Wednesday Woo

Wednesday Woo #11: Wishful Thinking

For last week’s Wednesday Woo, click here.

Matrix

The latest craze in New Age philosophy, called the “law of attraction” has dominated pop culture like a maddening song. It’s the MMMbop of self help, running through people’s heads, and echoing from their lips like the annoyingly positive verbal diarrhea that it is. “Thoughts become things….thoughts become things,” is parroted over and over again, washing over the world’s populace as waves of stupid provoked by a raging storm of charlatans and self-help gurus who decided to enrich themselves by plagiarizing the emerald tablet. New age believers often dip their toes in whatever philosophy makes them feel good, since it is a form of pantheism. All religions and ideas have some bit of truth according to the pantheist, so why not steal some ideas from the occult? It would be a great way to sell books, make videos, and hold expensive self-help conferences.
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Hermetic philosophy, which derives from the writings (the “Emerald Tablet”) of the fictional character, Hermes Trismegistus, and has inspired occult superstition since the dark ages of Europe. Now it has been simplified and mass produced on a level only the internet and microphone headsets can achieve. I will grant the notion some credit; it did inspire European culture to strive for better science, since many well-known alchemists were staunch followers. Alchemy is now considered a pseudoscience, and was eventually replaced with chemistry. Another contribution attributed to the practice of alchemy is hermetic sealing, which aided us in preserving foods by canning them. Here are the seven Hermetic principles:
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As you can see, many of these terms, like “vibration” “manifest” and “law” are the same ones conflated often by those who tout this inane attraction rubbish. They will tell you that in the*law* of attraction is the power of the*mind* and thinking positive or negative thoughts *cause* the *vibration* of what *manifests* as an *effect* of your thinking. Well then, let’s define these terms scientifically to see if they hold up to scrutiny, shall we?

Law – “A scientific law is a statement based on repeated experimental observations that describes some aspect of the universe. A scientific law always applies under the same conditions, and implies that there is a causal relationship involving its elements. Factual and well-confirmed statements like “Mercury is liquid at standard temperature and pressure” are considered too specific to qualify as scientific laws.’”

Mind – “noun 1.(in a human or other conscious being) the element, part, substance, or process that reasons, thinks, feels, wills, perceives, judges, etc.:the processes of the human mind.2.Psychology. the totality of conscious and unconscious mental processes and activities.3.intellect or understanding, as distinguished from the faculties of feeling and willing; intelligence.”

Cause – 1“a :a reason for an action or condition :motive b :something that brings about an effect or a result trying to find the cause of the accident c :a person or thing that is the occasion of an action or state a cause for celebration; especially :an agent that brings something about She is the cause of your troubles. d :sufficient reason discharged for cause”

Vibration – periodic back-and-forth motion of the particles of an elastic body or medium, commonly resulting when almost any physical system is displaced from its equilibrium condition and allowed to respond to the forces that tend to restore equilibrium.

Manifest – verb (used with object)3.to make clear or evident to the eye or the understanding; show plainly:He manifested his approval with a hearty laugh.4.to prove; put beyond doubt or question:The evidence manifests the guilt of the defendant.
Effect – power to bring about a result :influence the content itself of television … is therefore less important than its effect—Current Biography
Now let’s reword the sentence with the real definitions, and see if it makes sense:

The*statement based on repeated experimental observations that describes some aspect of the universe [and] always applies under the same conditions* of attraction is the power of the *element, part, substance, or process that reasons, thinks, feels, wills, perceives, judges* and thinking positive or negative thoughts *brings about an effect* [of] the *periodic back-and-forth motion* of what *make[s] clear or evident to the eye or the understanding; show[s] plainly* as a *result/influence* of your thinking.
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Sounds legit – like these thoughts are playing tennis with reality. So does this “thoughts become things” idea really work? Let’s do an experiment and see:
Think about your favorite movie star all day, and see if they knock on your door. According to this law, it should occur. Remember, laws are testable, and always reliable, like gravity, and should happen very plainly. This move star should knock on your door just as you imagined. Now if this manifests in your lifetime, without you putting forth any effort other than thinking, I will be impressed, and you should win some sort of Nobel prize for having figured out the way of thinking the world into peace. By the way, there are many folks out there trying to do this very thing – have been for years, and yet turmoil continues to exist.

I am obsessed with owls. I know it’s weird, but I like what I like. I think about them a lot, look at pictures, read books, and watch documentaries about them. I thoroughly appreciate owls, still, I rarely see an owl in the wild. If this concept were true, wouldn’t I manifest owls all the time? I think some very negative things about people sometimes – especially when I drive in traffic behind some goon who wants to go twenty miles below the speed limit. I visualize their head exploding, but it never happens. The jury is still out on whether or not this is a negative or positive thought… haha…

The only thing that will manifest as a direct result from the law of attraction is more law of attraction books and videos. Plain and simple, this is an example of wishful thinking. Once again, you have charlatans who want to make money on the desperation of others. Those who are sick, broke, want relationships, and have all sorts of needs would be the very ones attracted to such a notion. Sadly this will not help them, and if someone is sick, this kind of magical thinking can really cause damage. It’s dangerous to tell people they can think their way into wellness as opposed to seeking medical treatment.

I don’t know about you, but I am rather skeptical of anyone with the title “Reverend Dr.”
Now there is nothing wrong with trying to remain positive, in fact, it can help reduce stress which can help people in many ways. But to conflate this logically into every single aspect of reality is absolutely ridiculous and dangerous. I found this video of Rationality Rules where he breaks down the law of attraction quite well, and displays the flaws in the logic.

