What Mormons Believe About Jesus Christ / By The Mormons

 

The “thing” about the Mormons is that they can SOUND RATIONAL about the most IRRATIONAL “things” !!!

Add this post to: Why Asperger’s say that neurotypicals are stupid…

from: http://mormonnewsroom.org

Check out: http://templestudy.com/tag/holyofholies

The following excerpts are taken from an address to the Harvard Divinity School (Puritans)  in March 2001 by Robert L. Millet, former dean of religious education at Brigham Young University. It is offered on Newsroom as a resource.

What Do We Believe About Jesus Christ?

Latter-day Saints are Christians on the basis of our doctrine, our defined relationship to Christ, our patterns of worship and our way of life.

What Do We Believe About Christ?

  • We believe Jesus is the Son of God, the Only Begotten Son in the flesh (John 3:16). We accept the prophetic declarations in the Old Testament that refer directly and powerfully to the coming of the Messiah, the Savior of all humankind. We believe that Jesus of Nazareth was and is the fulfillment of those prophecies.
  • We believe the accounts of Jesus’ life and ministry recorded in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in the New Testament to be historical and truthful. For us the Jesus of history is indeed the Christ of faith. While we do not believe the Bible to be inerrant, complete or the final word of God, we accept the essential details of the Gospels and more particularly the divine witness of those men who walked and talked with Him or were mentored by His chosen apostles.
  • We believe that He was born of a virgin, Mary, in Bethlehem of Judea in what has come to be known as the meridian of time, the central point in salvation history. From His mother, Mary, Jesus inherited mortality, the capacity to feel the frustrations and ills of this world, including the capacity to die. We believe that Jesus was fully human in that He was subject to sickness, to pain and to temptation.
  • We believe Jesus is the Son of God the Father and as such inherited powers of godhood and divinity from His Father, including immortality, the capacity to live forever. While He walked the dusty road of Palestine as a man, He possessed the powers of a God and ministered as one having authority, including power over the elements and even power over life and death.
  • We believe Jesus performed miracles, including granting sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, life to some who had died and forgiveness to those steeped in sin. We believe the New Testament accounts of healings and nature miracles and the cleansing of human souls to be authentic and real.
  • We believe Jesus taught His gospel — the glad tidings or good news that salvation had come to earth through Him — in order that people might more clearly understand both their relationship to God the Father and their responsibility to each other.
  • We believe Jesus selected leaders, invested them with authority and organized a church. We maintain that the Church of Jesus Christ was established, as the Apostle Paul later wrote, for the perfection and unity of the saints (Ephesians 4:11–14).
  • We believe that Jesus’ teachings and His own matchless and perfect life provide a pattern for men and women to live by and that we must emulate that pattern as best we can to find true happiness and fulfillment in this life.
  • We believe Jesus suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane and that He submitted to a cruel death on the cross of Calvary, all as a willing sacrifice, a substitutionary atonement for our sins. That offering is made efficacious as we exercise faith and trust in Him; repent of our sins; are baptized by immersion as a symbol of our acceptance of His death, burial and rise to newness of life; and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:37–38; 3 Nephi 27:19–20). While no one of us can comprehend how and in what manner one person can take upon himself the effects of the sins of another or, even more mysteriously, the sins of all men and women — we accept and glory in the transcendent reality that Christ remits our sins through His suffering. We know it is true because we have experienced it personally. Further, we believe that He died, was buried and rose from the dead and that His resurrection was a physical reality. We believe that the effects of His rise from the tomb pass upon all men and women. “As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (Corinthians 15:22).
  • We do not believe that we can either overcome the flesh or gain eternal reward through our own unaided efforts. We must work to our limit and then rely upon the merits, mercy and grace of the Holy One of Israel to see us through the struggles of life and into life eternal (2 Nephi 31:19; Moroni 6:4). We believe that while human works are necessary— including exercising faith in Christ, repenting of our sins, receiving the sacraments or ordinances of salvation and rendering Christian service to our neighbors — they are not sufficient for salvation (2 Nephi 25:23; Moroni 10:32). We believe that our discipleship ought to be evident in the way we live our lives.

