Pornography: the malady of the 21st century – Romanian book

A site visitor alerted YBOP to a new book by Romanian author Virgil Gheorghe: Pornography: the malady of the 21st century. He included an English translation of its foreward (some of which appears below) by Professor/Doctor Restian Adrian who is a member of the Romanian Academy of Medical Sciences and also of the European Academy of Teachers in Family Medicine.

The entire book can be purchased here. This is a portion of Professor Adrian’s foreward:

Known for his works on the impact of the television on the human mind and the modern human, [author] Virgil Gheorghe deals with the deluge of pornography which overwhelms contemporary society. These two phenomena of the post-modern world where we live are linked together. Not only does TV promote a lot of porn, but both TV and pornography rely on images.

The image plays a very important role in human life. More than 90% of the information that the brain receives arrives through the visual senses and more than half of the brain activity is dedicated to visual signal processing. An image speaks a thousand words. That is why those who want to influence the masses appeal more and more frequently to images.

Most institutions and people try to promote today a good self-image, even if it is fake. An image is the simplest mean for manipulation, and porn,  as shown in this book, is one of those dirty control tools, being financed with fabulous amounts of money.

The fact that porn sells, that porn websites and magazines have a large number of consumers, and that internet porn clips and TV porn movies garner high ratings, makes one think that in the human mind there is a small demon which happily waits to be tempted by the next external evil.

But the fact that the education level is not relevant with respect to porn consuming, given that highly educated people may have an interest in porn and sexual perversions, shows that the problems we are facing as a society are more complex than they appear to be. The author of the book deals with the problems in their entire complexity, from a biological, psychological, social and spiritual point of view.

As Paul MacLean shows, we have a triune brain, meaning a brain formed by superimposing three brains. At the base of our brain there is a brain which has a structure similar to the reptilian brain, which contributes to tuning the internal organ functions and serves our primary needs. On top  of it there is a, emotional brain. And on top of those two there is the neocortex, the human brain, which needs to control the human behaviour in a constantly changing and often hostile environment.

So, there are many levels where the human body interacts, engages and sees reality, based on which it understands its environment. At the lowest levels one could finds the weaknesses of the human creature, and on the higher levels one finds moral and spiritual actions of the human creature. But in order to live in a civilized society the behaviour of the individual is ideally the meeting place between the basic, instinctive needs and rational tendencies, a crossroad that is not always a happy confluence.

According to neuro-physiological studies, the primary brain structures make decisions regarding our behaviour before we are aware of them. As shown by B.Libet our brain makes decisions at a conscious level with 100 ms before we are aware of them. This was confirmed by J. Bargh and P. Gallwitzer in 2001. They discuss automatic will regarding behaviour regulation, as do R.Custers and H.Aarts in 2010 when they discuss unconscious will.

In addition, the human brain has a reward-punishment mechanism which sustains behaviours that produce satisfaction and avoids
behaviours and factors (external or internal t.n.) that are unpleasant. Animal experiments for instance show that animals, which have been subjected to the insertion of electrodes in the pleasure brain centers, exhausted themselves through self-stimulation. This system, mainly mediated by dopamine, plays an important role in creating dependency, not only related to drugs but also regarding sex and porn. Consequently, our brain always records and stores a certain amount of such information, and this is precisely exploited by those who promote the porn industry.

The amygdala is part of the emotional brain. It has a shortcut to the organs that define our senses and interpret their signals in terms of pleasant or unpleasant emotions. It makes decisions faster by sending a proposal to the frontal lobe, the most complex brain structure, before one becomes aware of the process. The frontal lobe, which deals with ethical and moral values, has the possibility to block the amygdala decision, and usually does that when the decision is incompatible with the environment or works against the laws and principles that a human should regard and respect as societal values. This is the reason why a human creature is capable of living in a civilized society with brain structures that imply automatic and unconscious acts.

In terms of biological evolution, the main obstacle is that the newest brain structures ripen slower and work slower as compared to the old, well defined and fully integrated structures. That is why a child does not possess mature deontic and moral structures that control the reptilian and emotional brain, and that is why humans have a long childhood before they can make the best decisions. …

~Prof.dr. Restian Adrian
Member of the Romanian Academy of Medical Sciences and the European Academy of Teachers in Family Medicine