You can be a positive person without being a sucker to those who are trying to profit from things you desire. The best defense against charlatans is to use critical thinking, and beware of those who conflate scientific terms to suit their own claims.

Wednesday Woo

Wednesday Woo #10: Cults and Gurus

For the last Wednesday Woo, click here.

Where does one go when an existential crisis hits, or they feel misunderstood, ostracized, and in need of spiritual guidance? For some, mainstream religion just doesn’t resonate, nor does it fulfill their needs, so they seek something more mystical, and less connected to societal norms. After all, why would someone who felt betrayed by society dedicate their spiritual journey toward a majority religion that represents the masses that rejected them? Perhaps they wish to find something that has a more scientific ring to it, or is connected to otherworldly ideas – like extraterrestrials or inter dimensional beings who can whisk them away from the planet that did not accept them for who they think they are. This creates an opening for charismatic New Age leaders, who offer promises of enlightenment, peace, knowledge, power and fulfillment. While these leaders can seem relatively harmless, some of them do cause significant damage to individuals who fall prey to their manipulation. All one needs to do in order to gain an understanding of just how much dangerous potential a New Age guru can cause is looking to recent and current history.

Osho
Bhagwan Three Rajneesh, known as the “sex guru” in his home country of India, began Poona ashram in 1974, where he criticized the doctrine of organized religion, societal norms, and used his following to enrich himself, as well as have his way with as many women as possible. The ritualistic practices included strange “therapy” sessions where enraged people would seem to throw fits and assault one another while nude. Many of them had to be hospitalized due to injuries of these sessions. Rajneesh had scrupulous morals indeed, and because of his corruption and smuggling practices, eventually had to flee his own country, abandoning a multitude of adoring followers, most of which gave up everything to be with their guru.

In 1981, his trusted aide, Ma Anand Sheela, obtained a 64,000-acre ranch for his cult just outside of Antelope, Oregon. The struggles between the ranch and local/state government ensued. Sheela became quite impatient with this to say the least, and at the behest of her criminally minded guru, did whatever she could to try to stifle those deemed “enemy” by the ranch. She tried poisoning officials, setting fire to their offices to destroy documentation of their ranch’s over-capacity, flooded the towns with vagrants, threatened lives of dissents within the ranch, and eventually had followers poison 751 citizens of Oregon.

Of course, when the shit hit the fan, Rajneesh tried once again to flee. He didn’t quite make it, and was caught in South Carolina, but the horror his cult caused still brings a sense of shock. Eventually he was deported to his home country of India after a plea deal, changing his name to OSHO, and regained a following, perhaps not as significant as before, but still to this day I see people share memes with his face and quotes, as well as videos of him speaking. To be completely honest, it makes me sick to see, and each time I do, I remind people of what a psychopath OSHO was. I have only touched upon some of the story, but if you wish to know more, check out this page. 

 

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L. Ron Hubbard was an author of science fiction, who apparently thought himself to be in the wrong business when he said, “You don’t get rich writing science fiction. If you want to get rich, you start a religion.” Since he was so adept at coming up with nonsense that didn’t reflect reality, he decided to embark upon a woo-woo solution to mental health with his notion of Dianetics and gave lectures on the how subject. In 1952, he established the “Church of Scientology” based on his writings, and saw to its growth, which led to much controversy around the world. Australia revoked Scientology’s religious status, which of course was later reinstated, but there were also fraud charges in France, and allegations of co-conspiring international theft at the time of his death. Hubbard made many claims about himself that were false, including one that he was a nuclear physicist. If you could think of it, Hubbard claimed to have experienced it, and have extensive knowledge about it. According to his followers, Hubbard could do no wrong, and was the source for all spiritual and psychological growth.

Of course, the belief system is a quite wacky, with their ideas regarding “Thetans” – which are rather like souls, and “Xenu” – a galactic dictator. I don’t wish to really delve much into these aspects, instead, focus on their atrocious practices. What really bothers me about this cult, is how they isolate, abuse, and take total control over their members. They force them to sign contracts with terms of a billion years, make them essentially slave-laborers, and do not allow outsiders to know the goings on of the organization. It costs thousands, and sometimes millions of dollars to move up in the ranks of Hubbard’s teachings, as well as countless hours undergoing “audits” where members hold “cans” in their hands. The cans are attached to an e-meter monitored by inquisitors who ask highly personal questions. The goal is to move up the “bridge to total freedom” through clearing out imprinted memories hidden deep within the psyche, in order to attain a state of pure spirit so they can save the world. That’s not hyperbole – Scientologists actually think their religion saves the world.

David Miscavige, who seized authority over the cult after Hubbard passed, has been said to be highly abusive towards members. Those who do not hold up to his standards are often subjected to his violent fits of rage. If someone speaks ill of Scientology, be sure that Miscavige and his goons will do anything they can to smear them in the press.

Members are not allowed to research scientology, are often held prisoner at what they refer to as “the hole” if they cause a stir. If someone questions the cult and speaks out, they are deemed a “suppressive person” and their families are urged to shun them, tell lies about them, and claim they have committed crimes against Scientology. Those who suffer from mental or physical illnesses are denied access to much-needed medication, and instead, subjected to more audits, which of course, costs them more money. There is absolutely no end to the horrors and abuse this cult inflicts upon people.

