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April 11th, 2010

Mirror Neurons

Submitted by Ikram.

Just like smoke makes one infer the presence of fire underneath it, so do the human interactions indicate presence of “mirror neurons” in the brain. These mirror neurons actually “mirror” the behavior, speech, and emotions of others. For example, even if a total stranger picks up a baby, s/he soon starts making funny faces and cuddly noises. Why? Answer is simple that the mirror neurons of that adult reflect the expression of face and eyes and sounds of the child. Remember, it is all a psychologically unconscious behavior. Once the adult recognizes the absurdity of his/her behavior, s/he retreats from acting as such, usually with some embarrassment.

These mirror neurons we see at play in areas of interest of this site as well. A rigid remark, begets a rigid remark. An appreciation is responded by appreciation. What mirror neurons tell us that unless one thinks at a higher and mature intellectual plane, one will imitate like apes, which is a level of low intellect.

This low level of intellectual function extends into societal behavior to which Quran makes a reference and is commonly observed in the Muslim culture, where a firebrand Mullah will lash out a dogma from the pulpit and everyone in the audience affirms it. Clearly both are mirroring each other.

This is what Quran has to say about mirrored behaviors. Make your own inferences:

5:60. Say, `Shall I inform you of those who shall receive from Allâh a recompense worse than that of those (who try to find fault with Us)? They are those whom Allâh has deprived of His blessings and upon whom He brought His displeasure and indignation and of whom He has made (as) apes and swine and who serve the transgressor (- the devil). It is these who are indeed worse-placed and farther astray from the right path.’

5:62. And you will find many of them vying one with another in committing sin and transgression and being too much given to eat things forbidden. How evil is that which they practise!

5:63. Why do not the teachers of divine knowledge and those learned in the Law prohibit them from their blasphemic talk and deeds and their being too much given to eating things forbidden? Evil indeed is their machination.

[The Holy Quran – Allamah Nooruddin]

One Response to “Mirror Neurons”

  1. April 12th, 2010 at 7:49 pm
    From Zahid Aziz:

    1. There is a well-known hadith that “a believer is a mirror for another believer”. This has been interpreted in numerous ways.

    2. When I was at school (here in England) our history teacher while teaching the crusades said that mirrors were first brought to Europe by the returning crusaders from Syria.

    3. This word comes from Arabic, as the Arabic for mirror is miraat. Grammatically, the word miraat means an instrument for seeing.

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