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Prefrontal Cortex and Its Connection to Human Spirituality
Mar 1, 2014

The body-self and spirit of a person generate a dynamic and complex system in which they are in constant communication with one another. The brain is one of the control and management centers of this complex structure. Although the brain's compartments have very different functions and structures, most of the compartments are vital for a healthy existence. Different compartments are distinguished by definitions that refer to direction or position, such as fore, middle, back, left or right. One such compartment is the forebrain (prefrontal cortex), which we still have limited knowledge about.

Various studies exist about these compartments – which controls the expression of the soul through the body, which is responsible for memory, intelligence, belief, hatred and love. The brain's two hemispheres have different functions and specialize in different areas. For example, linguistic abilities and tongue functions are usually controlled by the left hemisphere, while musical abilities and the ability to comment and analyze complex images are controlled by the right hemisphere. However, it is not possible to state that the forebrain functions independently from the hemispheres of the brain. The Wernicke's area, located on the upper tail of the temporal lobe, is responsible for language comprehension, and the Angular Gyrus that is a mediator between sound and vision, is responsible for linguistic and mathematical operations. For this reason, the Angular Gyrus is accepted to be related with superior consciousness and intelligence. Scientists have proven that intelligence and consciousness decrease more dramatically upon the destruction of these areas when compared to the destruction of the forebrain. Therefore, for the spiritual functions to be able to operate in the body, it's essential that these areas of the brain function.

The more accepted view, at least today, is that spiritual characteristics and personality function independent of the brain. A convincing proof disregarding this view is that during many tumor surgeries, even though the body's vital activities remain intact, after removing tissue from the brain, spiritual characteristics sometimes degrade. Another proof is the surgery performed to remove the forebrain of depressed patients (a prefrontal lobotomy). The patients vital activities were not disrupted upon surgery and their mood improved for a while. For a short amount of time, patients stopped suffering from serious neurological and psychiatric disturbances. However, when the patients were observed several years after the surgery, it was concluded that the patients lacked the functions of the forebrain and these surgeries were abandoned. The most prevalent side effects related to the removal of the forebrain were:

  • Loss of the ability to solve complex social problems,
  • Loss of the ability to take sequential steps in order to resolve a complex problem,
  • Loss of the ability to multitask,
  • Loss of determination, effort and desire to do activities,
  • Loss of the ability for a community response when faced with a problem,
  • Loss of ethical values and the feeling of shame,
  • Loss of coherent thought even though the ability to speak and understand what is said is not lost,
  • Instant emotional changes: from kindness to frustration, passion, violence and insanity,
  • Inability to use artistic or naturally existing talents for the sake of a purpose.

These dysfunctions made it apparent that there was a correlation between the forebrain and spiritual characteristics.

Single neurons, not from the human brain, were inoculated in the lab and an experiment was carried out.. Studies showed that these neurons were not a means to highly intellectual capabilities, such as intelligence; whereas when neurons taken from the forebrain were inoculated and experimented on, it was found that they were a means to uniquely human capabilities like intelligence. Complex problem solving and the capacity to make discoveries were found to be correlated with the forebrain. It is not possible to explain such a fact without taking the soul into consideration. Spiritual characteristics such as sadness, happiness, joy, peace, patience, compassion, and love are all the results of complex interactions within the brain. However, it is not convincing to say that they are only results of electrical or chemical interactions within the brain.

The prefrontal area is where all thoughts coming from lower brain areas (such as sight, hearing, and feeling cortex areas, and the thalamus and hypothalamus) are gathered and processed to be enriched. Many information and memories gathered from different parts of the brain come together in the prefrontal area to be synthesized into deeper thoughts. Active memory is when different pieces of information are synthesized together and form a thought; and this thought is later acted upon. This allows to accurately surmise future events, and to plan for them.

It also allows for a rapid, appropriate response to the signals gathered by the five sensory channels. It allows for predicting the consequences of actions before performing them and for resolving problems of a complex medical, mathematical, ethical, moral, or philosophical basis. It can also postpone emotional responses for an appropriate time, measure the consequences of verbal and physical communications, use will power to measure the ethical and moral consequences of actions, and use information gathered from all channels to diagnose a problem. People who have damaged prefrontal cortexes, have serious difficulty synthesizing information and processing it to form coherent thoughts (active memory). This situation shows us that the prefrontal cortex enables consciousness and highly intellectual actions.

Another function of the prefrontal cortex is to enable focus about a specific topic. Taking this into consideration, the prefrontal cortex is semi related to attention. An existing proof for this is that people with damaged prefrontal cortexes are unable to concentrate and their focus is easily disturbed. Individuals whose prefrontal cortex has been removed or damaged can acquire a spiritual consciousness; however due to their handicap, they are unable to express their thoughts in a serial and sensible fashion for more than a minute. They can be easily distracted from the original subject. The prefrontal cortex allows an individual to accomplish a process of thought despite distractions, and allows for communication between the soul and the mind.

To sum it up, the prefrontal cortex is correlated with intellectual characteristics such as consciousness, intelligence, and self control, and also relates to how well we perform our moral values. For example, if the prefrontal cortex is unable to function, the individual does not feel shame anymore. This makes people believe shame is related only to the prefrontal cortex. However, the brain is merely a bridge between the body and the soul. Our brain is a bridge and curtain for our soul, which is the source of our spiritual characteristics. When we physically have a problem with our brain, the soul carries on its existence as before, however it is unable to express its consciousness, intellect, and will power in this material world.