An Atheist Parable

Susac
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An Atheist Parable

As some of you know, I am a board certified hypnotist.

 

I mention this because I was reading Matthew (yes the bible story) for my classical ethics class, and after reading it I realized that the WHOLE THING is one big hypnotic induction.  I mean that  from start to finish the entire thing is designed to get you to turn into a christian at a deep unconscious level.  I shit you not.

 

The give away is the parables.  parables are a way of bypassing rational thought and getting commands into the unconscious mind so that they program specific states of mind and responses.  The death of Jesus is the biggest "take away" sales technique in history, and it is incredibly artfully done.  Mathew was a genius - an evil genius but a genius none the less. 

 

Anyway this got my thinking.  Why not fight fire with fire?  Why not write a few atheist parables, and program the unconscious minds of readers to think rationally and to let go of their superstitious beliefs?  After all, whether or not you believe in a god, you still have all the psychological mechanisms that LEAD to superstitious beliefs.  The reason we here at RES don't believe in god is because we have successfully trained our minds to use evidence as the standard of proof.  Even so, we still fall into all the same squishy thinking that our faith-based friends do, we are simply more aware of our own capacity to be fooled.

 

Anyway, this morning I was laying half asleep (which is the best time to create hypnotic inductions BTW), and I cooked up this atheist parable:

 

 

First Monkey and the Apple.

There once was a hunter on the African savanna, and he decided to do the old trick of poking a hole in a termite mound and sticking an apple in the mound to catch a monkey.  So he poke his hole and he placed his apple, and he went off on his way.

 

By and by a monkey came along, and sure enough he saw the apple in the termite mound and he reached in to grab it.  Unable to pull the apple out without letting it go, the monkey sat there with his hand stuck in the termite mound grasping the apple.

 

He sat there contentedly for a while, just eating his termites, when along came a second monkey.

 

Second Monkey said "hey there First Monkey!  what are you doing with your hand in that termite mound?"

 

"Well I'm holding an apple!  And a quite fine apple it is too!"  Said First Monkey.

 

"Well, why don't you let go of the apple and come play with me? " Second Monkey asked.

 

"And lose this beautiful apple?  Never!" First monkey replied.

 

Seeing that his fiend was trapped, second monkey set out to convince first monkey to let go of the apple.  He tried using the Socratic method.  He tried using Aristotelian logic, he tried all manner of rational discourse.  Still the first monkey would not let go of his apple.  In fact the more they argued, the more tightly first monkey clung to his apple.

 

Finally, First Monkey said "I'll tell you what.  Go get me another apple as nice as this one, and then maybe I'll consider giving this apple up."

 

But Second Monkey said "Dude.  Don't you see?  You don't have that apple.  That apple has you."

 

 

 

 

Please comment and PLEASE feel free to write some atheist parables of your own.

 

 

 

 

 


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Quote:fight fire with

Quote:
fight fire with fire

Because we don't need to create our own myths to deprogram people. I dont mind fighting fire with fire, but I don't want atheists setting up a "system" when scientific method will sufice.

I think it is more important to stick to fighting with the truth of reality than it is to "trick" people into something. If all you do is "trick" people, you have merely created a robot.

This is no different to me than falsely teaching children to memorize school subjects which is different than actually understanding what they memorize.

 

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 Susac, you know I have

 Susac, you know I have reservations about the claims made by "rock star" hypnotists, and I've heard a lot of what surely must be claptrap about the power of hypnosis.  However, I'm very well acquainted with the kind of hypnosis techniques used by salesmen.  I had never considered Biblical parables as hypnotic devices, but now that I'm thinking about it, it makes some sense.  Nearly every sales seminar I've ever watched was heavily laden with parable-like stories of John Doe who did this or that and Joe Blow who did this other thing and how Joe Blow is now successful and John Doe is a loser.

In fact, every self help book worth a damn has almost as many "real life stories" as actual instruction...

Damn you, man... you have made me rethink my own book project...

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Hm. I'm not sure I agree

Hm. I'm not sure I agree that a book written as a fictional mythology should be looked at as an evil hypnotic tool if we want to be honest. I mean, the argument that the Bible is what has manufactured the overwhelming number of Christians in the world today utterly fails at a fundamental level when you take into account that most Christians haven't even read it.

The sermons and children's camps (*shudders*), IMHO, do far more damage than the book does.

 

As far as 'fighting firewith fire' is concerned, I agree with Brian: I am not interested in trading one unhealthy dogma for another.

Quote:
"Natasha has just come up to the window from the courtyard and opened it wider so that the air may enter more freely into my room. I can see the bright green strip of grass beneath the wall, and the clear blue sky above the wall, and sunlight everywhere. Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression and violence, and enjoy it to the full."

- Leon Trotsky, Last Will & Testament
February 27, 1940


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Hambydammit wrote: Damn

Hambydammit wrote:

 

Damn you, man... you have made me rethink my own book project...

 

 

Woot!

 

 

Brian, I think that you don't understand how hypnosis works.  You can't use it to program people to do things that are against their core values, and you can't use it to turn people into robots.  What you CAN use it to do is to create a psychological aversion to holding certain states of mind.  So for instance there are about 5-7 chapters of Matthew that have a story in which one group of things (wheat, virgins, etc) is selected out of the group, and another group of things (weeds, virgins who forgot the oil for their lamps) is left out and/or burned in the fire.  Each of these passages ends with "and there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

 

What these are are parables which bypass the conscious mind, and speak directly to the unconscious, and they make you WANT to be included in the in-group (who doesn't want to be in the in-group?), and they associate being excluded from the in group with pain and suffering in all it's forms.  The reason this message is repeated over and over is because it programs the reader to:

1)  Want to belong to the in-group of Christ-followers and

2) Feel like shit if you don't.

