Palinopsia—The Aftertaste of Imagery

How religion and politics control the point of focus and at odds with reality

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The human brain is a fascinating organ, but is very susceptible to input based on your output (what you already think you know). We see what we are programmed to see, what we expect to see, often seeing what is not there at all. The quirks of human perception must be understood before one decides where they stand—on any subject. Palinopsia is when you see that residual image after you remove the original from view. Most of us have seen these demonstrations at one point or another where you stare intently at an ink blot or photo, then take it away and close your eyes. The image reappears.

Below is the checkerboard illusion. Look at squares A and B. They are in fact the same shade of grey, but your preconditioned expectation of what the checkerboard looks like, will not even allow you spot see it correctly, even when it’s pointed out to you.

Look closely. Your brain is playing a trick on you, but the puzzle is cleverly designed to do just that. Here below, a strip in the same color is laid between the two squares. This bridge confirms the illusion, but look at the top pic again and the trick remains.

This is just the tip of the neurological iceberg when it comes to perception.

“Attention is what steers your perception, it’s what controls your reality, it’s the gateway to the mind. If you don’t attend to something, you can’t be aware of it”—Apollo Robbins, The Art of Misderection (9 min TED)

But if you only attend to it, you miss the best of reality—Enter religion

Christianity and Islam demand all your attention, all your devotion “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might—not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord”

My attention today is to open your mind to the possibility that that focus is a misdirection. A hijacking of your self empowered life.

Brainwashing or Conversion?

How tools to manipulate self are inherent to conversion.

I recently read a blog where a woman was asking the audience if she should join Islam, the religion of her boyfriend of six years—his family didn’t know she was an infidel, and they were scheduled to meet the parents in a few weeks. Should she join with the Muslim faith to appease her boyfriend? I reviewed these steps to religious conversion after posting my reply.

In no precise order, and often overlapping:

1. New Identity—Although not always mandatory, a name change is required if her given name was an affront to Islam (Christina) It is common in many religions to assume a new name after conversion. Catholics, muslims, mormon, Hindus, and more. If no new name is officially or ritually given, aligning with the group is done voluntarily. Christian, Catholic, Muslim, Mormon, etc. Giving up your old identity and assuming a new, is just part of the program.

2. Guilt—You are bad. You are born a fallen sinner. Your sin is so grievous in fact, is as though your sin is driving the nails in Jesus’ hands and feet. As a sinner you are eternally separated from the presence of god. Your body is a temple that you have defiled with the ways of the world. You continue to make the lord suffer by your disobedience. He loves you.

3. Self-betrayal—Agree with me that you are bad. Once the prospect agrees that they are worthless without god, they can begin to see their own dilemma before the lord—not a highly evolved organism, but a child of god. Don’t you know what you are? You want to come from monkeys?

4. Breaking point—I am a sinner. I am not a good person nor could I possibly live a peaceful life knowing I am worthless. I need to be saved.

5. Leniency—You can be forgiven of all your sins if you simply believe, confess your sins, repent and be baptized. You want to be forgiven, don’t you? You want to return to god.

6. Compulsion to confess—Confess your sins, often to a clergy member, or authority. I am a sinner lord.

7. Channeling of guilt—the investigators guilt has lost all meaning—he’s not sure what he has done wrong, he just knows he is wrong. Things he didn’t know were wrong, are now wrong. This confusion creates something of a blank slate that lets the teacher fill in the blanks.

8. Releasing of guiltIt’s not me; it’s my beliefs. The embattled soul is relieved to learn there is an external cause of his wrongness, that it is not he himself that is inescapably bad—he was born this way because of the act of another. This means he can escape his wrongness by escaping the wrong belief system, or lack of one. All he has to do is denounce the people and institutions associated with that belief system, and he won’t suffer guilt anymore. The investigator has the power to release himself from wrongness by abandoning his old belief system. With his full confessions, the convert has completed his psychological rejection of his former identity. It is now up to the teacher to offer the prospect a new one. Scapgoating…placing your burdens on another to make you whole. Relief and salvation. I am saved, and I will now be a faithful follower.

9. Progress and harmony—Friendships and alliances form. New family, friends, phrases, I belong here. This is good. Backslapping, hugs and joy. You’re in!

