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Cultural Delusions and the Information Age

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posted on Aug, 12 2012 @ 07:44 PM
So about a week ago, there was a thread here: New Pentagon Weapon to Destroy Religion.

It talks about a Pentagon virus to be spread through a flu vaccine that would target the areas in our brain responsible for propagating religious beliefs. It was going to be used on Muslim countries. Later, it was proven to be a hoax.

It got me thinking about the fact that the way my friends and I think has changed so dramatically over the past few years, in the direction that would be suggested by this vaccine, that I even had a nightmare about this. In my nightmare, there was no freedom and there was no faith. I remember going into a dark alley and asking a cloaked figure "Where is God?" and the figure replied, "God only exists in the past." He was suggesting that I would have to time-travel to find Him.

As a lot of us probably know, Richard Dawkins has gone so far as to call religion delusional. This is based on the idea that religious beliefs are not empirically proven, but based on faith.

One thing that Richard Dawkins fails to understand (and I even e-mailed him about this) is that the main driving force of religion is culture, not belief in God. God just acts as a symbolic representation of the culture in question, be it Muslim, Catholic, Protestant, Eastern Orthodox, Episcopalian (why am I having a hard time remembering this one, it is what I grew up as) or whatever.

One thing that Richard Dawkins also fails to understand is that this same delusional thinking is present in Atheist culture, gay culture, feminist culture (to name a few on the far left), and in politics as liberal culture, conservative culture and even national or regional cultures.

The reason it is considered "delusional" is because it has no basis in empirical evidence. As much as Democrats in America can pretend to base all of their beliefs on science, the truth is, they are beliefs, and our science is not advanced enough for them to be considered anything other than that.

So, in essence, Democrats and Atheists are just as delusional as Christians, etc. (although maybe a little less so).

Let's return to the original subject at hand: the CIA virus that would theoretically eliminate religion (which turned out to be a hoax). Well, does the delivery method really matter? What if something, say the internet and the ability to be connected to facts, combined with its tendency to speed up human thinking processes (especially male) acted as a force doing exactly the same thing?

One thing people don't seem to realize, is that something that targets delusions based on religion would also target cultural delusions, even those present in Feminism, Atheism, Liberalism, etc.

Well, let's take a step back. Although I have no proof that the internet is capable of doing this to the general population, I have reasonable proof that the internet has done this in my life. I have gone from being a linear thinker with high cultural delusions to a spatial thinker with very little. It has given me many headaches.

And the most recent result of it is very interesting. When I have tried to watch the news, be it a conservative or liberal station, I don't understand the people talking and I have to shut it off. Maybe politics in America has become so polarized that both political parties are completely out of touch with normal people?

I used to be really into politics, but now I really don't care. In fact, the only thing I notice about both sides is their tendency to use misdirection and manipulative tactics in order to promote their political agendas, agendas which, by the way, probably aren't the ones they really care about.

So the end result, at least for now, of being freed from delusional thinking (not something I tried to do, and not something I claim to have accomplished completely) is not one which anyone on any particular side would expect (since every side would, by definition, be a delusional perspective on reality, and every side, by definition, would consider its views immune to delusional breakdown).
edit on 12-8-2012 by darkbake because: (no reason given)

edit on 12-8-2012 by darkbake because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 12 2012 @ 08:00 PM
reply to post by darkbake

I enjoyed reading your thread

That's all.
edit on 12-8-2012 by skepticconwatcher because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 12 2012 @ 10:28 PM
I see threads upon threads of these cultural "delusions" running all through history. Tribes teaching their children what the ancestors taught them. Most, if not all of it, limited to narrow repetitive thinking and acting which insured the ability of the tribe to work as a cohesive whole in the unending struggle to survive.

Tribe A teaches A meme, Tribe B teaches B meme, Tribe Green teaches Green meme. In most cases the people of A meme never even HEARD of B meme let alone imagined a Green meme. The information just wasn't available for the most part unless it was couched as evil. Different = evil.

The flood of memetic information available to some of us today is allowing those who can manage it,to emerge from the narrow confines of this ancient pattern of linear thought. What it will lead to is anybodies guess. One thing I can guess though is that the leaders of meme A and meme B and meme Blue can also see this and are not very happy about it.

One other thing though is how do you distinguish between " delusional" and " illusional" thinking?

posted on Aug, 12 2012 @ 11:14 PM
reply to post by darkbake

One thing that Richard Dawkins also fails to understand is that this same delusional thinking is present in Atheist culture, gay culture, feminist culture (to name a few on the far left), and in politics as liberal culture, conservative culture and even national or regional cultures.

Exactly. The same thought process that latches on to the belief that religion is needed, is the same thought process that latches on to the belief that a govt. is needed, or a belief in Atheism is needed. You named a bunch of other good examples too. It seems to be a security blanket of sorts for a fearful mind.

Great thread, really enjoyed it. Thanks!
edit on 12-8-2012 by openlocks because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 13 2012 @ 01:51 AM
Interesting thread, DarkBake. Thanks for posting it.

Pretty much every culture in history has some kind of religion, I believe. There may be exceptions but if there are I am drawing a blank.

Doesn't this suggest that religion is USEFUL in some way, even from a purely evolutionary perspective? Even if it is rooted in something that is not emperical?