 

The repetition is a hypnotic induction technique designed to drive the command in as deeply as possible.

 

Then you read this stuff to a 5 year old and expect him to resist?  No WONDER we have so many faith heads in the world!

 

What cued me into this fact was that after reading this book, I woke in the middle of the night filled with anger toward Christan's, and i was literally grinding my teeth.  As I tossed and turned, it suddenly occured to me "Oh my god!  I have been programmed by Matthew!  Here was this guy who died 2000 years ago and he was directly influencing my mind with this hypnotic induction!  The reason I was angry and was tossing and turning is because I was fighting the programming (it's against my core values), and the reason I was gnashing my teeth was because I had been programmed to do so!

 

So this is what we are up against as rationalists.  We are up against 2000 years of hypnotic induction that have organically grown and blossomed into a whole culture and theology.  This is the mechanism by which these beliefs have taken on a life of their own and have played themselves out across the generations.  Sam Harris said "We are literally held hostage by literature."  This is HOW we are held hostage by literature.  These are the chains.

 

So if we want to break these chains for ourselves and for the people who we love, we are going to have to learn how to use the unconscious mind to reprogram itself.  This is not about creating an alternate cult.  This is about setting loose cognitive programs in the meme-scape that will counteract the enslavement programs of religion.  It's a very deep project, and if done right, it will also play out over the generations.

 

It seems to me that the best counter program/virus one could launch would be one that helps people to become more aware of how they are programmed by parables!

 

So give it a try.  Write some parables.   Make them about awareness, rationality and freeing your mind.  It's ok.  Think of it as advertising.


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Kevin R Brown wrote:Hm. I'm

Kevin R Brown wrote:

Hm. I'm not sure I agree that a book written as a fictional mythology should be looked at as an evil hypnotic tool if we want to be honest. I mean, the argument that the Bible is what has manufactured the overwhelming number of Christians in the world today utterly fails at a fundamental level when you take into account that most Christians haven't even read it.

The sermons and children's camps (*shudders*), IMHO, do far more damage than the book does.

 

As far as 'fighting firewith fire' is concerned, I agree with Brian: I am not interested in trading one unhealthy dogma for another.

 

When preachers do sermons, they use these hypnotic techniques.  They frequently lift them directly from the bible.  This is what a sermon IS.  Try this:  Go to church  on Sunday and just listen to the preacher-man.  Notice what he is doing.  Is he telling a story?  Is he drawing you in?  Is the story telling you something about yourself?  Are you having a physiological response to the story?  These are all hypnotic techniques, and they are not even done maliciously.  They are just good story-telling.

 

I went to church once, and this guy was talking about Jesus by the well.  As he talked, I got thirstier and thirstier.  He was using language that was eliciting a thirsty response, and then addressing that created, felt need by talking about "the water of Christ."

 

This is how religion works.  It uses metaphor and symbols to speak to those parts of the brain that are non-verbal and that respond well to magical thinking.  We all have them.  You can get angry about how our capacities for irrational thought are exploited by religion, but you can't get rid of them.  Heck you wouldn't want to get rid of them - they evolved in us because they help us survive.

 

If we don't learn to use our irrational minds, we will never be able to undo the programming that has been done.  And isn't that the real issue here?  Don't fall into the trap of assuming that just because you know how to be irrational you can't know how to be rational. 

 

More importantly, don't fall into the trap of assuming that rationality is who you are, because, I have news for you - rational thought is the last thing to come on line on an evolutionary scale, and the first thing to go when you are stressed.  Rational thought is one of the tricks that we do to survive.  Most of us are not even that good at it, and if we are good at it, it is because we learned to be good at it, not because we were born good at it.  Rational thought is something humans do.  It is not who we are.

 

Human beings use stories to decide who we are.  This will be true as long as there are humans.  The other side is using this truth, whether we consider it irrational or not.  There is a reason why we are so few and they are so many.

 

Personally, I just want people to learn to question their beliefs. Social, moral and political transformation is bound to come out of that one simple insight.  If they learn how to let go of that apple, that's good enough for me.


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 Susac, you're the

 Susac, you're the authority on this, so let me ask you if what I'm thinking is approximately correct.  Here's my opinion:   Hypnosis has been mythologized so much that very few people recognize that it's not magic -- it's just our instincts kicking in.  That is, we are pattern recognizing computers, and we have built in instinctual reactions to certain kinds of patterns.  If we see something that looks like a tiger in the tall grass, our heart races and we get a rush of adrenaline.  It's not a conscious action.  It just happens.  In the same way, language creates patterns that elicit their own automatic responses in humans.  When we knowingly use these patterns to try to manipulate a person's state of mind, we are actively using hypnosis, but these things happen all the time quite unwittingly.  All advertising is a form of hypnosis, from a certain point of view.

Essentially, when I think of hypnosis, I'm thinking of how patterns of images and language create automatic "state changes" in the human brain.

Am I on approximately the right track?

 

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Susac wrote:Hambydammit

Susac wrote:

Hambydammit wrote:

 

Damn you, man... you have made me rethink my own book project...

 

 

Woot!

 

 

Brian, I think that you don't understand how hypnosis works.  You can't use it to program people to do things that are against their core values, and you can't use it to turn people into robots.  What you CAN use it to do is to create a psychological aversion to holding certain states of mind.  So for instance there are about 5-7 chapters of Matthew that have a story in which one group of things (wheat, virgins, etc) is selected out of the group, and another group of things (weeds, virgins who forgot the oil for their lamps) is left out and/or burned in the fire.  Each of these passages ends with "and there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

 

What these are are parables which bypass the conscious mind, and speak directly to the unconscious, and they make you WANT to be included in the in-group (who doesn't want to be in the in-group?), and they associate being excluded from the in group with pain and suffering in all it's forms.  The reason this message is repeated over and over is because it programs the reader to:

1)  Want to belong to the in-group of Christ-followers and

2) Feel like shit if you don't.

