Sunday, March 25, 2012

Fighting the consequences of cortical de-activation with another cortical de-activation

Some time ago, I wrote a post in which I questioned whether greed can be regulated by courses on ethics and ethical behavior. Greed is, after all, a biological phenomenon and, I argued, that when humans are faced with the prospect of untold riches, their cortex is probably significantly de-activated.

There is no definite evidence for this, greed itself not having been studied neurobiologically to my knowledge. But there is evidence that a neural correlate of being passionately in love is the de-activation of significant parts of the cerebral cortex, which probably is one reason why we tend to be less judgmental of those we deeply love, and sometimes act in apparently irrational ways when in love.

I believe, therefore, that it is pointless to give lectures on ethics and ethical conduct to those who plan to go into the financial world; it is just as pointless to start talking about “ethical stocks”, an idea floated by some businessmen. Because of cortical de-activation, the prospect of great wealth also leads to a lapse of judgment in other areas, including moral conduct, or so I argued.

What I had not considered was that it may be possible to fight greed in one area – making unlimited sums – with greed in another area, sexual gratification. But now comes a report from Spain that this might just about work.

Sexual activity also leads to massive cortical de-activation. I suppose, but I am not sure, that the desire for sexual gratification also leads to much cerebral de-activation. Hence judgment about making money (greed) may be suspended when much of the resources of the brain are concentrated on obtaining another biological gratification, with the attendant cortical de-activation.

, the escort girls of Madrid have gone on strike to deny bankers the sexual gratification that the bankers seek – until they behave in ways that are more morally acceptable to the escort girls. This appears to have led to some irrational behaviour on the part of the bankers.

Hilariously, the escort girls of Madrid may have – just – hit on the right formula to temper greed.

Read about it for yourself.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sex strike has also been used to persuade Athenians and Spartans to start peace talks in Aristophanes' play Λυσιστράτη but the result was to start a war between the sexes (smile)