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Ending War with Mushrooms, A essay by the founder Willy T

How a understanding of ego and empathy can be used to create a more equitable world. 

In the beginning, the most basic of necessities were needed to survive. A lot of what we consider survival skills in modern times were unimportant in the beginning. Eventually, our minds began to see the world and perceive how we fit into it. We began navigating the world, and society began to grow in every corner of it. To do so, we have developed many techniques to instantly recognize danger and anticipate dangerous situations. These evolutionary tools gave us the ability to understand ourselves, our fellow humans, and the earth we live on. We developed ego, which taught us to be hunters, and empathy, which taught us to gather and share. The hunters who brought meat from the hunt or the gatherers who brought berries and fruits from the field and tanned skins brought these items to the family or group. Giving created behavioral tension in the giver because acting empathically involved partially denying one's ego and necessitated a response that included acknowledgement, thanks, respect, affection, or some other form of ego reaffirmation. Additionally, this giving or providing caused behavioral tension in the recipients. An offsetting empathetic response a thank- you, an expression of appreciation, or respect was required because it was a service to their ego. Their own preservation, which created tension. Even now, this dynamic permeates even the smallest activities in any family or close group. Rewards and reciprocation are largely diffuse in the small group and not quantified. As a result, the group is bound together for protection or mutual survival, creating obligations and bonds. This led to a larger society and the formation of nations and ideologies based on the subtle differences between us humans. This increased the empathic gaps that led to a society based on hierarchies. This has led to a dangerous system of repetitive control that has blessed us and cursed us at the same time. If we are to become one of the very few species to survive for multiple millennia, we have to understand the balance between ego and empathy. In doing so, those who seek to weaponize these tools against us will lose control, and as the world wakes up and begins to have ego and empathy in balance, we will then begin to create a truly equitable world.The evolution of ego and empathy is related to economics and politics. According to the authors of "Empathy in Economics: Anthropological and Sociological Perspectives,” (1) ego and empathy tendencies are controlled by various brain regions that directly impact how we behave. They contend that the brain is made up of numerous interconnected modules that have evolved naturally through selection to assist humans in making adjustments to their social and physical environments. The importance of empathy in human behavior is one of the book's main themes. According to the authors, empathy has developed over time as a tool to aid us in interacting with others and navigating social situations. Empathy is an essential component of our biology and psychology, not just a moral or ethical idea. The influence of ego on how we behave is another key theme. The authors write that the frontal lobes of the brain, which control our egoistic tendencies, can cause us to act in ways that are not always in our best interests or the interests of society at large. This has shaped how people behave in the fields of economics and politics. Mao Zedong says "politics is war without bloodshed, while war is politics with bloodshed.”(2) Furthermore, politics is nothing more than tribalistic economics. This emphasizes the role that both ego and empathy play in determining our behavior and makes the case that a better understanding of how these two factors interact could result in institutions and policies that are more equitable. 

   

Exploring Ego 

The ego is the sense of oneself. This is a complex construct that is central to human cognition and behavior. Social neuroscience research has recently shed light on the neural mechanisms that underlie the ego and has highlighted the importance of several brain regions in this process. One key region of the brain involved in ego is the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), which is responsible for self-referential processing and the integration of self-related information. Studies have shown that activity in the mPFC is linked to making decisions about oneself and is part of being able to think about one's own thoughts, feelings, and experiences. 

Another important brain region involved in ego is the insula, which is involved in interoception and the processing of bodily sensations. The insula is believed to play a role in self-awareness and in the ability to distinguish between oneself and others. Social neuroscience has also revealed that the ego is not a static construct but is constantly changing and influenced by social and environmental factors. For example, research has shown that social identity, group membership, and social context can all influence the neural processing of self-related information.Eckhart Tolle theorizes that before the ego was born, we lived with the idea of the "myth of the golden age," the time before war and conquering, when we all lived in harmony with our environment and every person in it. This is expressed in literature as the Old Testament. The fall of man came with the ego and the ability to think and perceive time and one's relation to it. The ego is developed from how our memories are shaped by our past and how we perceive ourselves in the future. Through this, we were able to create a new view of the world. In the beginning, only a few held this inner knowledge. It was perceived as speaking with gods within the minds of the leaders who began to take hold of the world. (3)Robin Carhart Harris is a leading researcher in the field of psychedelic studies, with a focus on the therapeutic potential of substances like psilocybin, LSD, and MDMA. One of the key ideas he has put forth is that psychedelic experiences have the ability to ease the default systems of the brain, leading to a greater sense of openness, creativity, and connectedness.The default mode network (DMN) is a network of brain regions that are active when an individual is not engaged in a specific task and is instead engaged in self-reflection or mind-wandering. The DMN is often associated with the ego or self and is thought to play a role in creating our sense of self and identity. Psychedelics have the ability to temporarily suppress the activity of the DMN, which can allow for new patterns of thought and experiences to emerge. This can lead to a greater sense of openness and creativity, as well as a feeling of interconnectedness with the world and others.In a 2014 study, Carhart Harris and his team used fMRI scans to investigate the effects of psilocybin on the brain. They found that psilocybin reduced the activity of the DMN while simultaneously increasing connectivity between other brain networks. This suggests that psychedelics can promote a more fluid and flexible way of thinking as well as a greater sense of connectedness with the world and others.Carhart Harris ideas have significant implications for the therapeutic potential of psychedelics. By easing the default systems of the brain, psychedelics may be able to help individuals break free from negative patterns of thought and behavior and experience greater emotional and mental well-being. Furthermore, by promoting a greater sense of interconnectedness and empathy, psychedelics may have the potential to improve social cohesion and foster a more compassionate society.(4) 