 

The repetition is a hypnotic induction technique designed to drive the command in as deeply as possible.

 

Then you read this stuff to a 5 year old and expect him to resist?  No WONDER we have so many faith heads in the world!

 

What cued me into this fact was that after reading this book, I woke in the middle of the night filled with anger toward Christan's, and i was literally grinding my teeth.  As I tossed and turned, it suddenly occured to me "Oh my god!  I have been programmed by Matthew!  Here was this guy who died 2000 years ago and he was directly influencing my mind with this hypnotic induction!  The reason I was angry and was tossing and turning is because I was fighting the programming (it's against my core values), and the reason I was gnashing my teeth was because I had been programmed to do so!

 

So this is what we are up against as rationalists.  We are up against 2000 years of hypnotic induction that have organically grown and blossomed into a whole culture and theology.  This is the mechanism by which these beliefs have taken on a life of their own and have played themselves out across the generations.  Sam Harris said "We are literally held hostage by literature."  This is HOW we are held hostage by literature.  These are the chains.

 

So if we want to break these chains for ourselves and for the people who we love, we are going to have to learn how to use the unconscious mind to reprogram itself.  This is not about creating an alternate cult.  This is about setting loose cognitive programs in the meme-scape that will counteract the enslavement programs of religion.  It's a very deep project, and if done right, it will also play out over the generations.

 

It seems to me that the best counter program/virus one could launch would be one that helps people to become more aware of how they are programmed by parables!

 

So give it a try.  Write some parables.   Make them about awareness, rationality and freeing your mind.  It's ok.  Think of it as advertising.

I am going to be quite blunt with you, just like I am with other atheists who falsely claim that the transporter is a possible reality.

I do not, nor have I ever liked the word "hypnosis".

If you want to say that repetitive therapy works, then simply call it repeditive therapy. There are trained phycologists and phychirtists that deal with deprogramming delusional people, and do it without using the word "hypnosis".

I agree that young minds are gullible and programable, and is why most of us as kids, at least for a while, litterally believed that Santa is real, and why gullible kids end up believing in the magic of Jesus or the existance of Allah.

I also  believe that "hypnosis" is anything more than appearing to work because the person who is subjecting themselves to it, succumbs to it, because they want to and is merely nothing but a placebo as a result of "power of suggestion".

NOW,

Repitition does work, that part I agree with, but does not need the mytholical word "hypnosis" to state the obvious.

If I keep repeating, "Coke tastes like shit. Take a bong hit" and do it over and over, someone might repeat it.

Songs in pop culture are not "hypnosis", but they do use rhythm and repetition.

Mind you, don't be too harsh on me for objecting to "hypnosis", which I have never found credible. I also poo pooed Dawkin's "meme theory" untill Bob Spense explained it to me. But I would not put "hypnosis" in the same catigory.

To me, "hypnosis" as a word, is much like someone claiming that the Ancient word "atom" as it was used back then ment that those people knew about protons, electrons and neutrons.

Whatever works, and you have pointed out lagit observations of human behaivor, does not need to be attached to such a stage act word rooted in Las Vegas myth.

NOW, remember that I am no expert. But if "hypnosis" were really lagit, why is it not in biology textbooks in highschool?

Repitition is a conditional tool, just like doing push ups will build muscle, just like Coke keeps reminding you that you have the oportunity to consume their product.

BUT, I have always seen "hypnosis" as in the same catigory as alchemy. Whatever tangential observations one can make like "the sky is blue" should not be replaced with gap explinations.

I am not trying to be mean to you, because alot of your observations make sense, I simply don't like "hypnosis" as a word because of it's association with scams and stage acts.

I perfure "illusionist" over "magician". I have never seen "hypnosis" as anything more than a pacebo illusion.

 

 

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 Brian, music is hypnotic.

 Brian, music is hypnotic.  That's not speculation.  It's science.  I'm reminded of a study several years ago in which students performed better at math while listening to Mozart -- whether they personally liked Mozart or not!  The fact is, Mozart's music creates a physiological change in the listener, whether they want it to happen or not.  Furthermore, we can predict the physiological changes in a person listening to various types of music, again, regardless of personal preference.  The bottom line is, regardless of your feelings about music, it creates predictable, unconscious, physiological changes in you when you hear it.  For more on this, you should read Richard Dawkins' account of how birdsong literally hypnotizes females and changes their attitude towards mating.

I'm not a fan of the word hypnosis, either, but not because it doesn't exist -- rather, people understand it even less than evolution, and that's saying a lot.  We are stimulus response machines, and there are lots of unconscious changes that can be brought about in humans by manipulating external stimuli.  Call it Chocolate Milk Therapy if you like, but anyone who's ever taken a sales seminar and then put the techniques into practice realizes that you absolutely can change people's behaviors and beliefs by manipulating their environment.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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I hope I am not offending

I hope I am not offending anyone by my bluntness.

I simply see "hypnosis" as a placebo sugar pill that seems to work only because the person wants it to work, when the reality is that they did it themselves fooling themselves that it actually worked.

I once visited my sister and she gave me beer to drink with my dinner. By the third one I was "feeling it". But, that all stopped when she showed me that it was non-alcoholic beer, and I sobered up quite suddenly.

Our minds can be easly fooled, even brainy people like us. We are all still subject to the same human flaw of filling in the gaps. The key to avoiding this, is not to expect it never to happen, it will, but the willingness to question.