In essence, we declare that Jesus Christ is the head of the Church and the central figure in our theology.

How Are We Different?

Latter-day Saints do not accept the Christ that emerges from centuries of debates and councils and creeds. Over the years that followed the death and resurrection of the Lord, Christians sought to “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 1:3). We believe that the epistles of Paul, Peter, Jude and John suggest that the apostasy or falling away of the first-century Christian church was well underway by the close of the first century. With the deaths of the apostles and the loss of the priesthood, the institutional power to perform and oversee saving sacraments or ordinances, learn the mind of God and interpret scripture was no longer on earth. To be sure, there were noble men and women throughout the earth during the centuries that followed, religious persons of good will, learned men who sought to hold the church together and to preserve holy writ. But we believe that these acted without prophetic authority. 

In an effort to satisfy the accusations of Jews who denounced the notion of three Gods (Father, Son and Holy Ghost) as polytheistic, and at the same time incorporate ancient but appealing Greek philosophical concepts of an all-powerful moving force in the universe, the Christian church began to redefine the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. One classic work describes the intersection of Christian theology and Greek philosophy: “It is impossible for any one, whether he be a student of history or no, to fail to notice a difference of both form and content between the sermons on the Mount and the Nicene Creed. … The one belongs to a world of Syrian peasants, the other to a world of Greek philosophers. … The religion which our Lord preached … took the Jewish conception of a Father in heaven, and gave it a new meaning.” In short, “Greek Christianity of the fourth century was rooted in Hellenism. The Greek minds which had been ripening for Christianity had absorbed new ideas and new motives.”[i]

What is the result? Such Platonic concepts as the immutability, impassibility and timelessness of God made their way into Christian theology. (Yes, this is all true, but it’s ALL neurotypical madness, so what’s the point?) As one group of Evangelical scholars has stated: “Many Christians experience an inconsistency between their beliefs about the nature of God and their religious practice. For example, people who believe that God cannot change his mind sometimes pray in ways that would require God to do exactly that. And Christians who make use of the free will defense for the problem of evil sometimes ask God to get them a job or a spouse, or keep them from being harmed, implying that God should override the free will of others in order to achieve these ends. …

“These inharmonious elements are the result of the coupling of biblical ideas about God with notions of the divine nature drawn from Greek thought. The inevitable encounter between biblical and classical thought in the early church generated many significant insights and helped Christianity evangelize pagan thought and culture. Along with the good, however, came a certain theological virus that infected the Christian doctrine of God, making it ill and creating the sorts of problems mentioned above. The virus so permeates Christian theology that some have come to take the illness for granted, attributing it to divine mystery, while others remain unaware of the infection altogether.”[ii]

Latter-day Saints believe that the simplest reading of the New Testament text produces the simplest conclusion — that the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost are separate and distinct personages, that They are one in purpose. We feel that the sheer preponderance of references in the Bible would lead an uninformed reader to the understanding that God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost are separate beings. That is, one must look to the third- and fourth-century Christian church, not to the New Testament itself, to make a strong case for the Trinity. Sounds kind of sane, (for neurotypicals) n’est-ce-pas? 

Some Distinctive Contributions

What, then, can the Latter-day Saints contribute to the world’s understanding of Jesus Christ? What can we say that will make a difference in how men and women view and relate to the Savior?

Now for the bat crap crazy stuff:

The First Vision

Joseph Smith’s First Vision represents the beginning of the revelation of God in our day. President Gordon B. Hinckley has observed: “To me it is a significant and marvelous thing that in establishing and opening this dispensation our Father did so with a revelation of himself and of his Son Jesus Christ, as if to say to all the world that he was weary of the attempts of men, earnest through these attempts might have been, to define and describe him. … The experience of Joseph Smith in a few moments in the grove on a spring day in 1820, brought more light and knowledge and understanding of the personality and reality and substance of God and his Beloved Son than men had arrived at during centuries of speculation.”[iii] By revelation Joseph Smith came to know that the Father, Son and Holy Ghost constitute the Godhead. From the beginning Joseph Smith taught that the members of the Godhead are one in purpose, one in mind, one in glory, one in attributes and powers, but separate persons.[iv]

There was reaffirmed in the First Vision the fundamental Christian teaching — that Jesus of Nazareth lived, died, was buried and rose from the tomb in glorious immortality. In the midst of that light that shone above the brightness of the sun stood the resurrected Lord Jesus in company with His Father. Joseph Smith knew from the time of the First Vision that death was not the end, that life continues after one’s physical demise, that another realm of existence — a postmortal sphere — does in fact exist.