If you have yet to check out “Leah Remini: Scientology & the Aftermath” on A&E, I highly recommend it. The show really highlights the personal damage caused by this cult. I have found myself in tears watching this compelling series.
Huuu

Paul Twitchell was another fiction writer from Kentucky who founded the cult of Eckankar in 1965. Much like the rest of the belief systems previously mentioned, this cult isolates its members by rejecting society, makes ridiculous assertions, and has a leader who claims to know the ultimate truth about stuff that happened long ago (without evidence, of course). Followers of this cult consider it the “path of spiritual freedom” – sounds familiar, right? Well, turns out, Twitchell was a member of the Church of Scientology, and was later placed on their “suppressive persons” list. Like Hubbard, he gave lectures on what he deemed as “soul travel”and was urged by his wife to turn his spiritual teachings into a religion. Granted, he dedicated his life to exploring the occult, having joined Premananda Giri’s Self-Realization Church of Absolute Monismuntil, only to be kicked out in 1955, and was also involved in Ruhani Satsang, until he had a falling with its leader, Kirpal Singh.

It seemed that Paul just couldn’t find his tribe, nor a master to give him pearls of wisdom he could pass on. So he decided to pull some from his ass. “Rebazar Tarzs” is what he called his ancient, imaginary ECK master, and supposedly this was the torch-bearer of the cult for over 500 years. There are so many of these fictional figures, and I will not bother to list them all, but according to the religion, they have the ability to help people reach god. How do you reach god? By singing the ancient name of god, which is “HUU” for 30 minutes a day. That simple? Well no. There’s lots of other sounds to study, and all kinds of karma, reincarnation, astral travel woo-woo to go with it. This religion is very much like the Hare Krishnas, except while they do allow Christians to join their cult, but they maintain Eckankar is the ultimate path to god.

The main issue I have with this cult is how is brainwashes people into losing their grip on reality, while defending its leaders multiple lies, plagiarism, and inconsistencies. They are told that society is corrupted, and the only way to think is their way. No questions or criticisms of their ridiculousness is allowed, and you are forced to wash away your personal identity. If one tries to break away from the cult, it takes a long time to adjust to life in society again. Read about their personal accounts here:

http://truthabouteckankar.blogspot.com

I want to assert that the following persons are not all necessarily confirmed to be cult leaders, but I do have my suspicions on how their following acts when it comes to being questioned, as well as how their beloved gurus treat them. Alarm bells also go off when I hear people completely deny reality to not only their own peril, but their families, and society’s as well. While religious apologists tend to insert god claims into the gaps of scientific understanding, New Age believers choose to conflate science in order to justify their claims. This way they can create a following by means of pseudoscience, and sometimes, outright ostracizing science itself, all while maintaining their beliefs are scientific. Many of these gurus will create false dichotomies, false memories, and program their followers to disregard any evidence presented to them that sheds a negative light on or contradicts their outrageous claims.

Teal Scott/Swan has a huge following online, and even has a house full of giddy sycophants to do her laundry, take care of her son (according to one who has lived with her), and come to her defense whenever she makes a horrible claim like: “We should rethink Hitler….” It’s usually echoes of “well, at first it bothered me, but then I listened to her more and more, and decided it was ok.”

The more I listen to her, the more I think she has lost her grip on reality:

Ok… so you’re an alien, Teal? And only YOU can save the planet from these made up creatures that wanna take it over, huh? Sounds as though you made up a problem just to deem yourself the only solution. This isn’t a new tactic. She also has a tendency to gaslight victims of trauma through her shadow work and cutesy sayings like, “What you resist persists.” Again, this is not a new idea. It seems as though Teal did some reading and decided to act as though she is Carl Jung or something. So if I am in danger, or things in my life go wrong, it’s my own fault because I’m projecting, and resisting. I should just stop and allow whoever is abusing me to continue. Sorry, I don’t buy that way of absolute thinking – surely many things are my own responsibility, but to conflate it into all things are my fault is just ridiculous victim-blaming. She forces her housemates to participate in “shadow work” which is much like an inquisition where she has them reveal their deepest fears for millions to see on youtube. There are mountains of other issues with Teal’s claims, and it’s worthwhile to look into them.

*Disclaimer: These are personal opinions; not facts.* Now, this is merely speculation, but I personally consider her a psychopath who takes advantage of people for her own amusement. When I see how people react to her, I am reminded of Ted Bundy and the adoring fans that took audience in the courtroom as he defended himself. “Oh my gawd! He’s so handsome! Surely he doesn’t torture and murder people, and even if he does… HANDSOME!”
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Byron Katie is another one that I keep hearing about, and when I question the methods, of course, her fans get defensive. Just like with the above examples, Katie has a tendency to claim she has THE answer to everyone’s emotional problems. As with all philosophies and techniques that lack nuance, there are some problems with this, mainly when it comes to those who suffer from PTSD. Turns out, practicing psychotherapy without having a psychological degree can lead to damaging effects.

“The work” is an irrational perversion of CBT inquiry, intended as a fix-all cure with sides of suppressing critical thought, and quite possibly the reality of the situation. More victim-blaming.  Those who have participated in her technique have also been subject to public humiliation; having their personal secrets being questioned on stage, and forced to be homeless for a day. While Katie may seem harmless, and there may be some individuals who benefit from her teachings, there is reason for pause when it comes to some of these claims. As much as people pay for these self-help courses, they may as well spend their hard-earned money on a professional who won’t cause them embarrassment, and is subject to confidentiality laws.

Now these are just a few historical and current examples of gurus who mislead people in order to gain a fame, following, money, (sometimes sex and power), but there are many more out there who prey upon those looking for answers, or a sense of community. It’s best to keep your wits about you, and keep your skeptical eye open for attributes of cult-like behavior.

