One subject that fascinates me endlessly is the confusion over ‘beliefs’ versus ‘rational thinking.’ Everyone has belief systems. Each one has his or her own individual belief matrix which is how we define and visualize the Real World. No one actually sees and understands this Real World at all since our human cognitive minds interfere tremendously with our ability to perceive things directly. That is, our big, fat brains create our own realities all the time. We are hopelessly mired in our belief systems.
What brings this up today is a story about how some scientists believe that thinking rationally leads to less religious thinking: A look at the kind of thinking that determines how religious we are is interesting only in the charming idea that one can measure this thing with some sort of device or rather, by testing people and scoring them in some way.
A look at the kind of thinking that determines how religious we are The psychology report, published today in the prestigious journal Science, reveals that religious belief drops after subjects perform analytical tasks or are exposed to Rodin’s sculpture The Thinker.
However, UBC social psychologists Will Gervais and Ara Norenzayan insist they are not debunking religion or promoting atheism. Instead, they are trying to figure out the psycho-logical origins of spirituality.
HAHAHA. Funny how these psychologists propose a conclusion but fear of being persecuted by howler monkeys who have faith in something causes them to retract everything they claim! It is like claiming the earth goes around the sun but that shouldn’t be taken at face value since many want the earth to be the center of the universe.
Actually, everyone is deluded all the time. This concept is harsh for humans to accept but it is the Real Reality. The problem for us humans is, we know too much. Animals live in the hear and now and they have pre-programmed lives set in their genetic material that tells them when and how to do things.
Successful animals and plants pass on these instructions in the genetic material to their progeny who then do the same thing with of course, the help of response systems set to react to various events that happen such as predators showing up or avoiding poisoned sources of food, etc. An inability to conform to incoming data leads to not having progeny so we see the results of successful lives lived in the proper genetic-based reaction/propagation systems.
In other words, the fit survive and thrive unless the environment suddenly changes. Then, random chance and mutations suddenly are the survival elements that work. Back to this rather silly story:
The UBC pair began their innovative project by measuring the “pre-experiment” religious convictions of subjects. They asked people to rate on a scale how much their beliefs in such things as God or angels were important to them. Then the subjects were primed to think analytically. They per-formed mathematical computations, answered questions posed in “hard-to-read fonts” and were shown a photo of Rodin’s sculpture of a man in a reflective position.
Although subjects’ levels of commitment to their religious beliefs generally went down after the analytical part of their minds kicked into gear, Gervais said that doesn’t prove religion is irrational.
HAHAHA…watching these poor, ‘rational’ scientists backtrack swiftly is fun, isn’t it? They dare not say that religions are irrational because this would expose them to serious debates. Religions are not about rational or irrational. They are DEFENSE MECHANISMS. Universally, humans need a belief system, a matrix of the mind, a series of boxes and puppets set up to KEEP OUT REALITY.
Keeping out reality is life an death for humans whereas in all other living creatures, it is the opposite. Why is this?
Well, blame our brains. Animals dream at night. Humans dream a great deal. What is different is, the animals forget their dreams and most humans SEEM to forget but in reality, our brains remember the dreams. I remember all my dreams. When I wake up, I have to sort through them so they don’t leak into my waking life and screw up things.
The Dream World is intensely attractive to our minds and we spend at least a quarter of our lives living there and not living in the Reality World that plants and animals inhabit. And worse, our dreams haunt us. All religions as well as all creative artistic work come out of the Dream World. This emphatically includes scientists. If one reads about how many scientists discover their most creative ideas, these are usually expressed first as dreams rather than as hard-dint effort in a lab or at a desk.
Indeed, all the scientists I have ever known and I know a huge number, have said their best thinking is done when they are doing something else the frees up the cognitive part of the mind so that we don’t actively interfere with it. That is, while dreaming or playing music or weeding the garden or fishing…what matters is, letting the rational part of the mind alone so it can do its thing without emotional hysteria.
People who think religion is real, on the other hand, are surrendering to the Dream World. This is done for one very obvious reason: we are literally scared to death. When I have debated the systems that operate in our universe with astronomers, I encounter this very fear which prevents the acolytes who get degrees after agreeing with their teachers, from examining it coldly and analytically.
That is, they are prey to fears of death. Dying eventually by being crushed by a massive influx to some unknown devouring black hold gravitational pool scares the hell out of people. It leads to despair! Infinity anything is preferred to total nothingness. The words hang heavy on the page. Infinity means free forever whereas nothingness means oppression, suppression and annihilation.
Naturally, being living things, we want eternal life, forever happiness and everything our own way whereas the last thing we want is to be crushed to sub-atomic particles in the maw of some grinding gravitational pool of inky darkness! So, to keep from thinking about these things, we devise various tricks to fool ourselves. This is fun, too, except we take it all too seriously and kill and hate each other, our hearts turning to stone and our lusts demanding that nonbelievers be sucked into the inky dark black holes of outer space to die in torment forever! Ha! Teach them to question our choice for ‘reality’!
Perhaps due to being hit more than once by lightning, having flown through the Gates of Death and then flung back into the Living World again, I can see the utility of having religions and I understand why scientists need their own belief systems and it is funny to see humans debate ‘What is Reality’ and ‘What is rational’ when we are the most irrational and unreal creatures in all creation.
Some whales have been known to live for over 300 years as have some trees and some tortoises in the GALOPOULOS islands. I believe we should ask those creatures about rational thinking. We would have to be VERY patient because it will take them a long, long time to answer us. But we can’t wait 100 years for the answer, we are impatient. We want things in the Here and Now, not some distant time in the future.
A funny thing, that. When my 700+ year old oak tree died, I went outside to photograph its death. It waited patiently for me to approach from the west. As I aimed the camera, it suddenly, with no warning, tried to fall on me. Luckily, since I live in the Here and Now somewhat, I ran and evaded being crushed. But my dog ran before me being totally a Here and Now creature and the cats won’t go near the dead tree at all even a year later. They know something…time to watch the cats snooze in the sun some more…might learn something…like their trick for becoming a god thousands of years ago in Egypt.
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