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Recovering backpacker, Cornwallite at heart, political enthusiast, catalyst, writer, husband, father, community volunteer, unabashedly proud Canadian. Every hyperlink connects to something related directly or thematically to that which is highlighted.

Thursday 23 May 2013

What Religion and Innovation Have in Common

"Envision things ahead of what is physically possible."
The paleomammalian part of our brain stores information and pulls it up as necessary, like a matching game filtered through emotions.  So far as we know, we're the only species that innovates expansively; there's really no need to proactively create new stuff or explain the world.  Or at least, there wasn't; with all the sociology we've been committing over the past several thousands of years, that has changed.
The "new" or "neo" part of our brain makes connections between ideas and plans ahead.  This bridging process happens through a neurochemical process involving neurotransmitters like dopamine. Dopamine, like all chemicals, has an effect on the human body; it creates a euphoric feeling, a sense of expansiveness and deep connectivity with a bigger world of which we're but a part.
Civilization - complex social hierarchies, agriculture, manufacturing, healthcare, philosophy, language and the rest of it - are human innovations.  We have literally taken materials that had no connection (like wood, tree sap and minerals) and developed wholly original creations out of them.
Worth noting; history is replete with religious figures who served as the catalysts of progress, not stalwarts of conservatism.  Religious practices around "clean" food and social rules (the Golden one comes to mind, as does charity) help foster cohesive societies and point people in a shared direction.  The whole becomes more than the sum of its parts.
Whether chicken or egg, religion has always been the synapse that creates societies out of individuals.
With that in mind, check out these two events that just happen to be planned for the same two days:
Discovery: Ontario Centres of Excellence                                                    @OCEInnovation
Thanks to Social Media platforms like Twitter, you can even follow and contribute to the conversations of both at the same time from anywhere in the world.  Pretty clever stuff.
Are you seeing the same connections I'm seeing?

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