Warning signs of a cult:

1. Suggests they have “the answer” to all of life’s problems that only they can provide.
2. “Love-bombing” or an attempt to influence new comers with lots of affection.
3. Charismatic leader who everyone adores and must never criticize. 
4. Use of euphoric (dancing or chanting) or humiliation (exposing one’s darkest secrets publicly, forced poverty, or forced nudity) driven programming methods to break individuality.
5. Driving wedges between families through isolation and lack of communication. 
6. When questioned by outsiders, those in the cult provide the same cookie-cutter answer.
7. Demonize societal standards, and hold contempt for the law. 
8. Pressures initiates to hand over large sums of money (if not all of their money), and properties. 
9. Wild, ridiculous claims are made, which are typically outright lies. 
10. Dangerous cults do not disclose doctrine and ritual to initiates (no informed consent), and does not allow for leaving without harassment or fear tactics.

If you suspect you or a family member is in a cult, get help, and get out now! The longer an individual is in the cult mindset, the more difficult it is to gain back individual control.

More resources:
https://freedomofmind.com/ex-member-recovery/
http://ownyourbrain.org
http://www.culthelp.info/index.php
http://www.ex-cult.org

Wednesday Woo

Wednesday Woo #9: My Woo Journey

For last week’s Wednesday Woo, click here.

This week, I want to do something different and more personal. Here’s the story of my journey from woo.

I had always felt like a misfit – as if those who surrounded me on this planet did not reflect who I was deep inside. This caused a lot of anguish for me, especially after I lost my mom to liver disease nearly a decade ago. She was the only one who even slightly understood me, and even her assessments were sometimes distorted. I was all alone in the world, and desperately felt like I needed to find support and comfort. There were a few friends in my life at the time, but none of them truly seemed to understand what I was going through. They didn’t call or check on me very often, and when they did, the concern didn’t seem genuine, so it was as if I were a burden. I felt abandoned, and as though I wanted to die. There was no luster to any of the things I used to enjoy. Depression had a firm grip on me, and the only motivating emotion within option was anger; seething anger toward everyone and everything. My family felt compelled to argue with me over silly things like where mom was to be buried, and why we didn’t visit as often as they felt we should have in the past. This created a further divide; expounding upon the depression and grief I already harbored.

During these times of darkness, I ran into a lot of financial difficulty. At the time of my mom’s death, I was attending a local university in order to obtain a sociology degree. Depression did not allow me to function for quite some time after her passing, so thinking on a higher level just wasn’t an option anymore. I had a child to support, so it was time to dedicate myself to working full-time instead. Finding ample work to satisfy paying bills and providing for child care was especially tedious. There was a lot of “robbing Peter to pay Paul” kinds of tactics when it came to paying bills, and we ate a lot of ramen noodles. I ended up working at a fast food place, putting in as many hours as I possibly could. Still grieving, and in a state of isolation, despite the fact that I was in a relationship at the time, I put on a brave face, and pushed through each day. He had a wandering eye, couldn’t keep a job for more than a few months, and wasn’t really on my level intellectually. All of the financial responsibility was put on me, but at least he could babysit while I put in more and more hours. It wasn’t long until I got promoted.

One day, while I was hard at work at supervising a shift at the fast food restaurant, I saw my dead mother walk into the establishment. I knew I was hallucinating, and was really afraid, disoriented, and panicked. After having that experience, I decided that it was best to seek professional help. They diagnosed me as “bipolar” then swiftly put me on antipsychotics, which seemed to help, but also stifled some of the characteristics which I felt defined me. There had to be another solution, so I got online to research what was going on, and found some videos on YouTube describing how it wasn’t “bipolar” but an “awakening”. This shall forever be known to me as mistake number one.

My angst to find belonging, as well as my resolve to find tranquility, instigated a willingness to allow my sense of reasoning to fade, and to open my mind to anything that would make me feel better. I began watching more videos on YouTube, including Teal Swan and Spirit Science, then decided that what I need to make my life better was to find enlightenment, which was, from what I had heard, the only pathway toward the peace I required. This opened the social floodgates for me, as I joined enlightenment and esoteric groups. I found myself with lots of friends who sought the same sort of relief from the ails of life. Suffering was what brought us together, and made us question absolutely everything about the reality in which we live. We talked about astrology, tarot, astral travel, aliens and who or what controls reality constantly. Oddly enough, despite all the discussions, I was afraid to disagree with people, even if what they said was something I knew was absolutely wrong or unfounded. All that mattered was getting along, and growing my social circle so I could feel I belonged somewhere. The problem was, I still didn’t really feel like I had found my “tribe” quite yet. There was something missing. My relationship wasn’t working, and by this time, I felt confident enough to leave him, and reunited with my long-lost love, Matthew. I was so happy to be with the one person I knew would really understand me, and felt at the time that it was god/the universe who had granted me that privilege.

Being a peaceful, loving pacifist, who considered all reality to be a creation of a shared mind, I thought all opinions were equally valid. That is until I joined a Gnostics group and saw some posts about how Earth was flat, and the holocaust didn’t happen. This provoked the skeptical side of me, which led me to question the people who I was associating myself. Having been raised fundamentalist Christian, I recognized some of the same tribalistic and anti-science rhetoric from my childhood. I couldn’t help but be bothered by this, so I began researching things people said and shared online to find the truth. It took some time and effort to do this, but it was worth it to truly know if what I was told and personally believing was true. I began to say, “No, that’s not true,” more often, and it no longer bothered me if people liked my evidence or not. It wasn’t merely about appeasing people so they would stay friends with me, but rather what was moral or scientifically proven. It helped a lot that I have a Matthew, who is also a skeptic, and never was convinced by my New Age beliefs, no matter how much I tried to convince him at the time. He questioned me often during discussion, which really highlighted the flaws of my logic. I am forever grateful to him for that.

