Brain Works Part 1 (UCLA)]


When the human brain becomes fixated on a given viewpoint, outlook, perception, belief system, event, interpretation of reality, and so forth, then it sometimes can be extremely difficult to convince the brain to think differently. A classic case in point is the origin of origins. For almost all of human history, humans, through the repeated telling of stories, have been almost unanimous in attributing the origin of origins to an all-knowing and all-powerful God or to an assembly of gods. Humans have attributed the creation and sustenance of life on Earth to this all-knowing and all-powerful God or to this assembly of gods. To this very day as of 2014, by far, the most commonly held human belief about the origin of origins is that God is responsible for the creation and maintenance of it all as evidenced by the almost 4 billion adherents of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

Watch (Introduction to World Religions)




Watch (5 Primary World Religions)


Only in relatively recent human history has a different—and perhaps an equally compelling—story about the origin of origins begun to emerge. This more recent story is the one told by science as the following video illustrates:

Watch (15 Billion Years in 3 Minutes - Earth - A Brief History Trailer )


Perhaps there has been not been a more eloquent spokesperson for the scientific perspective than the late Dr. Carl Sagan as evidenced by his epic and trailblazing 13-part television series titled "Cosmos". Here is episode 11 of 13 for a sneak preview:

Watch (Cosmos: The Persistence of Memory)


Carl Sagan's Cosmos E11 - The Persistence of...




A RADICAL SOCIAL SCIENTIFIC PERSPECTIVE: DR. SIGMUND FREUD

Perhaps one of the most revolutionary, pioneering, and insightful scientific perspective to emerge about human reality on Earth was the theory of human behavior presented by Dr. Sigmund Freud. Dr. Sigmund Freud's psychological theory about the nature of human behavior came to be known as PSYCHOANALYSIS.

Dr. Sigmund Freud envisioned that the human brain was an incredibly complex piece of machinery. Dr. Sigmund Freud thought that the brain's full potential, for the most part, remained an undiscovered mystery. Dr. Sigmund Freud thought that human behavior cannot be completely explained until there is an understanding of how the human brain works.

In explaining how he perceived the human brain to work, given the daily realities of an industrial milieu, Dr. Sigmund Freud theorized that human behavior was the outcome of a three-way drama. According to Dr. Sigmund Freud, this drama ceaselessly played itself inside everyone's brain. Much like the heart never ceases to beat until the moment of death, Dr. Sigmund Freud theorized that the brain's drama also continued until the moment of death.

Dr. Sigmund Freud identified three principal participants in this brain drama. He called them the

  1. ID
  2. EGO
  3. SUPEREGO.

In explaining how he perceived the human brain to work, Dr. Sigmund Freud referred to the ID as an unconscious or instinctive part of a human's psychological makeup (that is, a human's hidden-yet-forbidden tendencies). The ID induces humans to satisfy their most basic survival needs, that is, their need for water, food, clothing, shelter, sexual reproduction, and safety from harmful and life-threatening situations. Since it is instinctive by nature, the ID takes the position that the end of satisfying various survival needs justifies whatever means are used, even if some of those means result in deleterious consequences for society.

According to Dr. Sigmund Freud, the SUPEREGO represented a human's conscience (that is, a human's hidden-yet-ethereal tendencies). The SUPEREGO represents that part of the human psyche that entices an individual to strive for life's higher ideals. These ideals include a quest to make principles such as justice, peace, equality, goodwill, and morality essential parts of daily living. The SUPEREGO entices humans to elevate their conduct to the highest ethical plane, and it coaxes them to strive to achieve a Utopian-like state of being.

Dr. Sigmund Freud referred to the final actor in this three-way drama as the EGO. Dr. Sigmund Freud's view of the EGO differed from popular usage of the word today. Presently, most humans tend to use the word "ego" to connote arrogance or selfishness. According to Dr. Sigmund Freud, the EGO represented a human's conscious state of being (that is, a human's awareness-and-conformity tendencies). Dr. Sigmund Freud pictured the EGO as attuned to the demands, expectations, culture, and value system of the real world. The EGO ascribes to behavioral modes and codes of conduct that are conducive to successfully functioning in a given environmental, industrial, or societal setting.

The EGO's role in the brain's ongoing drama is critical. The EGO must reconcile the instinctive desires of the ID, the ethical desires of the SUPEREGO, and prevailing social conventions as tolerated by the broader society. The balance that the EGO negotiates between these conflicting desires represents a given human's everyday personality. For some humans, the ID is a more dominant actor. These humans are likely to be labeled as societal "trouble makers" and "misfits." Their behavioral patterns hold little consideration for the common or societal good.