Exploring Empathy 

Empathy is a complex process that involves several regions of the brain working together. At the core of empathy is the ability to understand and share the emotions of others. This process begins with the perception of social cues, such as facial 

   

expressions, tone of voice, and body language, which activate regions of the brain involved in social cognition and emotion processing.The anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) is a key part of the brain that is involved in empathy. It plays a key role in recognizing and responding to emotional cues. Studies have shown that activity in the ACC increases when individuals are presented with emotional stimuli, indicating its involvement in emotional processing. Additionally, the prefrontal cortex (PFC) plays a significant role in empathy. This region is responsible for regulating emotional responses, decision-making, and social behavior, which are all essential components of empathic responses.It is important to discuss the differences between feeling empathy and having an empathic response. There are key differences between empathy and sympathy. Sympathy is when we can offer kind words for someone's emotional state. Empathy is the ability to place oneself in the same emotional state as those with whom we empathize. The ability to feel the emotions of othersThe Dalai Lama spoke on a panel with Marco Iacoboni, one of the top neuroscientists in the world and author of Mirroring People: The Science of Empathy and How We Relate to Others, at the "Happiness and Its Causes Conference" in Brisbane, Australia. During the conversation, Iacoboni said that the mirror neuron system in the brain is the biological basis for how people connect with each other. This is a physiological explanation for why people seek out emotional connections with one another. He says that we have finally found a part of the brain that suggests evolution may have given us something that lets us connect with other people in a very basic way. He continued by stating that this mirror neuron system is an exceptional starting point for developing greater levels of compassion. Iacoboni speculates that these neurons could serve as "the basis for a secular morality," one based on our biological propensities rather than the conventionally religious morality. The issues raised by mirror neuron research are "so radical that we should probably be talking about a revolution, the mirror neuron revolution," because they have far-reaching effects on how we perceive people and societies. The chapters that follow make a case for moral responsibility grounded in moral objectivity,(5) or, as Paul Sawyer puts it in reference to Martin Luther King, "an imperative to act in a certain way, based on an empirically verifiable social state of affairs" that is in line with what is understood about empathy. Whenever King made public appeals for radical resistance to a system of exploitation on a global scale, he always cited moral universalism as his source. He expressed a "all-embracing and unconditional love for all men," which he described as "not some sentimental and weak response" but rather as "the force that all great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life," a "Hindu-Moslem-Christian-Jewish-Buddhist belief about ultimate reality." As we see, our primate ancestors possessed a strong tendency toward empathy. According to renowned primatologist Frans de Waal, "How could anyone be expected to uphold the golden rule without the ability to mentally swap places with a fellow human being?" Denying that this ability existed prior to the formulation of the golden rule seems foolishly obtuse and even dangerous. In the article, "The Neurodevelopment of Empathy in Humans,”(6) Jean Decety explores how empathy develops in the human brain and how various factors, such as genetics, environment, and socialization, contribute to this development.Empathy involves the ability to understand and share the emotions and experiences of others. This ability is not innate but rather develops over time, beginning in infancy and continuing throughout childhood and adolescence. The brain's perception of empathy involves several different regions and neural pathways, including the prefrontal cortex, insula, and amygdala. Decety emphasizes the importance of early experiences in shaping the development of empathy. For example, infants who receive responsive and sensitive care from their caregivers are more likely to develop a strong capacity for empathy. On the other hand, children who experience neglect or abuse may have difficulty developing empathy. Decety discusses how socialization and culture influence 

   

the development of empathy. For example, children who grow up in cultures that value collective identity and interdependence may develop a stronger sense of empathy than children who grow up in more individualistic cultures. Decety's article highlights the complex and multifaceted nature of empathy development in the human brain. Understanding how empathy develops and the various factors that contribute to its development can have important implications for promoting empathy and social connectedness in individuals and society as a whole.(7) 

Psychedelics may increase empathy through their ability to temporarily alter brain activity and reduce the activity of the default mode network (DMN), which is associated with the ego and sense of self. By reducing the activity of the DMN, psychedelics may allow individuals to experience a greater sense of interconnectedness with others and the world around them, leading to increased empathy and compassion. 