People forget that the purpose of the brain is not to "find the truth." The purpose of the brain, like every other organ, is to further the survival of the species or, as Dawkins would have it, the "selfish genes." If the brain can do this easier with a lie than the truth it will not hesistate to do so.

Thus, it seems to me that scientists who rail against religion shouldn't be so eager to eliminate it from human life. Would they have us give up our livers or our lungs? Of course they wouldn't. Than why the hostility to "useful delusions"?
edit on 8/13/2012 by silent thunder because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 13 2012 @ 02:24 AM
reply to post by darkbake

If there was a vaccine to remove all delusion then God would be all that is left. Only the truth shall set you free.
Bring it on.
edit on 13-8-2012 by Itisnowagain because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 13 2012 @ 02:36 AM
reply to post by silent thunder

I don't think scientists rail against faith or religion as such, at least not in their scientific capacity.

They rail against attempts by religion to impose itself on science and the scientific method.

posted on Aug, 13 2012 @ 03:16 AM
Great observations, great post.

I too have gotten a distaste for politics.

It's fair to say we can be lazy. We want to know the truth but we want others to do the work for us. The problem is the ones doing the work have personal agendas, and are corruptible. Do they really have our best interest in mind. The corruptibility of our culture comes from us allowing others to think for us.

Talk radio is a good example, they feed the division of political parties and have nothing really to offer except sarcasm. Result, we get tea parties, occupy protest, constant bickering with no solutions and sub par presidential candidates.

The church is susceptible as well. People go to church hoping the pastor will have a revelation for them, then very few will actually go home and research what the pastor said. Pastors realize this and begin to make stuff up straying from the real biblical principles. No one is going to call him out on it, they go home turn on the game and never look back. Results, An apathetic community of do goodr's, denominational feuding, and a faith without any guts.

I guess there needs to be some accountability.

posted on Aug, 13 2012 @ 04:06 AM
reply to post by darkbake

great post, but remember one main thing as much as anybody or any group makes out they know and in control, that is the biggest dillusion of all.

posted on Aug, 13 2012 @ 04:31 AM
reply to post by darkbake

Best thread i've read in ages,

You're perfectly correct, "religion" is nothing more than a euphemism for "culture". And you make a perfectly valid point that "homosexuality" is a "culture" too. Not necessarily better or worse than Judaism, more alike than anything.

I don't believe it's religion that is the evil. Perfect example is your average subsistence farmer, who is likely religious. He's not going to wake up one morning and decide to invade a foreign country. He wakes up one morning and finds soldiers at his door taking him to fight in a foreign country, for "god" and "country".

We don't really have the words ... or concepts to talk about it, but if only "greed" or "lust for power" or "bloodlust" was as easy to identify as religion. We all know that all the world leaders suffer from these, as well as ego's bigger than whole countries.

But we will lose our millenia old cultures to these murdering psychopaths that are our leaders.

I'drather behead ever single identifiable leader in the world, religious too if you wish, but include glbt, athiests like dawkins etc, than speak out against a man's personal religion.

Looking forward to other contributions.

posted on Aug, 13 2012 @ 11:47 AM
We are angered by the appalling weakness of horizontal relationships within society. We don't like the way in which the state system easily manipulates public opinion through its tight control of the overwhelming majority of media outlets. A perfect example is the unprecedentedly shameless campaign against Pussy Riot, based on distorting facts and words, which has appeared in nearly all the Russian media, apart from the few independent media there are in this political system.

posted on Aug, 13 2012 @ 01:10 PM
You've summed up my opinions on politics perfectly. Its actually surprising that people wonder why its so hard to get people to vote these days. When both sides constantly call out the other side for their failings while at the same time failing to do anything, people are going to lose faith in the system.

posted on Aug, 13 2012 @ 07:40 PM
People like Richard Dawkins certainly have a place in a free society, but their ideology does run the risk of creating a population that is unwilling to think intuitively, imaginatively, creatively etc.

Proof is a spoof for a goof on a roof.

posted on Aug, 13 2012 @ 10:15 PM
reply to post by darkbake

This is the best post I have read in a very long time. In fact, threads like this, are what brought me to ATS in the beginning. I love it when people can not only think deeply, but can also put their thoughts into something legible (which, I have found to be the most difficult part of sharing new knowledge or thinking).

I'd like to post something with more substance, but need some time to think about this. But, I will add this to the discussion:

Politics IS a form of religion. In the 70s we had Jim Jones, today we have Barack Obama. Political parties are the newest cults.

edit on 13-8-2012 by SourGrapes because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 29 2012 @ 07:25 AM
reply to post by SourGrapes

Thank you so much, SourGrapes! I do a lot of thinking about philosophy, and I am working on writing my own, it should be complicated enough to fill a whole book I think one day.

Coming to ATS has given me a lot of experience engaging in dialogue with people, which helps me reform my views based on what I can learn, and in addition, it gives me practice writing small essays like this one, and in addition, it is a place that motivates me to write them.

Right now, I am collecting what I have written on here and putting them into different Word files so that I might be able to figure out a way to put all of my thoughts together in a cohesive manner.

Once again, THANK YOU so much for appreciating what I have to say!

posted on Aug, 29 2012 @ 07:38 AM
Reply to post by halfoldman

This. Also, I don't see how you people can call science delusional, it is based on fact, not belief, there is proof, not speculation, there are truth-seeker, not people who believe what they were (mostly) influenced to believe.

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