The Book of Mormon

Through the Book of Mormon, translated by Joseph Smith, came additional insights concerning the person and powers of Jesus the Christ. We learn that He is the Holy One of Israel, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (1 Nephi 19:10) and that through an act of infinite condescension He left His throne divine and took a mortal body (1 Nephi 11; Mosiah 3:5). We learn from the teachings of the Book of Mormon prophets that He was a man but much more than man (Mosiah 3:7–9; Alma 34:11), that He had within Him the powers of the Father, the powers of the Spirit (2 Nephi 2:8; Helaman 5:11), the power to lay down His life and the power to take it back up again.

Another prophet, Alma, contributed the unfathomable doctrine that the Redeemer would not only suffer for our sins, but that His descent below all things would include His suffering for our pains, our sicknesses and our infirmities, thus allowing Him perfect empathy — “that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities” (Alma 7:11–12). Truly, the Book of Mormon prophets bear repeated witness that the atonement of Christ is infinite and eternal in scope (2 Nephi 9:7; 25:16; Alma 34:11–12)

One could come away from a careful reading of the second half of the New Testament somewhat confused on the matter of grace and works, finding those places where Paul seems almost to defy any notion of works as a means of salvation (Romans 4:1–5; 10:1–4; Ephesians 2:8–10) but also those places where good works are clearly mentioned as imperative (Romans 2:6; James 2:14–20; Revelation 20:12–13). It is to the Book of Mormon that we turn to receive the balanced perspective on the mercy and grace of an infinite Savior on the one hand, and the labors and works of finite man on the other.

In the Book of Mormon, the sobering realization that no one of us can make it alone is balanced by a consistent statement that the works of men and women, including the receipt of the ordinances of salvation, the performance of duty and Christian acts of service — in short, being true to our part of the gospel covenant — though insufficient for salvation, are necessary. The prophets declared over and over that the day would come when people would be judged of their works, the works done “in their days of probation” (1 Nephi 15:32; 2 Nephi 9:44). That is, “all men shall reap a reward of their works, according to that which they have been — if they have been righteous they shall reap the salvation of their souls, according to the power and deliverance of Jesus Christ; and if they have been evil they shall reap the damnation of their souls, according to the power and captivation of the devil (Alma 9:28). In summary, the undergirding doctrine of the Book of Mormon is that we are saved by the grace of Christ “after all we can do” (2 Nephi 25:23), meaning above and beyond all we can do. As we come unto Christ by covenant, deny ourselves of ungodliness and love God with all our souls, His grace—His divine enabling power, not only to be saved in the ultimate sense but also to face the challenges of each day — is sufficient for us (Moroni 10:32).

The Book of Mormon has a high Christology; that is, the doctrine of Christ is thick and heavy on the pages of this scriptural record, and the testimony of the divinity of the Lord and Savior is powerful and direct. One cannot read the Book of Mormon and honestly come away wondering what the Latter-day Saints believe about the Divine Sonship. The Book of Mormon establishes clearly that “Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting himself to all nations” (Book of Mormon title page; 2 Nephi 26:12).

At the heart of the doctrine restored through Joseph Smith is the doctrine of the Christ. “The fundamental principles of our religion,” he observed, “are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that he died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it.”[v] The glorious news, the glad tidings is that Christ our Lord has come to earth, offered Himself as a ransom from sin and made available deliverance from death and hell. We rejoice in the message of redemption that fell from the lips of Old and New Testament prophets. More especially we exult in the realization that knowledge and truth and light and understanding concerning Jesus Christ — who He was, who He is and what marvels have come to pass through Him — have been delivered through additional scriptural records and modern prophetic utterances.