 

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Quote:Brian, music is

Quote:
Brian, music is hypnotic.  That's not speculation.  It's science.

Where did I say music cannot have an effect? I am well aware of studies that say if you expose a fetus to classical music it can have a neurological effect on it.

I simply don't like using old language when describing modern science.

Las Vegas's gambling establisments study colors and images and how people respond to them to market their establisments. I don't deny it works.

I simply dont like "hypnotic" as a word where "repitition and rhythm" sufice. It reminds me of B-movies where someone is swinging a watch in front of you in order to get you to kill someone.

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 Quote:I simply dont like

 

Quote:
I simply dont like "hypnotic" as a word where "repitition and rhythm" sufice. It reminds me of B-movies where someone is swinging a watch in front of you in order to get you to kill someone.

The problem is that it's not just repetition and rhythm.  Those are but two very small parts of the whole picture.  Maybe we can call it something like pattern dynamics?  I dunno.  I agree that the word 'hypnosis' is laden with woo-woo, but evolution is completely misunderstood by about 90% of the public, and we aren't calling for a new word.  I guess the other side of that coin is that hypnosis has never (to my knowledge) had a consensus definition within the scientific community.  Am I wrong in saying that, Susac?

In any case, to the point of the OP, I can't think of a single reason not to use methods of communication that make the reader/listener more receptive to the ideas being presented.  Saying the opposite is like saying that we should discourage people from being rationalists.  The point is not that using parables or patterns of language will "trick" people into leaving religion.  It's that the most effective presentation is one that begins at the subconscious level and ends at the conscious rational level.  If people are predisposed to want to be accepted by rationalists, the job of convincing them rationally to join us becomes that much easier.

 

 

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Hambydammit wrote: Quote:I

Hambydammit wrote:

 

Quote:
I simply dont like "hypnotic" as a word where "repitition and rhythm" sufice. It reminds me of B-movies where someone is swinging a watch in front of you in order to get you to kill someone.

The problem is that it's not just repetition and rhythm.  Those are but two very small parts of the whole picture.  Maybe we can call it something like pattern dynamics?  I dunno.  I agree that the word 'hypnosis' is laden with woo-woo, but evolution is completely misunderstood by about 90% of the public, and we aren't calling for a new word.  I guess the other side of that coin is that hypnosis has never (to my knowledge) had a consensus definition within the scientific community.  Am I wrong in saying that, Susac?

In any case, to the point of the OP, I can't think of a single reason not to use methods of communication that make the reader/listener more receptive to the ideas being presented.  Saying the opposite is like saying that we should discourage people from being rationalists.  The point is not that using parables or patterns of language will "trick" people into leaving religion.  It's that the most effective presentation is one that begins at the subconscious level and ends at the conscious rational level.  If people are predisposed to want to be accepted by rationalists, the job of convincing them rationally to join us becomes that much easier.

 

 

Quote:
maybe we can call it something like pattern dynamics?

I like that. It is consistant with weight lifting. If you repeat a pattern you can replicate a result.

It is ironic that I am commenting on this right now, and not to distract from this issue, but Bob Spense and I were disscussing Harris and his affinity to "spirituality" and "meditation".

I equate "spirituality" to a natural "sense of awe" which does not contain the hocus pocus baggage that "spirituality" started out in.

I also see "meditation" that could be better described in more natural terms as "deep introspection and relaxation through deliberate cognition".

My problem is not advancement in human understanding. My problem is that instead of using modern language, we tend to try to use old language and re define it. I know language cant pop out of nowhere, but I also see a great need to shed the past.

 

 

 

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Hamby, I think you have my

Hamby, I think you have my meaning exactly.

 

Brian, I think you are getting hung up on the word hypnosis.  That's OK.  Call it whatever you want.  When you criticized hypnosis as a placebo effect, you are actually EXACTLY RIGHT.  Hypnosis is the process of deliberately engineering a placebo effect.  It happens all the time by accident, but a skilled person can do it on purpose.  Heck, when you drank that fake beer and had the placebo effect THAT was hypnosis! 

 

There are aspects of hypnotic induction that are quite amenable to scientific inquiry.  For example, MRI's show that when you imagine a lion chasing you, your galvanic skin responses change, and certain areas of your visual cortex light up, just as if you were seeing a real lion.  This happens automatically beyond our control.

 

While it is true that a lot of ridiculous claims have been made about hypnosis, it is also true that some credible research has been done on the subject.  Also, BECAUSE it is a deliberate manipulation of the placebo effect, stagecraft is PART of hypnosis!  Sometimes the hypnotist WANTS to do a big dramatic presentation because it creates a stronger effect in the client. 

 

Priests do this stuff all the time.  It is literally the business they are in.  The bible is a piece of technology that has been crafted over generations to provide a wide verity of hypnotic inductions for the priest  to use as a part of the stage hypnosis they engaged in.

 

And then all his little trance-zombies go out and vote.

 

What I want to do is to use hypnosis to wake people up to their own programming. 

 

So hypnosis is a tool.  It can be used ethically or un-ethically.  But you can't get rid of it, because it's built into who we are.  It's like saying "rational people should never seduce sex partners!"  Well, you can argue that one way or the other, but you can't get rid of the human vulnerability to seduction, and you also can't get rid of the human motive to seduce.  All you can do is educate people on how to make good choices, and that includes educating them on how their own sexual response systems work - which in turn makes you more skilled at seduction.

 

Does that make sense?


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Susac wrote:Hamby, I think

Susac wrote:

Hamby, I think you have my meaning exactly.