10. Final confession and rebirthI choose good. Contrasting the agony of the old with the peacefulness of the new, the convert chooses the new identity, clinging to it like a life preserver. He rejects his old or non-belief system and pledges allegiance to the new one that is going to make his life better. At this final stage, there are often rituals or ceremonies to induct the converted target into his new community. This stage has been described by some brainwashing victims as a feeling of “rebirth.”

You may have guessed by now, but these are not conversion tactics listed in the numbered headings, but brainwashing techniques discovered by Robert J Lifton used on POWs in N Korean and Chinese camps. Conversion merely follows the same steps.

Here is one version of the sinners prayer. Don’t worry, I’m not fooling you into salvation…but it contains the elements.

Dear God, I know that I am a sinner and there is nothing that I can do to save myself. I confess my complete helplessness to forgive my own sin or to work my way to heaven. At this moment I trust Christ alone as the One who bore my sin when He died on the cross. I believe that He did all that will ever be necessary for me to stand in your holy presence. I thank you that Christ was raised from the dead as a guarantee of my own resurrection. As best as I can, I now transfer my trust to Him. I am grateful that He has promised to receive me despite my many sins and failures. Father, I take you at your word. I thank you that I can face death now that you are my Savior. Thank you for the assurance that you will walk with me through the deep valley. Thank you for hearing this prayer. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Measuring Prayer—A Model in Physics

Outcomes of prayer—where are they now?

In physics observable is defined as something that can be measured. The basic realities in life also can be measured. Outcomes can be predicted based on experience, consensus, repeatability, and yes, our eyes (usually). Only what a person can observe, measure, and demonstrate can be deemed as truth.

We all know the commutative law—take two numbers x and y. Multiply them and you can see that xy = yx. Always, no exception. But not so fast in quantum mechanics. If A and B are two matrices, then AB is not always equal to BA. Thus you cannot simultaneously determine the position and momentum of a particle. Both are incompatible (strange, but that’s how it is) and harnessing this discrepancy is leading to quantum computers, where you can watch it work even though it’s hard to understand how or why (even for physicists).

This is where religion steps in. Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle is foundational to matrix mechanics and where religion gets its primordial root in the prehistoric, basic operations of the quantum world. A sort of…subtle inheritance from our humble, elemental beginnings. Immeasurable, unverifiable, always changing positions of electrons doctrine, faith, and prayer. But now, not by defining particle behavior, but by splitting hairs.

Outcomes of prayer and faith cannot be predicted based on faith, experience, consensus, or dependability. Therefor, the attempts at faith and prayer is not truth. But, based on the known laws of quantum mechanics we can make a guess to where all those unanswered prayers wound up…waiting, somewhere between time, space, and subjectivity. Quantumly entangled with the prayers sender, but the missing, immeasurable electron (god) needed to complete the circuit has been uninterested, missing, hidden…forever.

Fundamental to understanding unanswered prayer, HERE is a fine new blog I stumbled across that illustrates the point, only better—Say hello to WOG

Galloping Girdie—Built in Flaws

The historic Tacoma Narrows bridge, about an hour away from my old home has a storied, but short history. Lasting only five months after it’s completion in 1940, it collapsed in a 40 MPH wind. The bridge became a case study in frequency vibrations (aeroelastic flutter) that changed bridge engineering forever. It wasn’t necessarily the force of the wind, but the wind at its matching vibration to the bridges natural frequency. WWII interrupted reconstruction, and ten years later the bridge was completed a second time with design flaws corrected.

Correcting the design flaws of religion is taking a bit more time. Monumental collapses in reasoning are shrugged off and reconfigured using the same plans—at will, ignoring religiolastic flutter with the skill only developed by experted faith. Tuning out frequencies and ignoring bends and wobbles, religious professionals deflect contradictory high winds and resonance with a hand-wave. The main reason it survives is the onslaught of new customers, born susceptible and willing to tolerate the wobble only because others have chosen for them to do so.

We can all agree religion is man-made. Like a bridge it claims to safely escort us from here to there, to greener pastures and eternal life in pure bliss—or pure hell. I think I’ll just take the long way home.

2000 years of searching, dead-and-gone promised relief, and still no answers. 1000 year near-monopoly and what has changed for the better? Secular advances in fairness, equality, and laws limiting religious intervention in government.

Now there are two

Racist or a Product of Survival?

How does racism affect you?—A story of my wife.

Am I a racist? For as long as I can remember I have just kept quiet when people vented their hatred of my skin color at me. Being quiet meant being safe in the sense that I’m not allowing the situation to escalate further.