“Him Declare I Unto You”

One of the main reasons Latter-day Saints are often relegated to the category of cult of non-Christian is because we believe in scripture beyond the Bible. To be sure, we love the Bible. We cherish its sacred teachings and delight in reading and teaching it. We seek to conform our lives to its marvelous precepts. But we do not believe that the Bible contains all that God has spoken or will yet speak in the future.

Occasionally we hear certain Latter-day Saint teachings — like some of those concerning the Savior that I have detailed earlier — described as “unbiblical” or of a particular doctrine being “contradictory” to the Bible. Let’s be clear on this matter. The Bible is one of the books within our standard works, our scriptural canon, and thus our doctrines and practices are in harmony with the Bible. There are times, of course, when latter-day revelation provides clarification of additional information to the Bible. But addition to the canon is hardly the same as rejection of the canon. Supplementation is not the same as contradiction. All of the prophets, including the Savior Himself, brought new light and knowledge to the world; in many cases, new scripture came as a result of their ministry. That new scripture did not invalidate what went before nor did it close the door on subsequent revelation.

Most New Testament scholars believe that Mark was the first Gospel written and that Matthew and Luke drew upon Mark in the preparation of their Gospels. One tradition is that John the Beloved, aware of the teaching of the synoptics, prepared his Gospel in an effort to “fill in the gaps” and thus deal more with the great spiritual verities that his evangelistic colleagues chose not to include. How many people in the Christian tradition today would suggest that what Matthew or Luke did in adding to what Mark had written was illegal or inappropriate or irreverent? Do we suppose that anyone in the first century would have so felt?

Would anyone accuse Matthew or Luke or John of writing about or even worshipping a “different Jesus” because they were bold enough to add to what had been recorded already? Surely not. Why? Because Matthew and Luke and John were inspired for God, perhaps even divinely commissioned by the church to pen their testimonies.

If Luke (in the Gospel, as well as in Acts) or John chose to write of subsequent appearance of the Lord Jesus after His ascension into heaven, appearances not found in Mark or Matthew, are we prone to criticize, to cry foul? No, because these accounts are contained in the Christian canon, that collection of books that serves as the rule of faith and practice in the Christian world.

The authority of scripture is tied to its source. From our perspective, the living, breathing, ever-relevant nature of the word of God is linked not to written words, not even to the writing of Moses or Isaiah or Malachi, not to the four Gospels or the epistles of Paul, but rather to the spirit of prophecy and revelation that illuminated and empowered those who recorded them in the first place. The Bible does in fact contain much that can and should guide our walk and talk; it contains the word and will of the Lord to men and women in earlier ages, and its timeless truths have tremendous normative value for our day. But we do not derive authority to speak or act in the name of Deity on the basis of what God gave to His people in an earlier day.

Just how bold is the Latter-day Saint claim? In a letter to his uncle Silas, Joseph Smith wrote the following:

Why should it be thought a thing incredible that the Lord should be pleased to speak again in these last days for their salvation? Perhaps you may be surprised at this assertion that I should say ‘for the salvation of his creatures in these last days’ since we have already in our possession a vast volume of his word [the Bible] which he has previously given. But you will admit that the word spoken to Noah was not sufficient or Abraham. … Isaac, the promised seed, was not required to rest his hope upon the promises made to his father Abraham, but was privileged with the assurance of [God’s] approbation in the sight of heaven by the direct voice of the Lord to him. … I have no doubt but that the holy prophets and apostles and saints in the ancient days were saved in the kingdom of God. … I may believe that Enoch walked with God. I may believe that Abraham communed with God and conversed with angels. … And have I not an equal privilege with the ancient saints? And will not the Lord hear my prayers, and listen to my cries as soon [as] he ever did to theirs, if I come to him in the manner they did? Or is he a respecter of persons?[vi]

Latter-day Saints feel a deep allegiance to the Bible. It seems odd to us, however, to be accused of being irreverent or disloyal to the Bible when we suggest to the religious world that the God of heaven has chosen to speak again. Our challenge is hauntingly reminiscent of that faced by Peter, James, John or Paul when they declared to the religious establishment of their day that God had sent new truths and new revelations into the world, truths that supplemented and even clarified the Hebrew scripture. And what was the response of the Jews of the day? “Who do you think you are?” they essentially asked. “We have the Law and the Prophets. They are sufficient.” Any effort to add to or to take away from that collection of sacred writings was suspect and subject to scorn and ridicule. And so it is today.