 

Brian, I think you are getting hung up on the word hypnosis.  That's OK.  Call it whatever you want.  When you criticized hypnosis as a placebo effect, you are actually EXACTLY RIGHT.  Hypnosis is the process of deliberately engineering a placebo effect.  It happens all the time by accident, but a skilled person can do it on purpose.  Heck, when you drank that fake beer and had the placebo effect THAT was hypnosis! 

 

There are aspects of hypnotic induction that are quite amenable to scientific inquiry.  For example, MRI's show that when you imagine a lion chasing you, your galvanic skin responses change, and certain areas of your visual cortex light up, just as if you were seeing a real lion.  This happens automatically beyond our control.

 

While it is true that a lot of ridiculous claims have been made about hypnosis, it is also true that some credible research has been done on the subject.  Also, BECAUSE it is a deliberate manipulation of the placebo effect, stagecraft is PART of hypnosis!  Sometimes the hypnotist WANTS to do a big dramatic presentation because it creates a stronger effect in the client. 

 

Priests do this stuff all the time.  It is literally the business they are in.  The bible is a piece of technology that has been crafted over generations to provide a wide verity of hypnotic inductions for the priest  to use as a part of the stage hypnosis they engaged in.

 

And then all his little trance-zombies go out and vote.

 

What I want to do is to use hypnosis to wake people up to their own programming. 

 

So hypnosis is a tool.  It can be used ethically or un-ethically.  But you can't get rid of it, because it's built into who we are.  It's like saying "rational people should never seduce sex partners!"  Well, you can argue that one way or the other, but you can't get rid of the human vulnerability to seduction, and you also can't get rid of the human motive to seduce.  All you can do is educate people on how to make good choices, and that includes educating them on how their own sexual response systems work - which in turn makes you more skilled at seduction.

 

Does that make sense?

I know I am right. I know I am right. I know I am right. I know I am right. I know I am right. I know I am right. I know I am right. I know I am right.

Now call it something else. Now call it something else. Now call it something else. Now call it something else. Now call it something else.

Pink unicorns are real. Pink unicorns are real. Pink unicorns are real. Pink unicorns are real. Pink unicorns are real.

Do you want to punch me? Do you want to punch me? Do you want to punch me? Do you want to punch me? Do you want to punch me? Do you want to punch me?

Less filling, tastes great. Less filling. Tastes great. Less filling. Tastes great.

Please don't hurt me. Please don't hurt me. Please don't hurt me. Please don't hurt me. Please don't hurt me. Please don't hurt me.

I like shiney objects. I like shiney objects. I like shiney objects. I like shiney objects. I like shiney objects. I like shiney objects. I like shiney objects.

(END SILLYNESS)

 

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That would be an example of

That would be an example of a poorly crafted hypnotic induction.


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Susac wrote:That would be an

Susac wrote:

That would be an example of a poorly crafted hypnotic induction.

What are you trying to say? What are you trying to say? What are you trying to say? What are you trying to say? What are you trying to say? What are you trying to say? What are you trying to say?

Great, now I have carple tunnel! Great, now I have carple tunnel! Great, now I have carple tunnel! Great, now I have carple tunnel! Great, now I have carple tunnel!

Are you happy now? Are you happy now? Are you happy now? Are you happy now? Are you happy now? Are you happy now? Are you happy now?

I want my mommy! I want my mommy!.......ect ect ect......

I am just trying to get laughs here, but I am sure the crickets are mooning me at this point.

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I am inclined to see Brian's

I am inclined to see Brian's point - 'hypnosis' is a word with a lot of baggage attached, which involves a number of somewhat disparate claims and phenomena, which we now have much better understanding of than when they were originally discovered or utilized by the practitioners of hypnosis. I think the original 'theories' behind hypnosis are hopelessly obsolete.

I can only remember one specific attempt by someone to hypnotise me, with consent, but, AFAIK ( ), there was no effect.

 EDIT:

That said, I do see the point of coming up with more narrative style arguments to help get our points across, such things often, probably almost always, make more impression on people not used to more 'philosophical or scientific style discussions,

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Nice!

I dont think atheism needs parables, but that was still a very nice story, Susac Smiling

And to be honest, there is a story I tell from time to time to Christians, especially when they harp on and on about Expeled:

"One day, David Berlinsky wanted to go to the supermarket. It was raining cats and dogs that day, but Berlinski went outside without a coat or an umbrella.

Why did he do that, one wonders? Well, because he is one very, very clever fellow, of course! Berlinski knew how much skyb there is, and how small a drop of rain is. He assigned a value to both of those factors, and then calculated how big the odds would be, for any single random drop of rain, to hit him. The odds, he concluded, were not just small, but small enough for it to be nearly impossible.

Then he calculated the odds of multiple random drops of rain to hit him. The resulting number was simply ridiculously low; the chance of him being hit by enough drops of rain to actually become wet, finally, he determined to be, for all intents and purposes, zero.

When he arrived at the supermarket, he was soaking, soaking wet, and very miserable. But he was also very impressed, since he KNEW that he had just witnessed an act of God: so many drops of rain falling exactly where he, David Berlinski, was walking! Surely, what else could that be but a miracle!"

----

Ok, not very strong, storywise, but I díd get my point across a couple of times Eye-wink


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Well Susac, I am

Well Susac, I am inclined to like your premise. I would however want to modify some of what you are doing to go with more of my experience. Since your idea is a project that could take quite a long time to play out, I suspect that you would be fine with that as it depends on the intentional creation of powerful memes. The more of us who are doing that, the better.

 

Let me take your story as an example. Let's take out the hunter who put the apple into the hole and replace it with something like the following:

 

“One day, a monkey was collecting apples under a tree. Most of them had been sitting on the ground for at least a day and had begun to rot on the underside. Then a nice fresh apple fell from the tree right in the monkey's sight. As luck would have it, it fell into a nook between two of the tree's roots.”