Being spat on and having the people spit on the floor and tell me to eat their mucus as they called me a spic, beaner, wetback amongst other names. Called a dog and chased down hallways at high school, bullied for having brown skin, eyes and hair. Enduring the hate in the eyes of extremists as I help them at the local emergency room. Being overlooked and when noticed, looked down on and dismissed at my local church for being the “Latina” by my “sisters in Christ”. Being spoken down to, spoken over and dismissed while presenting new ideas as I Co-chair a local coalition that is completely Caucasian. I feel like the brown speck in the white chicken crap. Should I shoulder on and stand my ground—or just accept the invitation to join my brothers and sisters at the local Reservation?

I did not understand what my offense was. When I walk out the door at home I don’t check my skin color. I just am—soy yo.

Now I’m older, still have my skin color and ethnicity. Those insults that I endured all my life may have affected me.

I chose to marry and have children with Caucasian men. Divorced by 22, widowed by 36 and finally at peace with final husband. My question is why did/do the men I chose have green eyes, fair skin and light hair? Was I hiding my DNA or an unknowing product of my evolution? Did I want to spare any potential children from enduring what I have lived with?

I’m glad to be who I am. An Asian/Latina with many talents and gifts. I will no longer hold my civil tongue as those who chose to throw venom at me continue their ways.

Treppenwitz der Weltgeschichte

How Christianity is a religion of contradiction…the heart of paradoxical thought

“I can resist anything except temptation“—Oscar Wilde

Some languages just have the right word to explain a host of thoughts that require full sentences. “Treppenwitz is German referring to events or facts that seem to contradict their own background or context. “Treppenwitz der Weltgeschichte” refers to a staircase joke of world history—or the paradox of history. Being an irreligious writer, the next logical step is “Treppenwitz Christentum” or the paradox of Christianity—

While I’ve struggled deciding to use paradox or oxymoron in analyzing religious doctrine, why not use both?

Paradox is just so well laced with religious synonyms. Absurdity, ambiguity, contradiction, enigma, I thought I had enough adjectives to delve into any scripture, including context. But, oxymoron says a lot too. Malapropism, hyperbole, all with the adequate adumbration. Here is my question. I have struggled to find a single biblical verse or religious fact that doesn’t break into pools of irony or sophistic contradiction the moment they are scrutinized—It must be by design. Can you name one or two? “Lord, help my unbelief”—Mark 9:24—Or should I just say, help my unbelief?

The Treppenwitz Christentum is a multifaceted wonder, that is no wonder through the gift of unbelief.

Agua Buena, Tonosi—Panama, en mi casa

Creatio ex Cultus—Sokal Art and Religion

How a ridiculous hoax can change history.

Every act of creation is first an act of destruction—Pablo Picasso

During 1917 Marcel Duchamp entered an upside-down toilet signed, R. Mutt, into an art exhibit. The Society of Independent Artists’ salon in New York—which claimed that they would accept any work of art, so long as the artist paid the application fee. The toilet was initially rejected as a hoax, but then admired, lauded as “groundbreaking”, when the true identity of the artist was discovered. Duchamp’s Sokal style hoax had worked. “Whether Mr Mutt with his own hands made the fountain or not has no importance. He CHOSE it. He took an ordinary article of life, placed it so that its useful significance disappeared under the new title and point of view—created a new thought for that object.” Others who had followed Duchamp’s work closely, recognized the groundbreaking power of the work.

Other comments and editorials—

It also doesn’t mean that we can’t revel in the Unsolved Mystery-like scenario of Fountain’s mysterious disappearance: To this day, no one knows what became of the “original.” We only have 17 copies that Duchamp created in the 1960s“.

The nebulous origins of the fountain only add to its many layers and complexities”.

If the genesis and meaning of fountain remain elusive, it has provided countless artists with something of a starting pistol for the idea of art-as-concept in the 20th century, underscoring the fact that the definition of art itself is up for grabs“.

Enter ontology religion—

Though Cubists began breaking toilets, reassembling, bronzing, and selling them in the style of Picasso, the fact is, because of the Artists name, a new religion of crap/art gained a foothold in monetary value and influence. My guess is the original was put back into use and is once again a toilet. Here’s hoping religion too, finds a useful purpose—a history lesson

Every positive value has its price in negative terms… the genius of Einstein leads to Hiroshima—Pablo Picasso

And the genius of Sir John Harington, and Thomas Crapper leads to art—in the style of religion.