A Willingness to Listen and Learn

A number of years ago a colleague and I traveled with two Evangelical Christian friends to another part of the country to meet with a well-known theologian, author and pastor/teacher in that area. We had read several of his books and had enjoyed his preaching over the years. As a part of an outreach effort to better understand those of other faiths (and to assist them to understand us a little better), we have visited such institutions as Notre Dame, Catholic University, Baylor, Wheaton College and various religious colleges and seminaries. We met this particular pastor and then attended his church services on both Sunday morning and Sunday evening and in both meetings were impressed with the depth and inspiration of his preaching.

The next day we met for lunch and had a wonderful two-hour doctrinal discussion. I explained that we had no set agenda, except that we had admired his writings and wanted to meet him. We added that we had several questions we wanted to pose in order to better understand Evangelical theology. I mentioned that as the dean of religious education (at that time), I oversaw the teaching of religion to some 30,000 young people at Brigham Young University and that I felt it would be wise for me to be able to articulate properly the beliefs of our brothers and sisters of other faiths. I hoped, as well, that they might make the effort to understand our beliefs so as to represent accurately what we teach.

Early in our conversation the minister said something like: “Look, anyone knows there are big difference between us. But I don’t want to focus on those differences. Let’s talk about Christ.” We then discussed the person of Jesus, justification by faith, baptism, sanctification, salvation, heaven, hell, agency and predestination, premortal existence and a number of other fascinating topics. We compared and contrasted, we asked questions and we answered questions. In thinking back on what proved to be one of the most stimulating and worthwhile learning experiences of our lives, the one thing that characterized our discussion, and the one thing that made the biggest difference, was the mood that existed there — a mood of openness, candor and a general lack of defensiveness. We knew what we believed, and we were all committed to our own religious tradition. But we were eager to learn where the other person was coming from. (Blah, blah, blah)

This experience says something to me about what can happen when men and women of good will come together in an attitude of openness and in a sincere effort to better understand and be understood. Given the challenges we face in our society — fatherless homes, child and spouse abuse, divorce, poverty, spreading crime and delinquency — it seems so foolish for men and women who believe in God, whose hearts and lives have been surrendered to that God, to allow doctrinal differences to prevent them from working together. Okay, you believe in a triune God, that the Almighty is a spirit and that He created all things ex nihilo. I believe that God is an exalted man, that He is a separate and distinct personage from the Son and the Holy Ghost. He believes in heaven, while she believes in nirvana. She believes that the Sabbath should be observed on Saturday, while her neighbor feels that the day of corporate worship should be on Friday. This one speaks in tongues, that one spends much of his time leading marches against social injustice, while a third believes that little children should be baptized. One good Baptist is a strict Calvinist, while another tends to take freedom of the will quite seriously. And so on, and so on.

Latter-day Saints do not believe that the answer to the world’s problems is ultimately to be found in more extravagant social programs or stronger legislation. Most or[S1] all of these ills have moral or spiritual roots. In the spirit of the brotherhood and sisterhood of humankind, is it not possible to lay aside theological differences long enough to address the staggering social issues in our troubled world? My recent interactions with men and women of various faiths have had a profound impact on me; they have broadened my horizons dramatically and reminded me — a sobering reminder we all need once in a while — that we are all sons and daughters of the same Eternal Father. We may never resolve our differences on the Godhead or the Trinity, on the spiritual or corporeal nature of Deity or on the sufficiency or inerrancy of the Bible, but we can agree that there is a God; that the ultimate transformation of society will come only through the application of moral and religious solutions to pressing issues; and that the regeneration of individual hearts and souls is foundational to the restoration of virtue in our communities and nations. One need not surrender cherished religious values or doctrines in order to be a better neighbor, a more caring citizen, a more involved municipal. (So rational! So Puritan!)

