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Joseph Knoll: The Brain and Its Self. A Neurochemical Concept of the Innate and Acquired Drives

Springer, Berlin, 2005 (176 pages).

INFORMATION ON CONTENTS: The Introduction and Chapter 1 recapitulates the main conclusion of the 16-year research period summarized in a monograph (Knoll: The Theory of Active Reflexes, 1969). The first monograph was based on the discovery that the manipulability of the behavior of highly developed mammals depends on the ability of their cortex to fix acquired drives, unusual urges that in contrast to the innate drives are unnecessary to the survival of the individual or the species. The present book is a summary of the results and conclusions of the following 36-year research period. Chapter 2 is a brief summary of the conception that whatever humans achieved derives from the unrestricted capacity of their brain to acquire drives.  Chapter 3, an analysis of the operation of the enhancer regulation, is a summary of the results of a neurochemical approach to the innate and acquired drives. 3.1. defines the enhancer regulation; describes b-phenylethylamine (PEA) and tryptamine as endogenous enhancers of the catecholaminergic and serotonergic neurons; shows the role of (-)-deprenyl in the discovery of the enhancer regulation in the catecholaminergic neurons; analyses (-)-deprenyl as the PEA-derived enhancer substance and R-(-)-1-(benzofuran-2yl)-2-propylaminopentane [(-)-BPAP] as the tryptamine-derived enhancer substance. 3.2. describes (-)-BPAP as the specific experimental tool to detect the specific and non-specific form of enhancer regulation. 3.3. is a consideration about enhancer receptors. 3.4. is an assumption about the physiological significance of cortical enhancer regulation; thoughts about its role in the modification of behavior through exercise, training or practice; and brief summary of an experiment supporting the concept that learning is a cortical enhancer regulation dependent function. 3.5. is a summary of therapeutic aspects of the synthetic enhancer substances. Chapter 4 approaches old problems from a new angle. 4.1. is a new interpretation of the substantial individual differences in behavioral performances. 4.2. is a new interpretation of forgetting, remembering, and boredom. Chapter 5 analyses theoretical aspects of the enhancer regulation approach. 5.1. describes the simultaneous coexistence of determinants of order and chaos in the human brain and its role in the origin of science and art. 5.2. emphasizes the timeliness of the conception of the enlightenment: sapere aude (dare to go independently).

AUTHOR’S STATEMENT: The purposeful manipulation of the human brain (domestication) is the sine qua non for the establishment and maintenance of a community. The billions who remained during the history of mankind untouched by their wartime killings of the masses of their innocent peers and were ready to die in the name of “God”, “fatherland” and so on illustrate the consequences of the practically unlimited capacity of the human brain to fix acquired drives. Even in the dark history of mankind, the Holocaust – the extermination of millions within a few years with unprecedented success, due to a systematically planned and executed evil mass manipulation of a whole nation – was a unique event. This horrifying recent example testifies to the fact that the potential to misuse the physiological endowments of the human cortex is practically unlimited. Since the human being, a building block in the creation of the most gigantic product on earth: human society, was born with a brain capable to create a non-existing world, Homo sapiens created necessarily a myths-directed society, which is still in the trial-and-error phase of its development and seeks  to arrive at the final state a rationally organized human society. Only a global change of education based fully on the exact knowledge of the brain mechanisms that enable the manipulation of individuals can lead, at some point in the future, to the desired rationally directed society.


Joseph Knoll

January 23, 2014