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Why we do what we do

A Christian Science perspective on daily life.

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Some researchers look to the brain for answers and suggest that we come predisposed to behaviors that backfire on us. Beginning with a view of life as strictly material, taking place in a physical arena, these theories close us in. Bad genes and thought patterns condemn us to bad behavior, they say.

But this assessment is inherently flawed.

As Albert Einstein noted, "Significant problems cannot be solved at the same level of thinking with which we created them." So the solution to the problem of mortal existence and what leads us to misdirect our lives won't be found by analyzing the material conditions that incline us toward bad behavior. Rather, we need to ask ourselves if matter really is the essence of being, and if it defines what and who we are.

Mary Baker Eddy's discovery of Christian Science points to a totally different view. In "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," she wrote: "The human mortal mind, by an inevitable perversion, makes all things start from the lowest instead of from the highest mortal thought. The reverse is the case with all the formations of the immortal divine Mind. They proceed from the divine source; and so, in tracing them, we constantly ascend in infinite being" (p. 189).

This statement makes the point that it's not which neurons are firing that determines human behavior but what people accept as the premise for determining who they are and what's going on.

What Mary Baker Eddy called "mortal mind"– thought that begins with the conviction that life has a material basis – reinforces its own conceits. In this way, another's fears tend to "prove" to us that there is something real to fear. Another's overindulgence in drink or food suggests that we need to fill ourselves materially.

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