For others, the SUPEREGO is a more dominant actor. These humans, because they wish to avoid behavioral patterns that would wreak havoc in society, are likely to be viewed as "model" citizens. Their reason for being is Utopia.

Dr. Sigmund Freud's theory about the nature of human behavior reduces to a sophisticated version of teachings contained in the Holy Bible. According to the Holy Bible, within the secular-world setting, a never-ending battle is being waged between Good and Evil on Earth. In Biblical terms, both Good and Evil are viewed as competing to win control of the human soul.

On the one hand, according to the Holy Bible, humans who opt to walk the path of Evil are destined to suffer unspeakable, unimaginable, and never-ending pain. It is said that on Judgment Day, the evil doers—even those who are deceased—will be alive and will be cast into a lake of super, super hot fire. In the lake of fire, the evil doers' bodies shall spend eternity burning and suffering from what has been depicted as the most intensive, ferocious, and agonizing pain. All this never-ending burning, torturous pain, and damned immortality will occur in a place called Hell. It is said that Satan, the archenemy of God, will preside over Hell.

On the other hand, the Holy Bible teaches that humans who opt to walk the path of Good are destined to enjoy indescribable and never-ending pleasure. The Righteous or those who choose to walk the path of Good, on Judgment Day, according to the Holy Bible, will be elevated to a place called Heaven. In Heaven, the Righteous will be crowned with the gift of divine immortality. It is said that God, with the dutiful assistance of His son, Jesus Christ, alongside a contingent of angels, will preside over Heaven.

As if the prospect of spending eternity burning in the infernos of Hell were not disincentive enough for humans to turn away from the path of Evil, and similarly, as if the prospect of divine immortality were not incentive enough for humans to turn towards the path of Good, it is said that, in Heaven, there will exist no hatred, no hunger, no prejudice, no inequality, no want for material things, no sorrow, no sickness, no loneliness, no bickering, no bills, no depression, no suffering, and so forth.

It is said that, in Heaven, wealth, health, luxury, kindness, beauty, and happiness for everyone will be the typical way of daily life forever and evermore. Nobody will ever die who makes it into Heaven. Given the promises of Biblical Heaven, followers of the Christian faith think that every human of sound mind, once properly introduced to the Word of God, would "see the light," choose Good over Evil, and would be inclined to live their lives in a manner prescribed by the Christian faith.

Given the promises of Biblical Heaven, Christians believe that this bargain or this Heavenly destination is simply too sweet of a deal for any rational human to pass up—that is, attaining divine immortality with no hatred, no hunger, no prejudice, no inequality, no want for material things, no sorrow, no sickness, no loneliness, no bickering, no bills, no depression, no suffering, and so forth, and with wealth, health, luxury, kindness, beauty, and happiness for all of those who make it into Heaven. What rationally thinking human would pass on the opportunity to live opulently (in the afterlife) without ever having to worry about getting sick, hungry, old, or dying? Christians view it as their sacred duty in life to live by Jesus Christ's example and to steer those who are "lost souls" to the Word of God. Of course, the following also is worth noting: There is an idiom or expression that says, "If something sounds too good to be true, then, beware, because it probably isn't true" [no matter how well-meaning is the intent]. The act of being transported to a place called Heaven in the afterlife is one of those things that sounds too good to be true. To be sure, there are some non-believers who outright dismiss God's existence as nothing more than a Santa Claus-like fantasy for adults. Some non-believers claim that children have their Santa Claus, and adults have their God.

In much the same sense that the Holy Bible paints a struggle between Good (that is, God) and Evil (that is, Satan) for control of the human soul, Dr. Sigmund Freud theorized that the ID and SUPEREGO are locked in a never-ending struggle for control of the human personality. If the ID prevails, all other things being equal, the EGO would be inclined to cater to its desires and wishes. In return, the outcome is likely to bode "Bad" for society. If the SUPEREGO prevails, all other things being equal, the EGO would be inclined to cater to its desires and wishes. In return, the outcome is likely to bode "Good" for society.

A key difference between the teachings contained in the Holy Bible and the theory of Dr. Sigmund Freud is this: Dr. Sigmund Freud's theory about the nature of human behavior does not involve divinely bestowed rewards (that is, human going on to spend eternity luxuriously in Heaven in the afterlife) and punishments (that is, humans going on to spend eternity burning in Hell in the afterlife) in response to "Good" and "Bad" human behavior in the here and now. Dr. Sigmund Freud's theory about the nature of human behavior steers totally clear of the supernatural, the divine, and the immortal. Dr. Sigmund Freud's theory prescribes an analytical framework for understanding the reasoning process that humans undergo as they struggle for survival and as they struggle to live their daily lives on planet Earth.