 

Past that, the story if fine. All that I did was remove the hunter (which was a bit of a Mac Guffin anyway) and replace him with a natural occurrence. Heck but the hunter did nothing in the story except possibly be a set-up for and unseen superior being who sets traps for the unwary. If you want your audience to reject the magical invisible man in the sky, then why put a metaphor for the same character into the story as a real element? Leave it as a natural occurrence that can only be solved by logical thought and you have a better story (IMNSHO anyway).

 

Anyway, if we take some fairly simple ideas that can easily mesh with common experiences and build stories around them, we can craft some useful tales. One that comes to mind is the story of Archimedes and the bathtub. That story is itself apocryphal but if it was true, then only by clear thinking was the goldsmith's life saved from execution.

 

I am not going to bother typing it out here but the basic idea should be reasonable for any child who is old enough to fill the bathtub on his own. For a somewhat older child, we could tell narratives that are somewhat longer, provided that they are grounded in reality. Building on there, you could probably phase out the parables as a student gains the basic framework of critical thinking.

 

Although, Brian does raise a real concern here. As we get more people writing the material, we would have to be vigilant of the danger of just writing stories that fail to discourage magical thinking. Heck but just look around and there is not loss of people who lack the religious memes but still have the magical thinking ones. Vague “new age” crap, moon landing hoax stuff and the like can still develop in people if they don't learn how to tell what is real from what is clearly not.

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love it!

Yearav - loved it!  Illustrates the stupidness quite nicely!

 

 AiG - I sort of view the hunter as the clergy if anyone asks.  


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BobSpence1 wrote:IThat said,

BobSpence1 wrote:

IThat said, I do see the point of coming up with more narrative style arguments to help get our points across, such things often, probably almost always, make more impression on people not used to more 'philosophical or scientific style discussions,

 

OK, so what are the primary arguements that we athiests tend to use?

 

Here are a few off the top of my head:

 

"Don't go believing in propositions for which there is no evidence"

 

"I feel God's presence in my heart" is not an arguement (I like to point out that with hypnosis I can make you feel that the truth of your heart is that you are a chicken - but there's that word again).

 

You can be fooled, and you can even fool yourself.

 

Revelation is not a valid source of knowledge.

 

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Susac wrote: AiG - I

Susac wrote:
AiG - I sort of view the hunter as the clergy if anyone asks.

 

You can do that if you want to. The hunter is still a Mac Guffin though. I like my version and I will keep it. May the better meme win. In any case I was not thinking about what arguments we can distill down so much as your idea that there is an in group and an out group. Then make short stories about how being on the in group is the winning side and being on the out group is the loosing one.

 

I am working on one but it is still kind of raw. Even so, let me give you what I have and see what you think.

 

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

 

A long time ago there was a prince who ruled over his land. He was a wise and generous ruler who shared his good fortune with his people. As it happens he had an apple orchard that produced the best apples around and they brought the highest prices at the national market.

 

Now after one particularly hard winter the spring thaw washed out the main bridge to the capital and the prince knew that if he was going to get the apples to market that fall, he would have to build an new bridge over the summer.

 

Not knowing much about how to build a bridge he approaches one of the learned scholars in town for advice. The problem being that the more trees that are cut down the fewer trees there will be to bring more wealth to his people.

 

If he cut down too many trees, the people would be less prosperous for the many years that it takes for new trees to grow. However if he cut down too few trees at first he would not be able to build the bridge in one act and all the lumber might float away down stream. So he needed the learned scholar to tell him how much wood will be needed to build the bridge.

 

As it happens, the scholar knew a way to measure how wide the river is through some simple geometry. Bringing his tools to the job site, he mad a right angle on a table, put two nails on one side of the angle and sighted out a tree on the far side of the river. Then he sighted a second tree from one nail and placed a third nail on that line to make a triangle.

 

With only that table with the three nails and a bit of simple geometry, the learned scholar was able to determine how wide the river was. By the fall harvest, the bridge had been built and the most apples possible could be brought to market.

 

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

 

As I say, the story is needs work to become a parable. Even so, the moral would be that people who pay attention in school can do wonderful things that are good for the community.

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Forgive me for asking but

Forgive me for asking but what are "classical ethics" and - more importantly - what the fuck has the rubbish attributed to a Matthew got to do with them?

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Classical Ethics

classical ethics is about the ethical writings that were writ en during the "classical age" that is the age of Plato, Aristotle, Moses and jeebus.  Matthew is included (as well as Deuteronomy) because these are documents from the "classical" time period that included people's ideas about what is and isn't ethical.

 

This is why the course includes Matthew and Deuteronomy, because of the sermon on the mount and the 10 commandments respectively - they constitute ethical codes from the classical period.  We will also be studying Confucius and Buddhism.

 

It's actually been a pretty cool class so far - while we stay away from truth claims of the bible, I have mentioned that Genesis is a work of mythology, and that if god is defined in terms of "absolute goodness" then he must not have free will.  These ideas were well received by the instructor, but some of theologians in the class seemed to bristle a bit.

 

Tee hee.

 

I am currently working on a doctorate in organizational leadership at Gonzaga University.  It's a Jesuit school, so I'm a little nervous about being an atheist in a catholic school.  They have Muslims and Hindus there, so they definitely have a multicultural agenda, but the classes have steered clear of direct debate about theology.  This is appropriate though - if I wanted to I'm sure I could find a class on the subject, but I'm trying to get my core requirements out of the way.

 

I must say, it is interesting to read about the ethical logic of the bible.  There are actually some pretty good points in there.  Of course, we don't really get into things like "if your son is a drunk you should kill him at the city gates."  The class is more about approaches to deciding what is ethical, less about the conclusions reached.  I'm sure my teacher doesn't want it to degenerate into a "but god said so" shouting match.  I've only had 2 classes so far, so I'm not sure where he is going with some of this stuff.


