The Neuroscience of Peace or Violence

Published on August 12, 2012, Guest Host Fr. Emmanuel Charles McCarthy, a co-founder of PaxChristi USA, interviews John Carmody, Director of the Center for Christian Non-violence. This  interview comes to you in two parts addressing the subject of “The Neuroscience of Peace or Violence.” In both episodes, John Carmody, a neuroscientist and highly decorated Viet Nam era Marine, explains how the young are recruited into the military at an age when the brain centers of higher reasoning, compassion and empathy are still immature, and while the lower brain functions of aggression and violence more developed and is more susceptible to  the training to kill without mercy or conscience.  John explains how he became a subjected to the skillful mind games used by the military to recruit him and join the Marines.  Both Fr. McCarthy and John Carmody discuss the inherent conflict of the mind of Christ (compassion, forgiveness, empathy) and the mind of a combat soldier ( aggression, violence, conformity, lack of sympathy, survival) and the effort required by the military to subjugate the Christ-like mind into developing “a good soldier.” Can neuroscience help us understand Jesus’ admonition against anger? Watch and find out!

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