Monday, August 01, 2005

Museum Exhibit: The Spirituality Machine (Part 1)

The name says it all; if you are a spiritual person, you believe in spirits. At the very least, you believe that there is a ghost inside you, manipulating your body the way a puppeteer manipulates a marionette. Beyond that, you might believe that there is a whole host of non-corporeal beings. Some of these ghosts, you might believe, are bigger, badder, and more powerful than your ghost, with nothing better to do than to screw around in your life and pass judgment on your actions. If this wasn’t enough to create a constant state of anxiety, some of you believe that these big bad ghosts will fuck with you for all eternity if you aren’t under the protection of the big good ghosts. (It’s their job!) Where does this concept come from, and how does it gain such wide acceptance despite the acknowledged lack of empirical evidence? It comes from the Spirituality Machine, which constantly reinforces these beliefs within the human mind. How the Spirituality Machine works can be explained by both the similarities to, and the differences between, the human mind and the computer.

The basic similarity is that both the computer and the human mind are capable of receiving instruction (input). In addition, both are capable of receiving instruction without discrimination, or validation of that input. This is the natural state for a computer, and is the cause for the adage, “garbage in, garbage out”. In the human mind, this non-discriminating input state exists when the mind is in a hypnotic, or hypnagogic state. This is evidenced in the “garbage out” state that a hypnotist can create in a subject by planting false but accepted inputs of sight, sound, taste and feeling. If you have never been to a hypnotist stage show, I highly recommend it for the lesson that it teaches about the vulnerability of the human mind.

The hynagogic state is not as wide open as the hypnotic state, but it is possible to hallucinate (garbage out), or to have information fed directly into a primitive portion of the brain without passing through the filter of higher reasoning (garbage in) while in this state. Dimly lit rooms, droning chants, burning candles and incense and closed crowded rooms with reduced oxygen levels, can all be used to help produce a hypnagogic state. Sound familiar? Television also can produce a hypnagogic state. If you are watching television in a darkened room, and become so “zoned in” to what is happening on the screen that you are no longer aware of your surroundings, you are in a hypnagogic state. Perhaps this explains in part the success of televangelists? Because the hypnagogic state is not as open to suggestion as the hypnotic state, repetition is the key to forcing information past the discriminating filters of the brain. Picture a picket fence with pickets placed with just enough space to pass a tennis ball in between. Throw the tennis ball against the fence, and most of the time it will bounce off. Eventually, the ball will slip perfectly through the pickets, but only when it totally avoids touching a picket. The endless repetition of modern advertising will eventually cause a message to slip through and produce a craving for a McDonald’s hamburger, for example.

The same thing might be true for the endless variations of the “evil spirits” and “good spirits” themes in modern movies and television. From the unseen higher powers implied in a show like “Lost”, to the un-killable shitheads like Jason and Freddie, we are constantly barraged with “spirit” scenarios. Even though (I hope) most of us understand these stories to be works of fiction, they might be constantly validating the idea of a spirit world to the darker recesses of our brains.


At 8:15 PM, Blogger Rev. Barky said...

This is why I like films where the characters are just that - where there exists no division apparent between good and evil people. This is one thing that makes the works of Shakespeare so interesting. They are but mere characters festooned with humanity ensnared in an archaic storyline - anon. I find the super hero movies to be the worst - except "The Tick" where doing good often means misdirecting your effort and they actually have credit card debt.

At 8:54 PM, Blogger hashishan prophet said...

Christ/spirit/soul is lying fool contraption of sinister deceivers set on wrecking piece and destroying korean people in a sea of flames --- true truth is found in THETAN notion or JUCHE idea found by Sara Lyara Antichrist (I AM) december 21 1914 I AM antcient of days lo and beholden

Hello. My name is Sara. I am in contact with superior thought pattern from the swirling genital clouds of Cassiopia.

Hello. My name is Ted. I am redeemer/destroyer/expounder, founder of heaven and earth -- I turn sick lies into true thougts.

Hello. My name is Naum. I am ex-military, anti-Nixonian. 1972 my wife and children 'disappeared" and I was put away for twenty. It wasn't me it was Nixonian forces in CIA that forced my wife to undergo plastic surgery live in Brazil last I saw he she didn't rescue I saw my kids near the runway eating ice cream everything was changed we were chased down the river by Indian canoe paid for by CIA I am noe trying to recover my good name.

Behold my trinity nature, very beautiful and holy. I am death I am life. I preach the doctrine of material atheisma and spiritual goddes worship.

I shall place you into my fold in my absolute book of divine mercy 31 of december 2005 -- but you must accept my absolute faith and perform works of love and wickedness in many countrys.

At 7:56 AM, Blogger Kalanchoe542 said...

If I am interpreting what you say correctly, then, you believe that the human spirit is merely the series of nerves and synapses which function by means of chemical messengers, and that's it. Why bother with worrying about what is right or wrong, what is the ethical imperative; what is guilt and obligation but that which has been fed to us in a state of altered awareness? Working on that premise, then maybe we are all fooling ourselves with what we perceive to be emotions. Wouldn't we all be better off realizing that it's so much crap and go off to take care of ourselves? Kind of makes every fucking argument for conscience null and void, eh? Who is John Galt?

At 8:26 AM, Blogger Kalanchoe542 said...

OK, I know I was way to harsh. I guess it came from your not initially specifying that it's the idea of external spirits that is crap. I don't even think of the internal life force as "spirit" as such, but some motive force created from all the electrical activity and whatever gobbledygook that goes on inside the human body that nobody understands. I guess that's what I'll call it - life force. May the force be with you! Nobody knows what's really behind all our stupid notions, and everybody thinks they have the only right idea. I will say without equivocation that I have no idea what drives us. I do know that I don't believe in a fat little man on a throne moving us around with his fingers and controlling things. If such an entity existed, it's for sure that he is one hell of a fucking sadist. I'd rather believe as I do that we are just alone. Maybe that's why friends are so important to most of us. Makes it easier to take the fact that this is it.

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