AmbivaBlog: You Can Go Home Again: "Actually, this one of the things that inclines me to think we do not live in an accidental universe. Why should the brain have this marvelous capacity for consoling time travel? According to Dawkins-Dennett-Darwin-Dogma (try saying that three times fast), it had to have survival value. Nostalgia, memory, and dreams must have contributed somehow to the will to live, to survive hardship. Yet Jacques writes in his book about how he refused himself the luxury of homesickness when he was a teenage prisoner in Russia, because he sensed that to dwell on home would weaken him. He saw many people die that way. He chose, rather, a cold-eyed realism.
Here he is now, helpless, confused, out of control of his own body, in what would seem to be misery, and he's smiling in his sleep because he's been given back the childhood that was ripped away from him over 60 years ago. This gift has no survival value now. Not even in the long term, in the medium term, he's not going to survive, and he's certainly not going to reproduce. I'm sorry, but this is more than merely a material brain in a material world. This is something like mercy, something like a soul."
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