When the military harnessed neuroscience, diplomats stopped killing with kindness. Now it hurts you to see me hurt—and I can make you die.

In the hunt for the cognitive mechanism behind empathy, the discovery of mirror neurons has lead cognitive neuroscientists like Marco Iacoboni to conclude that this is the neuron responsible for emotional motor control. However, this theory is not without controversy – scientists argue that it is not clear whether mirror neurons really form a distinct class of cells. Anna Kander takes this disputed theory and assumes if true, then relating to other people rewires our brains. For Kander, empathy is the sharpest knife. // Alex Massey

//Anna Kander is a social worker in the Midwestern US. Her work is slated to appear in Breadcrumbs, The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, and beyond. Find her at annakander.com.//

2 thoughts on “59

  1. I don’t believe in the “wiring” metaphor because of its determinism, but I do think empathy should have a chemical expression in our brains. Interesting that neuroscience could be used to inflict pain perhaps as a means of torture. Of course, we do that now with our words.

    Liked by 1 person

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