One by one, my New Age beliefs came tumbling down. After a while, I started to see some major flaws in my initial attempt to escape reality. It was difficult to avoid when I gazed into the reflection of others who believed as I did. One thing in particular made me quite angry at the belief system, was seeing a friend get outraged because someone posted a video of the Syrian gas attack. This person was only upset because it disrupted their “good vibes” that day, not at the horror or injustice of seeing children suffer by the hand of a cruel dictator. I couldn’t even begin to fathom a lack of empathy on this level. That’s when I decided the entire ideology was merely an escape from reality, and a disgusting one at that. There is absolutely no moral compass in someone who would rather deny reality, and a sense of right and wrong, for a conclusion that only makes them feel better.

While I may be a misfit, and a now a skeptic, I still have found some companionship through seeking to understand reality as opposed to escaping it. It’s a much better place, since I don’t have to pretend to agree with everything for the sake of offending others. I can finally be accepted for the contrarian being I am, and while it’s not easy, it is worth the effort. I love science, current events, social dynamics and studying the human mind. These are the subjects I find joy in discussion now, as opposed to aliens and astrology. There is so much more to learn and strive for in reality, and I don’t have to make-believe in order to find peace, happiness, or understanding.

Wednesday Woo

Wednesday Woo #8: Pwning Clickbait “Evidence”

For last week’s Wednesday Woo, click here.

Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a contrarian as:

“A person who takes a contrary position or attitude; specifically :  an investor who buys shares of stock when most others are selling and sells when others are buying”

If this be the true confines of the term, then I am a contrarian, since I refuse to buy into nonsense beliefs in things without evidence, conflations of the truth, and suspect definitions. I just cannot bring myself to invest in stupidity anymore, no matter how popular it may be, or how happy it makes people feel.

For instance, this shitpost I saw the other day from “author unknown”…

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This author should remain unknown, and their ideas should be well hidden under the moldy rock from which they came. And yes, I redacted the photo and put a cat there. It felt about as silly as the original pic. So yeah – I’m not linking to this credulous drivel. I wouldn’t grant it the privilege of clicks nor the money it receives in ads as a result of these clicks, but I will address the article’s ideas, which I have seen expressed over and over again in woo-woo circles.

One cannot help but wonder about the terms given here. What do they mean by “activation” and “ascension process?” Perhaps the article sheds some light on the writer’s meaning. Turns out, they go on to say that the ascension process is “going back to” the twelve strands of DNA as opposed to two, explaining that these extra strands are on other dimensions. Although some stranded structures could potentially develop artificially or hypothetically, DNA is typically known to be a double helix, and I have no idea why they have conflated mathematical systems like “dimensions” in their article for any other reason than to confuse the reader. Why the hell would our DNA be in the math we made up? Sure, there is the element that we created the math, but that seems to be the only logical connection I can make to DNA being even remotely close to the concept of mathematical dimensions. But don’t take my word for its meaning.

Dimensions

Multidimensional Systems

Dimensions and Equation Systems

Check this one out.  I don’t even like math, but it was easy to define the terms that have been misused in this piece by doing a quick google search. It just goes to show that either “author unknown” didn’t understand what a dimension is, or they are willingly being deceptive. Clickbait would never be deceptive though, right?

Next it goes on to describe how the right and left hemispheres of the human brain are disconnected, so the only course of action to reestablish connection is activating the DNA strands in the other dimensions, and ascend!

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Whatever that means. Assuming they are describing the real, physical human brain, the corpus callosum, a band of nerve fibers, already connects the right and left of the brain.  Knowing the terms the article uses makes it seem like utter hogwash, doesn’t it?

It then continues on to appeal to the ancient, invoking the pyramids and Egypt. Then echoes “spirit science” with the whole “we are evolving from carbon forms to ‘crystalline’ nonsense. It also boasts about how the chakra systems are so wonderful they can cause this newly activated DNA to send and receive messages from the “higher self” to the “soul” – God, right? They must mean god. The next section discusses how you will gain special new “programs” so you can connect to the mythical Akashic record, which supposedly contains all knowledge of the past, present and future. All you have to do is “vibrate at a higher frequency” by altering your thoughts and emotions. Yeah they want you to believe you can talk to magical beings with your DNA and obtain all knowledge that exists in the fairyland dimension by the power of thought and emotions. Cool story, bro.

Picard

 

It concludes with a short description of how this is an ongoing process, since they say children are being born with 3 strands of DNA. (Uh…citation, please?) It ends with the conspiracy theory of how the Annunaki (aliens) altered our physiology, and we must look for a “cosmic wildcard” such as solar flares or cosmic wind in order to activate our DNA back to…however it was. It never says what a cosmic wildcard would look like, so I’m guessing it takes the form of whatever you want it to. I cannot help but wonder what the folks that took this article seriously are keeping an eye out for. Perhaps they took it literally and are awaiting actual wild cards from the game “uno” to fall from the sky.