In addition, we can have lively and provocative discussion on our differences, and such interactions need not be threatening, offensive or damaging to our relationships. What we cannot afford to do, if we are to communicate and cooperate, is to misrepresent one another or ascribe ulterior motives. Such measures are divisive and do not partake of that Spirit that strengthens, binds and reinforces. President Gordon B. Hinckley said of the Latter-day Saints:

We want to be good neighbors; we want to be good friends. We feel we can differ theologically with people without being disagreeable in any sense. We hope they feel the same way toward us. We have many friends and many associations with people who are not of our faith, with whom we deal constantly, and we have a wonderful relationship. It disturbs me when I hear about any antagonisms. … I don’t think they are necessary. I hope that we can overcome them.[vii]

There is, to be sure, a risk associated with learning something new about someone else. New insights always affect old perspectives, and thus some rethinking, rearranging and restructuring of our worldview are inevitable. When we look beyond a man or a woman’s color or ethnic group or social circle or church or synagogue or mosque or creed or statement of belief, when we try our best to see them for who and what they are, children of the same God, something good and worthwhile happens to us, and we are thereby drawn into a closer union with the God of us all. (Okay, okay! Just stop!)

Conclusion

Jesus Christ is the central figure in the doctrine and practice of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He is the Redeemer.[viii] He is the prototype of all saved beings, the standard of salvation.[ix] Jesus explained that “no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). We acknowledge Jesus Christ as the source of truth and redemption, as the light and life of the world, as the way to the Father (John 14:6; 2 Nephi 25:29; 3 Nephi 11:11). We worship Him in that we look to Him for deliverance and redemption and seek to emulate His matchless life (D&C 93:12–20). Truly, as one Book of Mormon prophet proclaimed, “We talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, … that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins” (2 Nephi 25:26).

As to whether we worship a “different Jesus,” we say again: We accept and endorse the testimony of the New Testament writers. Jesus is the promised Messiah, the resurrection and the life (John 11:25), literally the light of the world (John 8:12). Everything that testifies of His divine birth, His goodness, His transforming power and His godhood, we embrace enthusiastically. But we also rejoice in the additional knowledge latter-day prophets have provided about our Lord and Savior. President Brigham Young thus declared that

we, the Latter-day Saints, take the liberty of believing more than our Christian brethren: we not only believe … the Bible, but … the whole of the plan of salvation that Jesus has given to us. Do we differ from others who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ? No, only in believing more.[x]

It is the “more” that makes many in the Christian world very nervous and usually suspicious of us. But it is the “more” that allows us to make a significant contribution in the religious world. Elder Boyd K. Packer observed: “We do not claim that others have no truth. … Converts to the Church may bring with them all the truth they possess and have it added upon.”[xi]

Knowing what I know, feeling what I feel and having experienced what I have in regard to the person and power of the Savior, it is difficult for me to be patient and loving toward those who denounce me as a non-Christian. But I am constrained to do so in the spirit of Him who also was misunderstood and misrepresented. While it would be a wonderful thing to have others acknowledge our Christianity, we do not court favor nor will we compromise our distinctiveness.

We acknowledge and value the good that is done by so many to bring the message of Jesus from the New Testament to a world that desperately needs it.

The First Presidency of the Church in 1907 made the following declaration: “Our motives are not selfish; our purposes not petty and earth-bound; we contemplate the human race, past, present and yet to come, as immortal beings, for whose salvation it is our mission to labor; and to this work, broad as eternity and deep as the love of God, we devote ourselves, now, and forever.”[xii]

Actually, it’s not some “Trinity doctrine thing” that “other Christians” care about (or know about) it’s the whacko “archaeology” of Mormon history and beliefs that put them at the top of the list of Bizarre Cult Fantasies, over and beyond those of New Age Cults and “Ancient Aliens”

Google: “Mormon Archaeology”

 

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From the Archives / Superstition, Mass Murder, Psychosis

Why am I “exposing” my thinking from many years ago? Because the frustration of “dealing with” social humans was so debilitating, that I turned to a “new” asset – writing, in order to make my unconscious internal conflict something that I could “analyze” in terms of the social structure that mystified me.

