“All the ends of the world shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before you.” (Psalm 22)
“And they told about the things that had happened on the road, and how He was known to them in the breaking of bread.” (Luke 24:35)
I’ll be putting this meme somewhere that I can see easily see it. I need the reminder.
Neuroscience tells us that what’s going on in this quote is a function of something called myelination. Myelin is a chemical that allows signals to travel faster in our neural pathways. We build up myelin by repetition. The more we do something, the stronger the pathways in the brain needed to get it done. That’s why “practice makes perfect.”
Myelination doesn’t just affect learning skills, it also shapes things like character and attitudes. Choosing to be positive will make us a more positive person, because we are strengthening the “positive” pathways in our brains. The same is true for negative thinking.
In the words of the 20th-century Eastern Orthodox monk, Elder Thaddeus:
Our thoughts determine our lives.
I’ve been following the work of Jonathan Pageau for a couple of years now. An Orthodox icon carver from Montreal, Canada, Pageau has developed a large body of commentary (particularly on YouTube) on modern culture, narrative, and the Story that keeps getting told over and over again throughout human history.
In this video, Pageau talks about the religious imagery in the protests following the George Floyd killing in Minneapolis. In the video notes, Pageau writes:
From kneeling and chanting to contrition and acts of communion, the protests used catharsis as a means to a form of religious ecstasy, which was made more intense because of the Covid-19 lockdown.
The intent is not political commentary but a reflection on how the protests, within the context of the Corona virus outbreak, reveals how “religious” human beings really are. Ritual, fasting, offering are all woven into the fabric of our being.