How I feel reading articles like this:

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While it may feel good to wonder about other dimensions, aliens, and if there is some super-duper space we can tap into in order to gain instant knowledge of everything, there’s simply no evidence to justify believing these things are real. Using these this article and others like it as confirmation to ideas that make you feel superior, and on a path to some kind of super power is pure mental masturbation. Surely if there were a way to activate our DNA and obtain all information of past and present it would have been done already. There would be human encyclopedias among us who could answer any historical question presented, easily demonstrating their knowledge by pointing to the exact location where Jimmy Hoffa is buried (or some other unknown fact that science could verify). The fact is, this idea is utter fiction, and such articles should never be taken seriously. I suppose it just takes too much work to be a skeptic, and far too easy to believe whatever the hell you wish.

Wednesday Woo

Wednesday Woo #7: Demons and Denial

For last weeks Wednesday Woo, click here.

New Age and occult philosophy has a wide array of imaginary life forms or forces within their belief systems. From demons to faeries, egregores, and ghosts, the possibilities are endless when it comes to the realm of the unseen world. The majority explanation is these creature are directly constructed by the mind, since most things allegedly manifest through thoughts. Silly as it may sound, this notion is notorious in such “tribes” or circles of influence within the community. “Your thoughts create your reality” is a common meme within their threads:

Cayce

Which of course leads to thousands of YouTube videos about how “The Matrix” is a true depiction of how reality works.

Matrix

What I find problematic is when people think the supernatural beings in their imagination are actually real, and are in a complete state of helplessness. They become panicked, lose sleep, begin unnecessary fights, and of course, frantically spend time, money, and effort in trying to find some peace. This state of mind can cause erratic behaviors in a person, often leading to a loss of job, and cause inevitable strains on relationships. It’s really ironic yet totally disheartening to find those in search of tranquility are losing their grip on sanity and solace. Many of these folks wouldn’t normally be prone to such a paranoid state of mind, but there are some who hold a psychological/genetic disposition.

It’s tedious to direct a believer toward reason and away from these ideas, especially a psychotic one. To detach their personal identity from their premonitions of invisible forces initiates a fight or flight response. They have become a see-er, scryer, prophet, crystal child, star-seed, or a light worker who is on a mission from the divine to save the world and bring forth some sort of utopia, and now some critical thinker is asking for evidence of their claims. Their philosophies have now been reduced to absolute, dichotomous thinking, where they are the good guys fighting the negative Nancys who dare to question their wisdom and powers. The system alone is set up to label all critics as “fearful sheep” who need to “do their research” – a common conspiracy theorist response that shuts down the conversation before it even begins. If you do not hold the same idea of reality as they do, then you’re still plugged into the Matrix, and either are in desperate need of them to awaken you, or are in the grasp of an evil force. So much for the concepts of rejecting duality, and us being all one.

Lightworker.png

 

Perhaps you’re wondering why anyone would adopt a belief in the power of thoughts such as this, but in all honestly, I cannot emphasize any one variable as a cause for every single person. What I can assert is my own reasons for cultivation and preservation of supernatural conclusions and the beings that may dwell within. I am a pattern seeking human being  – making connections where there may be none.
In a world such as this: with all of the struggle, grief, and unfairness, it’s comforting to find some sort of explanation, especially one that makes one feel more powerful.

Ockham

But is it the idea of unseen worlds influencing our personal experience really the least complex when contrasted with innate human qualities such as pattern seeking? Is it much simpler for my mind to actually be creating all of the detail of reality, or that reality exist independently of my thoughts? There is millennia of evidence that existence was before my arrival, and I think it’s a safe bet that it shall continue on long after I have died. It’s much more complicated for everything to be a product of thoughts than it is for things to just simply be. Evidence is predicated upon predictability, testability, and reliability, therefore anything beyond this scope has the potential to be set aside until further investigation. Even if this reality were a simulation, or a product of some super, unified mind, how could I possibly test this?

Reality.png

It logically follows that if human beings had the power to connect with the mystical, we would have some way of proving this, right? It would be even more sweet if they could demonstrate their powers, AND collect a prize for their efforts! Sadly, this has yet to occur.

Here’s some of the more recent prizes offered for a demonstration of paranormal abilities:

Wikipedia.png

This of course doesn’t make the paranormal to be any less lucrative of a business. There are many books, and workshops dedicated to teaching people how to wield their non-existent magical powers. I cannot tell you how much money I spent purchasing books, crystals, talismans, oils, and charms in order to alter my mind so I could manifest a better reality. Truthfully, it did give me a nice distraction from whatever was stressing me out at the time, but it did very little to help my pocketbook, nor my long-term peace of mind. I have spent many nights awake in bed fearing whatever weird presence was there. I get cranky when I’m lacking sleep, so of course, this would make matters worse. I kept thinking I saw stupid signs everywhere, which conjured up some rolled-eyes when I would mention this to others. Pretty sure that’s not what the spells were for, but I digress…

So, if the belief in the paranormal can potentially lead to financial chaos, delusional thinking, tear apart personal relationships, and disrupt your inner peace, wouldn’t you want it to at least be true? A skeptic would maintain that extraordinary evidence would be necessary for such extraordinary claims.

I wrote a short letter to my past self that kinda sums up how I feel about my old beliefs. Thank you for reading!

“Dearest Friend,

Why have you chosen to believe in whatever satisfies your imagination’s fancy? Wouldn’t it be better to occupy your mind with things that can be demonstratively true instead? You read Plato and thought life to be an illusion. Movies can be evidently differentiated, therefore while your creativity may know no bounds, your reality is indeed a subject to physical limitation. There’s no proof that those cloud angels are empirically there, however, they can shield your eyes from a harsh sun, if even for a brief period of time. There is no joy lost in living a moment that is evident, and no productivity within chasing the shadows. Demons do not truly haunt you; it’s merely a metaphor for a feelings not yet expressed. What I can know for sure, is that life as you know it shall eventually come to a close; so precious few moments left to enjoy. Is it your wish to waste them in deep paranoia of demons?