That is, I discovered that nature had equipped me with thinking skills that could unlock the prison of human self-created misery. It’s ironic, I suppose, that finally “finding” that Asperger people, by whatever “name” one calls them, do exist, and that I am one of them, has actually “softened” my opinion of social typicals; modern humans are products of their brain type and obsessive social orientation, due to “evolutionary” trends and directions that they cannot control. The same can be said for neurodiverse and neurocomplex Homo sapiens: adaptation is guided by the environment; adaptations can be temporarily positive, but fundamentally self-destructive. “Being” Asperger, and exploring what that entails, has gradually allowed me to “be myself” – and to gain insight into the advantages of cognitive detachment in understanding “humanity” – which contrary to psychologists, REQUIRES empathy – empathy that is learned and discovered by experience, and not by “magic”.  

___________________________________________________________________________________________

From the archives:

Nature exists with or without us.

The Supernatural Domain is delusional projection; therefore, it is prudent to assume that any and all human ideas and assumptions are incorrect until proven otherwise! 

The supernatural realm is a product of the human mind – and most of its contents have no correlation with physical reality. As for the content that does correspond, mathematics supplies the descriptive language that makes it possible for us to predict events and create technology that actually works. Whatever jump-started human brain power, the results have been spectacular – from hand axes to planetary probes, from clay pots to cluster bombs. Designing simple tools is fairly easy; a thrown spear either travels true or it doesn’t. Improvements can be made and easily tested until “it works.”

Human beings not only learn from each other, but we observe and copy the behavior of other animals. Useful knowledge can be extracted from nonliving sources, such as the ability of water to do work.

Responses to the environment that belong to the category of conscious thought, and which are expressed by means of language (words and symbols), I would identify as The Supernatural Realm – a kind of warehouse or holding area for ideas waiting to be tested in the physical environment. Problems arise when we fail to test ideas! 

The ability to imagine objects that simply cannot exist, such as human bodies with functional wings attached, is remarkable as a source of useful imagination and dangerous mistakes. Ideas that produce aqueducts, sanitation, medical treatments, or aircraft correlate to conditions of physical reality, and therefore move out of fantasy and into a body of real knowledge. This system of observation, along with trial and error, and the building of a catalogue of useful environmental skills is what has made human adaptation to nearly all environments on earth possible. Each generation has capitalized on the real world techniques of the ancestors, but what about the content of the supernatural that has no value as a description of reality and which if tested, fails miserably?

Ironically this lack of correlation to reality may be what makes some ideas impossible to pry loose from the majority of human minds. Some supernatural ideas can easily piggyback onto acts of force: the religion of the conqueror needs no explanation nor justification. It is imposed and brutally enforced. The fact that the human brain can accommodate mutually impossible universes leads to fantastic possibilities and enormous problems. Without self-awareness and discipline, the result is a continual battle over ideas that are utterly insubstantial, but which are pursued with the furor of blind emotion.

There is widespread belief in the supernatural as an actual place in the sky, under the earth, or all around us, existing in a dimension in which none of the familiar parameters of reality exist, and that it is inhabited by powerful beings that magically take on the physical form of people, ghosts, animals, space aliens, meddlers, mind readers, winged messengers, law givers, deliverers of punishment – who stage car wrecks (then pick and choose who will be injured or die in them), killer tornados, and volcanic eruptions. These spirits prefer to communicate via secret signs and codes which have become the obsession of many. These disembodied beings monitor and punish bad thoughts, hand out winning lottery tickets to those who pray for them, but alternately refuse “wins” to those who are equally needy and prayerful. They demand offerings of flowers, food, blood, and money and millions of lives sacrificed in wars.  