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Thanks for the explanation,

Thanks for the explanation, susac.

 

The bible sounds like a lousy starting point for any intelligent analysis of ethical logic in the "classical" age given its inconsistencies and lack of provenance. The anal-retentive restrictionary ethics of Leviticus, for example, formulated and coded by a group of men who saw themselves as core members of society whose deliberations translated automatically into general law contrast so completely with those of the messianic cults in the new testament who, by definition, saw themselves as fringe actors hoping rather than expecting to influence the population and whose motivation to invent Jesus originated in a brand of "liberation theology" which would have had Leviticus's priest-authiors foaming at the mouth. It's a real mish-mash of ideological stances over a very long period and with a strongly hellenic editing bias in its later inclusions.

 

A very inferior product when compared to the output of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle which at least has a consistent flow in its development and an obvious intelligence about it. Intelligence in the bible on the other hand is sporadic at best and never held as a virtue by its authors.

 

Good luck with the Jesuits. Their tactic these days is to act all inclusively and then save the "sting" for the end.

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Nordmann wrote:Good luck

Nordmann wrote:

Good luck with the Jesuits. Their tactic these days is to act all inclusively and then save the "sting" for the end.

 

That sounds ominous.  Could you elaborate?


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Quote:I like your hypnosis

Quote:
I like your hypnosis theory but cannot post in FA.  I was hypnotized on stage once and it was a very surreal experience. I went in thinking its not going to work for me but I'll just play along but it worked quite well. The thing is I knew what I was doing wasn't real but I felt compelled to behave in the suggested ways AS IF it were true. So why don't the religious know it isn't real. Or do they deep down but are compelled to behave as if it were true. You may post this if you wish.

 

JAB sent me this in an e-mail (since he can't post on this forum). 

 

Well, there is hypnosis and then there is hypnosis.

 

Usually when we think of hypnosis we think about a clearly defined specific trance-state that occurs when one person "performs a trance induction" on another person.  This is what you see when you are watching a stage hypnotist and when you are seeing someone swing a watch.   Once the person is in a trance state they usually are very open to suggestion.

 

The thing is that the LANGUAGE of the suggestion matters.  Take the following two phrases:

 

1)  Go into a trance now.

 

2)  How surprised would you be to realize that you can just feel your body relaxing.  NOW. 

 

So the first one is a straightforward directive.  It is understood by the conscious mind as me telling you to do something.  Because your conscious mind is processing it, you have a choice about it.  You can resist it, can't you?

 

But look at the second line.  Did you notice yourself relaxing just a little bit?  Why is that?  Well the phrase ""how surprised would you be to realize" is a lead-in.  The words "surprised" and "realize" are what are called a "trance words" because they prepare your unconscious mind to notice something.  Specifically they prepare you to notice something that suddenly comes into awareness.  Moving experience into awareness is what the unconscious mind does (like noticing how your shoes feel on your feet right now - you didn't notice that until you read it right?)

Then I follow with the phrase "feel your body relaxing." This called an embedded command.  Embedded commands are phrases that are included in a sentence that command you to behave in a certain way, without SEEMING like they are directives.  Notice how I phrased the sentence as a question, but I ended it with a period.  The question nature of the phrase opens your mind to the possibility of understanding.  The period says "this is a command, not a question."   So your body follows directions (we humans like to follow directions), and you relax a little bit.

 

Notice though that this is not about talking you into acting like a chicken or anything obvious like that.  Rather it is about inducing a state of mind in the listener.  It is subtle, but it is also quite reliable for a skilled practitioner.

This is a specific form of hypnosis referred to as Neurolinguistic Programming.  NLP is a style of communication that was discovered in the 60's by a couple of computer programmers who decided to become psychotherapists.  It was widely discredited in the 80's because it didn't offer a well-developed theoretical framework for it's approach, and because it is performance based, it was hard to empirically test it's claims.  Note however that modern neuroscience is starting to provide new insights into the way the brain processes information that closely parallel the cannon of NLP.

 

So here is what I'm thinking.  Matthew was probably a person who believed in the holy nature of the teachings (whether he believed in the actual story or not).  He was using NLP to capture and lead the imagination of the reader so that the reader would accept the moral teachings he was laying down, practice them in real life and feel compelled to do so at fear of eternal torture.  A highly superstitious person (most people) would internalize the teachings and feel compelled to join the in-group of Christans.  The character of Jesus is a metaphor for the boundless life force of the universe.  This is clear in the miracles.  He feeds you, he heals you, he brings you back to life.  He can also wither fig trees - this shows that he has complete command over the life force of the universe.  He rebukes Sadducee's (atheists) and Phrases.  He brings life and bounty wherever he goes.

Now look at the role of water in the story - water is  a metaphor for the unconscious mind - it forms the boundary between the conscious and the unconscious.  It is also the source of all life.  So what does he do?  First he talks to two fishermen.  The fishermen are the part of the unconscious mind that bring things from the unconscious into the conscious mind (casting nets upon the waters).  Next he talks to two more fishermen, but these are in a boat with their father.  Thus they are the part of the mind that is concerned with authority (the father) but that is supported by the unconscious (the boat).  What do all 4 men do?  They drop what they are doing and follow him!  This is an embedded command.  It tells the reader to attach the parts of the mind that deal with the unconcious and that deal with authoity to attach to the character of Jesus. 

Later he commands the elements and he walks on water - this is a symbol once again.  Jesus is supported by the unconscious mind of the reader.  He then invites an apostle to walk on water with him (be supported by your unconscious mind), and he sinks - "Oh yea of little faith" programs the reader to accept that adopting the author's program is the way to access the power of life.