Weaponized Ego and Empathy 

As you can see, the relationship between ego and empathy is a complex and multifaceted one. Social neuroscience research has recently begun to explore the neural mechanisms that underlie this relationship and has highlighted the importance of several brain regions in this process.One key region of the brain involved in both ego and empathy is the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC). The mPFC is responsible for self-referential processing and the integration of self-related information and has also been shown to be involved in empathy and perspective-taking. Studies have shown that activity in the mPFC is associated with both self-referential processing and empathic responding, suggesting a potential link between these two constructs.Another brain region involved in both ego and empathy is the insula, which is involved in interoception and the processing of bodily sensations. The insula is thought to play a role in self-awareness and being able to tell the difference between yourself and other people. It has also been linked to how the brain processes empathy.Social neuroscience research has also shown that the relationship between ego and empathy is also influenced by a range of social and environmental factors. For example, research has shown that social identity, group membership, and social context can all influence the neural processing of self-related and empathic information.Ego played a role in shaping the modern world. But eventually, those who do not experience guilt will use our egos as weapons against us. In the name of the greater good of the country, we have been forced into obeying the rules. a method that is frequently employed in society to make those who are part of the system feel more elevated above the rest of society. We play with our egos in order to be on the winning team. In order to maintain the status quo in society, which is a status quo that depends on our egos, we use our egos to see ourselves as superior to those whom we consider to be outside of our tribe. It saddens me that empathy is being used against us in modern society as well. It is being used by those who want to control and profit from policies that only benefit the few and devastate our resources and planet to take subjects that arouse feelings of empathy and, through systematic labeling, render most people incapable of objectively viewing a situation without having their own empathy for the subject called into question. So the question arises. How do we balance our own ego and empathy? 

Ego and Empathy in balance 

A research project looked at how psilocybin affects regional glutamate changes and the sensation of ego dissolution. According to the study, psilocybin significantly altered the glutamate levels in several brain areas, and these modifications were linked to the sensation of ego dissolution. The findings imply that the profound changes in subjective experience related to psychedelic experiences may be a result of psilocybin-induced changes in glutamate levels. We may be able to create new interventions and therapies 

   

that can assist people in better understanding and managing their sense of self, as well as improving their capacity to comprehend and react to the emotions of others, by better understanding the neural mechanisms that underlie both constructs and the factors that influence their relationship. In understanding the balance between ego and empathy, we can begin to better control our own thought processes and begin the next revolution in brain evolution that will see every human see and feel one another as individuals working together for a better world. That is when all the power that was taken from the people will be returned to the people, because there is power in all people. 



Bibliography 

(1) Cory, G.A. (1999). Empathy in Economics: Anthropological and Sociological Perspectives. In: The Reciprocal Modular Brain in Economics and Politics. Springer, Boston, MA. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4615-4747-1_8 ” 

(2) Mao Zedong 1893–1976. //www.oxfordreference.com/display/10.1093/acref/ 9780191843730.001.0001/q-oro- ed5-00007069;jsessionid=D6907AB3DD9501A8276C1BC1131D8BEA 

(3) Tolle, Eckhart. “The Power of Now A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment” 2004 https:// youtu.be/bImdyQn43s8 


  1. (4)  Carhart-Harris RL, Erritzoe D, Williams T, Stone JM, Reed LJ, Colasanti A, Tyacke RJ, Leech R, Malizia AL, Murphy K, Hobden P, Evans J, Feilding A, Wise RG, Nutt DJ. Neural correlates of the psychedelic state as determined by fMRI studies with psilocybin. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Feb 7;109(6):2138-43. doi: 10.1073/ pnas.1119598109. Epub 2012 Jan 23. PMID: 22308440; PMCID: PMC3277566. https://youtu.be/HPerHB6Y2SQ  

  2. (5)  Iacoboni, Marco. Mirroring People The New Science of How We Connect With Others. Farrar Straus and Giroux 2009 https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=pXTZLTJbU8g  


(6) Alcoff, Linda (ed.) (2006). Identity Politics Reconsidered. Palgrave-Macmillan. (7) Decety J. The neurodevelopment of empathy in humans. Dev Neurosci. 

2010;32(4):257-67. doi: 10.1159/000317771. Epub 2010 Aug 31. PMID: 20805682; 

PMCID: PMC3021497.(8) Imperiled: Capitalism, Culture, and the Brain (SpringerBriefs in Political Science, 

10) 2013th Edition 

(1) Additional ReferencesGerald, A., and A. Cory Gerald. “Empathy in Economics Anthropological and Sociological 

Perspectives,” 1999. 

Robin, L., J. Friston. "The default-mode Karl, and and free-energy: a neurobiological account of Freudian ideas functions. “Brain 133 No,” 2010. 

Stephen, Bright, and Engel. "Tripping over the other: Could psychedelics increase empathy? Liam. “Journal of Psychedelic Studies 4 No,” 2021. 

N., L., P. C. Kuypers K., Müller F., Reckweg J., H. Y. Tse D., W. Toennes S., R. P. W. Hutten et al. "Me N., and alterations in glutamate and the experience of ego dissolution with psilocybin regional. “Neuropsychopharmacology 45 No,” 2020. 

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