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Why Learn Neuroscience?

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Message Lewis Mehl-Madrona

Once upon a time, we didn't need science stories to grow and change. We used spiritual stories or ethical stories. Sigmund Freud invented fantastic stories based upon hydraulic and mechanical metaphors. Today we are a science-based culture. Science stories are required to convince people that they can change and that they will change.

This is what I wanted to tell my student that neuroscience makes fabulous hypnosis. Its stories, told simply and elegantly, are compelling. They grab our attention. They present novelty. They inspire us. They help support our belief that we can and will change.

So what if we don't learn neuroscience? What if we can't speak that language? Then those who can will control us. We will have no answer to the "chemical imbalance" story or to the "it's all genetics" story. We will not be able to hold our own amidst the contemporary dialogue about mind and mental health. Our voices will be silent and others will dominate some whose motives are greed driver or power driven. The pharmaceutical companies will continue to be the arbiters or mental health care policy as they have been for decades now.

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Lewis grew up in southeastern Kentucky and attended Indiana University where he majored in biophysics. He then attended Stanford University School of Medicine and completed residencies in family medicine and in psychiatry at the University of (more...)
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