Books by Brights
The Final Paradigm:
Tragedy, Religion, Knowledge and Folly in Our Neuro-Mechanical Life
Author: Dr.rer.nat. Nikolai Eberhardt, Professor Emeritus.
Paperback ISBN: 1-4392-0969-3
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Hardcover ISBN: 1-4392-1583-9
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Focusing primarily on the neuro-mechanical aspect of our bio-machinery, instead of its evolutionary origin, a naturalistic theory of self and culture/civilization is presented, which carries far beyond any previous attempts. To take our conscious “I” as a free decision making agent is found to be an illusion. We develop intelligence through building a neocortical virtual model of the external world, but are driven by genetically fixed prime directives (wills and instincts) in the old part of the brain. This division of functions between the two parts of the brain is key to this scientific synthesis. Civilization, especially in its modern technological-commercial form, is found to be a dangerous adventure into an unknown space of existence, that may be self destructive. Monotheistic religion is found to be a neuro-systemic attempt to escape that addiction of trying to gain power over the external world. When stripped of its mythological ballast, religion could again become an important guide to healing self and society. The fatal addiction to ideology is explained. Altogether it is made clear that there is an absolute moral imperative to understand our natural predicament and pull ourselves out of that bloody chaos that human history so far has been. There is no alternative because the evolution that made us was blind, and there is nobody “above” to help. To achieve this is difficult, but not impossible. The book can be considered as a contemporary scientific extension and completion of enlightenment philosophy. Old political designs should be re-evaluated on these new grounds.
About the author
From childhood the author has had almost an obsession to find out how things work and how to build things. But graver riddles appeared during WW2 in German occupied Poland, where his family had fled, twice in a row, from the approaching Bolsheviks. What was all this bloody foolishness about? What made people act so much against their own well being? And now the bombs were falling on innocent civilians.
This made him add humans to the list of things to urgently find out how they work. When time came to choose a profession, physics was most natural to his gifts, because at the time no reliable approach existed to find out how humans work. But that had remained the main point of interest. First entry points were found in the work of Konrad Lorenz and Carl Gustav Jung, and throughout his academic career as Professor of Electrical Engineering at Lehigh University, he taught under various general studies programs many courses on this most important subject.
A breakthrough happened when he became involved in robotics and found out how neural networks work. Now suddenly everything began to fall into its proper place.
Eberhardt is of German-Swedish-Russian descent, born in Estonia. After some studies in Philosophy in Graz/Austria, he obtained a Dr.rer.nat. in Physics from the Technical University in Munich, did some research at Siemens, and joined the Lehigh Faculty in 1962.