The significance of Dr. Sigmund Freud's theory should not be lost. Dr. Sigmund Freud's theory was truly a revolutionary revelation. Much like Charles Darwin's still-controversial theory of evolution, for the first time in history, through Dr. Sigmund Freud's work, the social sciences made a gigantic leap towards removing the human condition from the realm of the supernatural world and placing it squarely within the realm of the natural world. In a roundabout way, the revolutionary aspect of Dr. Sigmund Freud's theory is this: He showed humans that, contrary to their customary theological incantations about twists of fate and divine intervention, humans controlled their own destiny on Earth.

A most glaring inference to be gleaned from Dr. Sigmund Freud's psychoanalytic theory is this: If progressive change is to occur in the way in which humans live and conduct themselves, then it remains for humans to start that change. Dr. Sigmund Freud's theory can be extrapolated to suggest that whatever faults or merits to exist in human society, humans and humans alone, not Fate and not the Divine, are to be blamed or credited. In other words, the debilitating state of the Earth today is but a reflection of the apathetic, ignorant, fatalistic attitudes, and destructive tendencies of its human caretakers.

Do not misinterpret me. I personally am not saying that there exists no God. Nobody on Earth knows with absolute certainty whether or not a God of some sort exists out there in the vast Universe (including me). Nobody on Earth knows what exists out there in the vast Universe. At the same time, I will be the first to admit that, in my lifetime, I have not witnessed any direct proof of God's existence. For instance, I have not witnessed God zapping down here on Earth to say, "Hello world," and doing so in a very public manner for the whole world to see, which should be a fairly simple thing for God to do.



ON BEING HUMAN: PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE

It is abundantly clear that the presence of life is the one thing that makes Earth truly unique in the Solar System. But, what is it that distinguishes humans from other life forms on Earth? What is it about humans that make them so unique? Many scientists think that there are three uniquely human traits that distinguish the human species from all other life forms on Earth:

  1. An upright posture which permits the free use of the hands to do all kinds of things with them
  2. Extensive usage of language as a communications tool and the resultant global sharing of knowledge
  3. A unique and very powerful brain that has enabled humans to erect a vast artificial world within the confines of the natural world

Well-known recording artists such as Stevie Wonder (for example, "Love's In Need Of Love Today") and Frankie Beverly (for example, "We Need Love To Live") often sing that humans need love to live. Prominent motivational speakers such as the late Leo Buscaglia often teach that humans need to love one another to foster harmonious human relations on Earth. Throughout this website, I, too, have insinuated that humans should love one another.

It is true that brotherly love is one of life's higher ideals. I agree that brotherly love is a human trait worthy of attaining. The reality, however, is this: Humans do not need to love one another at all. Instead of loving one another, humans simply need to show mutual respect for one another. They need to adhere to the adage to "do unto others as you would have them do unto you." They need to devote themselves to the proposition that all humans are equally human. Humans should find a way to peacefully "Turn It Into Something Good" (Earth, Wind, & Fire), that is, to turn life on Earth into something good.

To be sure, when I speak of humans loving one another, I do not mean it in the affectionate or fawning sense like romantic love. Instead, when I encourage humans to love one another, or when I encourage humans to "Reach" (S Club 7) for something "Higher Than This" (Ledisi), I am saying that humans should strive to find a way to cleanse their hearts and purge their souls and minds of all ill feelings and all bad traits such as malice, prejudice, bigotry, hatred, violence, torture, cheating, stealing, corruption, killing, and so forth.

To turn it into something good is a remarkably easy thing to do. All you have to do is say, "I'm New," (Stevie Wonder) and genuinely mean it. The proof would be provided by your daily actions and deeds. The proof would be provided by your choice to live productively through self-improvement and through fair, peaceful, civil, honest, benign competition.

Watch (This Is How Your Brain Grows)




Watch (Development of the Young Brain)




Watch (President Obama Speaks on the BRAIN Initiative and American Innovation)




Watch (Human BRAIN Initiative)




Watch (Janelle Monae featuring Erykah Badu, Q.U.E.E.N.)



Listen [Curtis Mayfield, No Thing On Me (Cocaine Song)]




Listen (Minnie Ripperton, The Edge Of A Dream)




Listen (Stevie Wonder, Pastime Paradise)





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Intellectual Property Disclosures: All videos and songs (as well as many of the images) referenced or spotlighted throughout this website are the legal and intellectual properties of others. All content and opinions on this website (bruessard.com) are those of the author (Edward Bruessard) exclusively and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the contributors, creators, owners, and distributors of these referenced videos, songs, and images. The author holds no legal interest or financial stake in any of these referenced videos, songs, and images. The contributors, creators, owners, and distributors of these referenced videos, songs, and images played no role at all regarding the appearance of said videos, songs, and images throughout this website; they had no clue that this website would be spotlighting their works.


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