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  • Writer's pictureMiriam Verbeek

A piece of lace: What mattered then, what matters now

Footnote details:<1> “I’ve learnt” in the process of completing my doctorate "The effects of power on its users", University of New South Wales <2> Over the past hundred years or so, the science of psychology has become increasingly sophisticated. Nowadays psychologists, managers, marketers and others interested in modifying or predicting human behaviour can do so with a fair degree of accuracy. For example, counsellors often succeed in helping those who have suffered trauma, psychologists help police to narrow the field of suspects in some criminal cases and marketers convince us to believe that owning pointy shoes or having a new mobile phone matters. <3> This is particularly noteworthy in some societies where certain classes of people are forbidden to speak to one another (for example, see Stephanie Fryer-Smith, “Language and Communication,” AIJA Aboriginal Cultural Awareness Benchbook for Western Australian Courts, chap. 5, Nov 2007, <4> Reg Morrison, The spirit in the gene: Humanity’s proud illusion and the laws of nature (Cornell University Press, 1999). <5> The rational and irrational brain are connected by a belt of nerve fibres called the corpus callosum. <6> Sally P. Springer and George Deutsch, Left Brain. Right Brain (New York: W H Freeman, 1981). <7> The researchers wondered why some people who suffered brain damage became more religious and others became less religious. <8> Alison Motluk, “Touched by the Word of God,” New Scientist, 8 November (1997). <9> See, for example, Richard Dawkins The Selfish Gene (Oxford University Press, 1989). <10> Mark 7:5-10 The Jerusalem Bible, (Darton, Longman:Todd, 1968): “So the Pharisees and Scribes asked him, ‘Why do your disciples not respect the tradition of the elders but eat their food with unclean hands?’ He answered: “It was of you hypocrites that Isaiah so rightly prophesied in this passage of scripture: This people honours me only with lip-service, while their hearts are far from me. The worship they offer me is worthless, the doctrines they teach are only human regulations. You put aside the commandment of God to cling to human tradition’ And he said to them, ‘How ingeniously you get round the commandment of God in order to preserve your own tradition…”

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