 

Then what happens?  Jesus gets betrayed tortured and killed.  By the time he says "my god, my god why have you forsaken me" the reader is saying "NOOOO!  DON'T TAKE AWAY THE LIFE FORCE OF THE UNIVERSE!!!!  This is the most powerful take-away sales technique in the history of mankind.  It is the foundation of all of Christendom.

 

But it's all one big mind fuck.

 

I hope that answers your question.


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I like your approach, Susac.

I like your approach, Susac. I've always maintained the whole christianity thing (the whole religion thing actually) is just one big celebration of the ability shared by some people to sell other people their own shit back to them. It's all technique without any solid foundation of truth on which it can honestly claim to be constructed. In fact it's one of the most morally reprehensible forms of scam I know of.

 

My own Jesuit experience was on a computer science course in Xavier, Cincinnati. I was ex-campus so managed to remain aloof from most of the "campus life" type activities until we reached a point where we were split up into small project groups which met under the auspices of the Learning Assistance Office. As far as I know I had kept my views on religion to myself up to then - the course, facilities and tutoring were excellent, by the way, and I'd recommend the place to anyone interested in an Arts&Science degree - and I just knuckled down and got on with the study. Unlike the rest of the students in my class I was only doing a three month stint at the end of their two year course so it was quite an intensive learning procedure.

 

The project group atmosphere however was less formal and intense and I actually became a little worried that two of the group were perhaps relaxing a little too much and impacting on the other three of us with their constant deviations into non-course conversation and other distractions but, being polite and convinced that I could sustain my own momentum anyway, I let them natter on.

 

It had confused me also that one of these students wasn't from our class but I just reckoned it was down to some admin policy or another such banal reason.

 

With time ticking away however I began to get a little more assertive and one evening quizzed her on why she seemed to fail to see that her deviations from the group's agenda were holding everyone back. Her response surprised me. She asked to discuss it privately with me afterwards, and in a serious manner too which precluded suspicions that she might just be angling for a date.

 

The subsequent "conversation" startled me. It centred on my need, according to her, to embrace the church and abandon my path away from the light, yadda yadda yadda. Afterwards I learnt from a classmate that a similar thing had happened in his group and with a similarly "outside" student who had been put into their company by "someone" on high. Then I enquired and found out that almost all the groups on our course had each also inherited a cuckoo in the nest too. I challenged our own cuckoo to come clean in front of the rest of the group at our next meeting and we got a rather reticent explanation (it had to be dragged out of her) that she represented a student society which took it upon itself to evaluate the "spiritual" deficits exhibited by colleagues and use opportunities such as study groups and the like to zero in on potential heathens etc.

 

But that wasn't all. This little coterie of proselytizers had obviously also managed to receive assistance from the course administrators (how else could they have ensured a "spread" over several groups) but on this point she was completely unyielding in her refusal to admit it was true. I took it to my tutor in any case, thinking he would be equally aghast to hear that religious nuts were trying to hold back and divert his students, only to receive a shrug and a "well you knew it was a Jesuit college when you enrolled (actually my firm enrolled me, but he was basically right even if his implied logic and ethical stance was way rotten). End of conversation, in any case.

 

The experience didn't quite ruin the wholly favourable impression I had of the college. I'm serious when I say that I really recommend its Science courses. But I can't help feeling a little sad for them - that they should potentially screw up something so fine that they themselves have founded with their petty, devious and misguided attempts to insinuate stupidity into an otherwise intelligent venture. What a waste of intellect!

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My two cents: Genius. I've

My two cents: Genius.

 

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: The more weapons and variety of weapons we use, the easier will be the victory. And this could be one hell of a weapon. An insidious and invisible weapon that could even be spread by the enemy without their knowledge. Absolutely brilliant.

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Does that apple

Represent a god?


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crackpot hypnosis

One has to ask what kind of "board" certifies fellow crackpots.


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One_week_ago wrote:One has

One_week_ago wrote:

One has to ask what kind of "board" certifies fellow crackpots.

 

You know, it's really one of the sad things about psychology is that there are a lot of crackpots out there, many of whom are not at all educated, but who are using the field of psychology as a cover for their con games.

 

This sort of attitude is one of the natural consequences of these flim-flam artists.

 

That said, gullibility, suggestibility and trance states ARE real psychological processes and as such they really are subject to scientific study, in the same way that grief, remorse and dogmatism are.  So how does one study them without being called a "crackpot?"

 

In fact, there actually is a lot of good research on these topics, so before you dismiss it I would like to refer you to this link to an American Psychological Association link.

http://books.apa.org/books.cfm?id=4317095

 

 

Now if you still want to dismiss it as a con and a "flim flam," or as placebo effect, that's fine.  But consider this:  Con games, and placebo effects are natural phenomena and as such they are as subject to scientific scrutiny as any other natural phenomena.  In exactly the same way, religion is a natural phenomena that is also subject to scientific scrutiny.  Rather than dismissing these processes, why not study them?

 

I would submit to you that the parables in Matthew are some of the best persuasive fiction ever written.  As evidence for this statement I sight the fact that the church built on this work of fiction is the biggest religion in the world.  There is SOMETHING going on with these stories that make them so universally appealing.  Whatever it is seems to be a natural phenomena worth studying.

 

The "crackpot" field of hypnosis offers a theoretical framework for explaining this phenomena.  I do not doubt that there is much about hypnosis that will be disproven by more advanced theories on neurology and cognitive psychology, but since we do have this body of work that is well developed on the subject of mental manipulation and persuasion, why not at least use it as a starting point for understanding how religion works?