Time for a philosophical break on this journey. I started Vaccine Logic to see if I could teach vaccines and mathematical tools including logic. But as Aristotle said, “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.” And I realised that learning about vaccines and immunisation is also about emotion. We are emotional and not rational creatures, by instinct.
But we can and do over-ride instinct routinely. Isn’t that what it means to be civilised: to do what is moral rather than what instinct or pleasure dictates to meet self-interest? To over-ride our natural prejudices with deliberate logic. We can recognise our biases and address them if we choose, but it is hard work! Discipline and practice.
Love requires empathy, a feeling for others. “When parents use empathy and don’t react negatively to a child, they help the child stay in the upstairs part of the brain (more rational part) and not the downstairs (emotional).”
It is wrong to think of love as a purely human attribute. Love emerges in the animal kingdom with mammals and birds, who care for their young. Fish spawn and move on. Reptiles will carefully hide their eggs then leave them. Love starts with the care of the mother for the child; and there are many kinds of love. An army unit works as well as its members love each and will protect each other. At heart is the care for the other, and willingness to sacrifice for them.
The primate love instinct that we inherited has gone metaphysical: a love not just of other people, but also of ideas. Continue reading