Signed,

Your Ability to Reason

P.S. You don’t have to have superpowers to be a positive influence on your world, or to be worthy of your existence. Love yourself as you truly are.”

Wednesday Woo

Wednesday Woo #6:

For last week’s article: Wednesday Woo: Quantum Woo, click here.

“We’re human beings and the sun is the sun—how can it be bad for you? I don’t think anything that’s natural can be bad for you.” – Gwyneth Paltrow 

If you’ve spent any time on social media, I’m sure you’ve run into memes or videos exclaiming the various scary sounding rhetoric regarding chemicals, alongside their more “natural” cures and remedies at typically expensive prices. This anti-science campaign is a very strong one, offering so many different products and medical treatments that it’s difficult to debunk them before they can be spread to millions of people. In the New Age community this phenomenon is even more wide -spread, since the skeptical way of thinking is completely abandoned for a more science-y sounding appeal to nature they seem to crave. After all, the woo-world is all about connecting to a more purified sense of being. “Feeling depressed? That’s a choice,” they will say. “Go for a walk in the woods, and throw away your antidepressants!” Or eat more chocolate, which in all honesty, I wish were better for me, but alas! It’s just more wishful thinking woo.

David Wolfe: Chocolate is an octave of sun energy:

“An octave of the sun,” eh? Well what does that mean? Do you have evidence for this claim, David? To be honest, I don’t even know how to research such a claim, since it’s rhetorical nonsense and “energy-speak” is not even a real statement; merely GMO and gluten-free word salad with a side of magical thinking dressing.
Coincidentally, Mr. Guacamole also claims that Himalayan salt is just the bees-knees, containing “80 natural (as opposed to unnatural?) minerals.”
Salt Lamp
Wonder if the claims made by those hyping up the benefits of salt lamps are true.

At this point, the question may be asked, “what harm does me buying a salt lamp do me? It’s my choice how I deal with me and my family’s medical problems.” Other than spending money, nothing, that is, unless you opt for buying the salt lamp as opposed to getting on high blood pressure medication. Or, if you tend to fall for natural cures often, you may find yourself in the anti-vaxxer crowd, which puts everyone in danger, especially children and elderly with immune system issues. Thanks for the public safety risks, Andrew Wakefield. 

Those who attempted to replicate Andrew Wakefield’s study could not, and he is no longer licensed to practice medicine because of the fraud he spread world-wide.
There are even unfounded claims that too many vaccines at once bombard immune system of children.  While this idea that we are giving our children many more vaccines than we used to may sound slightly reasonable, once you research the issue with a skeptical eye, you can see there is no foundation for worry.  Of course, tell that to Jenny McCarthy

Now for more “toxin” nonsense. Apparently, we are all metal-heads, whether we listen to Metallica or not:
Flouride
Whatever you say, William Douglass. 
So if aluminum is so terrible, what’s the alternative? Of course there’s loads of “natural” products that are very expensive. Funny that from those who claim “big pharma” is only out to make money are the same ones hyping up the danger of chemicals in an effort to sell something. Hmm…
But what does the evidence say?

Is there any proof? Turns out, not so much….
As I said before, the myths about medical conditions and their causes spread much faster than we can debunk. 

There’s metals in our cereal!
Cereal
How much do you need? Are these fortified cereals safe?

http://www.newhealthadvisor.com/Iron-Fortified-Cereal.html

I’ve seen a lot of videos shared on Facebook where the iron-cereal scare is demonstrated using an experiment many of us did as children. Iron is something we require as a part of our diet, and is not a scary product.

Another cereal scare.
Cereal 2

But the amounts of BHT in these foods are concluded as safe for consumption.  Some scary sounding products are used in trace amounts in many different things. It’s the levels that are toxic. Water can even be labeled to sound toxic, and yes in large amounts, it can kill you.

H2O

Conspiracy theorists like Alex jones and his fake doctor claim a fungus that has “over 100 symptoms” is causing mayhem across the world. Of course, then they offer you the cure, right?  Wonder what Alex Jone’s net worth is…

Remember the Gwyneth quote about the sun being natural? Here’s her alternative sunscreen.

Goop

How about her net worth?  No doubt she’s worth quite a bit when offering sunscreen at $16 for 0.6 oz. She even has people steaming their vaginas.
The examples I could offer of these trendy, outrageous natural cures and claims are endless. Why is there such a tidal wave of pseudoscience spread on social media? Simply put, because it’s easier to hit “share” without doing the research. Many folks of course, say they have researched issues, but typically their sources fail the sniff test.

So how can we be sure that the stuff shared on social media is legitimate or not?
1) The claim has to have evidence.
2) Must have undergone peer review.
3) Sources must not have bias.
4) Must use definitions properly.
5) Cannot be logically fallacious. (Example: an appeal to nature fallacy.)

Be mindful of the signs of pseudoscience.

Wednesday Woo

Wednesday Woo #4: Quantum Woo

For last weeks Wednesday Woo, click here.

“What one man calls God, another calls the laws of physics.”

Nikola Tesla

Quantum mechanics has shown us an entirely different and counter-intuitive physical world that can be conflated into the wildest ideas by those who speculate and misconstrue its findings. There is the variety of folks who claim that it is proof of god, since its spooky action seems almost like what is described in their religious books.

Hebrews 11:3 “By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen.”

