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Oscar Janiger

seem to fit in. One is curiosity and the other is disgust. I had a lot of fun with this, it’s really off-the-wall stuff. Let’s assume that this is possible, that the body is equipped to create fear, love and anger in some way. The limbic region may be the generator. We found that emotions are mediated through the nervous system and they are transmitted through specialized neurons in the form of chemical messengers called neuro-transmitters which seem to carry an emotional charge. It is a very elegant way of thinking, that emotions are transmitted through this chemical interchange. That was proven by the fact that if you alter the chemistry, then you alter the emotional content of the mind or the brain. So you now have a beginning theory for emotions as having some substrate in material things that could be quantified. This leads to some way of building an emotional model that may work.

JEANNE:: What is your view with regard to the evolutionary process of male-female relationships?

OSCAR: The word relationship in this context is a bothersome one. I think men and women have certain attributes that are native to their individual biology. How they manage to coordinate them is something that requires a tremendous amount of tolerance and understanding for what is unfamiliar to the other person. I think that men and women have to somehow appreciate the differences between them, and not assume that either of those differences have a more superior quality than the other. And there are differences, I think the danger is assuming there are none. I think it’s an issue of how mature the human race gets. It’s the difficulty in discriminating between the biological and cultural differences and their resolution. The problem here is that they are hopelessly mixed up, and that has to be sorted out before you can say anything definitive about it. For example, all kinds of cultural values are placed on behavior which has nothing to do with biology.

DJB: Well culture and biology are quite intertwined.

OSCAR: Yes, they’re intertwined, but there is a way of studying this in relative respect to the circumstances involved. Now we see you have a group of people who feel that men and women live differently in different conditions. That is to say, there was a time in the world when things were primitive and presumably better, and our modern problems are really the result of industrialization and male supremacy and egotism. Women, in an effort to become compensatory have become goddesses. These changes in historical conditions made these differences exaggerated, but I wouldn’t go any further with that, because it’s too easy to fall into established predjudices on this issue. I think basically women make an extraordinary contribution in their own biology, so to speak, and it’s mental equivalence, and men make their contribution.

JEANNE:: What kind of philosophy do you think people should adopt in regard to social responsibility in general?

OSCAR: I think what we need more than anything else is enlight -ened self-interest. This is not the same as selfishness. Selfishness is gaining something at the expense of others. Enlightened self-interest is somehow nourishing and gaining something in terms of ourselves and what we need, not at the expense of others. Unfortunately, instead of that we have charity and sacrifice which only compounds the problem. You can see clearly that I’m not one of the holy types. Let your mothers and fathers take care of themselves. Freud said the most important story he every heard was of a mother bird carrying a little bird on it’s back. There were three little birds and she carried them across the channel. In the middle of the channel the mother bird said, “When I am old and sick, would you carry me on your back?” The first bird said, “Yes mother, I’d be happy to.” And the mother turned over and dumped the bird. The second bird, the same problem. The third bird however, said, “No, I won’t carry you on my back, I’ll carry my children on my back.” Think about it. If everyone here did that, we’d have no more problems. Your obligation is to carry your children, not your mother on your back. If she did the right thing, you wouldn’t have to carry her. She would have already prepared, like you’re going to prepare for your children. That’s what I’m talking about — enlightened self-interest.

DJB: Oz, you’ve worked with and interacted with many of the outstanding minds of our time. Who have been some of the most important influences in your development and where have you found inspiration when you needed it?

OSCAR: Well, Aldous Huxley has been a real source of inspiration to me. Let me give you an example. I was on the stage of the Ebel Theater as part of a three doctor team, to examine a man who professed to be able to lower his blood pressure,

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