This idea is even offered in quote mines from the founding fathers of this branch of physics:

Waren Heisenberg: “After the conversations about Indian philosophy, some of the ideas of Quantum Physics that had seemed so crazy suddenly made much more sense.”

Erwin Schrodinger: “This life of yours which you are living is not merely a piece of this entire existence, but in a certain sense the whole; only this whole is not so constituted that it can be surveyed in one single glance. This, as we know, is that sacred, mystic formula which is yet really so simple and so clear; tat tvam asi, this is you. Or, again, in such words as “I am in the east and the west, I am above and below, I am this entire world.”

While this seems like great proof for the idea that the ancient ideas of reality have been revealed through quantum mechanics, it’s nothing more than wishful thinking. It’s true that some of the great minds who made discoveries in this field of science were familiar with the ancient texts of the vedas, as well as the bible, but this doesn’t mean their discoveries proved them. There also tends to be no real way of conveying the message of these scientific phenomena to the masses without taking a romantic and familiar approach. Granted, some of them may have followed such magical thinking, while some did not. Einstein expressed himself with the romantic antics of the spiritual, while maintaining a form of deism – which lacks a personal god.

Some of them actually seemed to have a god belief, like Werner Heisenberg, who claimed, “The first gulp from the glass of natural sciences will turn you into an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you.”

There is also Erwin Schroedinger, who in the spirit of the Vedas expressed, “In itself, the insight is not new. The earliest records, to my knowledge date back some 2500 years or more… the recognition ATMAN = BRAHMAN (the personal self equals the omnipresent, all-comprehending eternal self) was in Indian thought considered, far from being blasphemous, to represent the quintessence of deepest insight into the happenings of the world.”

One thing that must be considered when going through all of these quotes and ideas of quantum mechanics is that not all of those who study physics are theists. Victor Stenger , a renowned particle physicist and author, is atheist, as are Sean Michael Carroll, and Lawrence Krauss. So which is it? Natural science proves god, or doesn’t it? If it truly proved the god-claim, surely all of those who gain an understanding of it would alter their belief accordingly. It just goes to show that mere quotes are not real evidence of anything. It also demonstrates that even when a scientist thinks they have proven the mystical realm, further experimenting may reveal they have not.

“So which is it? Natural science proves god, or doesn’t it?”

Since the double-slit experiment has made it into the mainstream era of spiritualism, it has been attached to the claim that the “non-duality” function of particles shows the yin-yang attributes of reality, and that the physical world is guided by consciousness because particles seem to change when observed. Some will even go so far as to say that reality simply doesn’t exist at all. Therefore, magic is real, and we are merely consciousness experiencing itself. We = god, right? Not exactly…

Experiments at the quantum level behave differently because they are being done at an atomic and subatomic level. It’s difficult to imagine such a world on our much larger scale, simply because our perspective differs. If we were 2 dimensional beings, it would be quite strange to experiment with a 3D world. Such is the same with the realm of the very small. Although, there have been experiments created that demonstrate what occurs at the quantum level for us to see.

As was demonstrated above, the actions at the quantum level do not prove that reality doesn’t exist. The moon is still revolving around the earth, even when you’re not looking.

Now to get to this “observer” phenomenon. An observer, as defined by quantum physics, differs from the layman idea of observation; much like the definition of the word “theory” differs from how we utilize it in daily life. An observer in physics is what interacts with the particles in an effort to find measurements and obtain data. Since the quantum world is much, MUCH smaller than what we are accustomed to interacting with, any measurement of it can interfere with behaviors seen. It has nothing to do with consciousness, since it can be seen occurring even without a conscious, human observer.

So how about that duality function of particles, eh? It’s rather funny, since I know a bit about duality in terms of its spiritual connotations. According to woo-woo, duality is an illusion caused by ego: the I -vs- other dynamic. In the philosophy, the “I” doesn’t exist, and all that exists is “One”.  I’m not sure how the particle-wave duality has anything to do with this other than the label “duality”. I am sure there are people who will stretch their logical faculties pretty far to make the connection, but in truth, there is none.

Why would the spiritual woo-woo and god-botherers claim that science proves consciousness is magic? For one, it fills up their community with credulous believers who will fall for any sort of claim they make. Such communities make for great sales, since word-of-mouth recommendations travel faster than the speed of any debunking. Do a quick google search for quantum healing, and you will be flooded with everything from magic jewelry to reiki. Apparently this is a very lucrative prospect. Check out the nano wand from China.

Wand

There was a stretch of time were I believed that quantum mechanics was some sort of proof that our reality is directly connected to consciousness and god. In fact, it took me a while to come out of this ideology. It wasn’t until I became open-minded to being wrong about these notions that I found the truth: I was being lied to. I fell for it, hook, line, and sinker – posting the Werner Heisenberg quote about finding god at the bottom of the glass of science over and over again. It was not fun to set aside my ideas about reality, but once I discovered I was wrong, and opened myself up to new evidence, I found much relief and wonder in the truth. I began watching a youtube channel called “Martymer81” where I found a skeptic who truly challenged my thoughts on this subject. I started researching things he said, and reading books from credited physicists like Lawrence Krauss and Stephen Hawking. Come to find out, I was dead wrong when it came to this subject. I had abused physics, used it, and conflated it all because I wanted to find comfort in a reality that seemed confusing, cold, and too rational. But since then, I have discovered the rational world to be one of curiosity as opposed to coldness. There’s so much more to find in science, and to close the door on that for a belief in woo or god is the ultimate closed-minded prospect. If all explanations point to the divine, then what is left to be curious about?

Here’s Martymer81’s take on quantum physics abuse. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.