More people believe in a universe where nothing works, or can possibly work, except through the temperamental will of unseen inflated humans, than understand the simple principle of cause and effect. This failure, in a time of space probes that successfully navigate the solar system, indicates that something is functionally delusional in the human brain. The ability of our big brain to investigate the world, to imagine possible action, and to test ideas for working results is remarkable, but our inability to discard concepts that do not reflect how the world works, is bizarre and dangerous. Powerful technologies are applied without understanding how they work. The dire consequences are real. Superstition is the mistaken assignment of cause and effect. The election of leaders who are automated by supernatural ideas, and our frustration when they cannot produce results, is a disaster. The physical processes that drive reality trump all human belief. The destructive power of the richest nation on earth is handed over to a leader without a technical or science-based education, on the claim that his intentions are good and those of the enemy are evil. Does this not seem inadequate?

In the supernatural state of mind, intent guarantees results: Cause, effect, and consequences are nowhere to be seen.

Just where does sanity exist? is a question that still awaits a functional answer. As ideas are vetted and removed to a rational catalogue, which in the U.S. has become the domain of science and engineering, the supernatural realm becomes enriched in fantasy.

Unless children are taught to distinguish between the two, they merely add to a population that is increasingly unable to function. Countries that we arrogantly label as backward embrace science and engineering education. Why is that?

 

Anxiety Disorders / Stress is bad; why do we promote stress?

Journal of the American Osteopathic Assoc., March 2004 vol.104 S2-S5

http://jaoa.org/article.aspx?articleid=2092999

Diagnosis and Management of Anxiety Disorders

Charles Shelton, Doctor of Osteopathy

Before posting the article, I think it’s important to at least try to explain the difference between an MD and a DO. There is info online, but it’s not very clear except to say that the two are genuine medical doctors, but osteopathy has a different “philosophy and practice” style than “allopathic” medical doctors.

Info from the article: This article was developed from a lecture presented by Dr Shelton at a symposium sponsored by Wyeth Pharmaceuticals at the 108th Annual AOA Convention and Scientific Seminar on October 15, 2003, in New Orleans, La. Dr Shelton is a national speaker on the visiting speakers bureau of Wyeth Pharmaceuticals. He is also on the speakers bureaus of GlaxoSmithKline; Pfizer Inc; Cephalon, Inc; and Bristol-Myers Squibb Company. Dr Shelton is also on the CNS advisory panels of Pfizer Inc and Elan Pharmaceuticals.

What is a DO? From The American Osteopathic Assoc.

“Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine, or DOs, are fully licensed physicians who practice in all areas of medicine. Emphasizing a whole-person approach to treatment and care, DOs are trained to listen and partner with their patients to help them get healthy and stay well. (Comment; the average person might think that all doctors had some training in patient interaction, but as many of know from experience, apparently not!)

DOs receive special training in the musculoskeletal system, your body’s interconnected system of nerves, muscles and bones. (Hence osteo-bone) By combining this knowledge with the latest advances in medical technology, they offer patients the most comprehensive care available in medicine today.

Osteopathic physicians focus on prevention, tuning into how a patient’s lifestyle and environment can impact their wellbeing. DOs strive to help you be truly healthy in mind, body and spirit — not just free of symptoms. (See article for lists of pharmaceuticals “used for” each anxiety disorder)-

_____________

Abstract

Major anxiety disorders are more prevalent in women than in men. Although the tendency toward anxiety disorders appears familial, other factors such as environmental influences can play a role in the risk for anxiety. This clinical review focuses on the pathophysiologic basis for anxiety disorders. It provides brief overviews of panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and posttraumatic stress disorder. It also summarizes treatment options for patients with anxiety disorders. (Specific pharmaceuticals for each anxiety “type” may be informative IF you’ve been correctly diagnosed – a very big IF!)

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th ed. (Text Revision) (DSM-IV-TR)1 defines the five major anxiety disorders as social anxiety disorder (SAD), panic disorder (PD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Panic attacks, which represent an extreme form of anxiety, can occur in association with most of these anxiety disorders, though they are not typically associated with GAD. Lifetime prevalence rates of the major anxiety disorders range between approximately 3% (OCD) and 12% (SAD) and are approximately two times greater among women than among men.2,3

Pathophysiology of Anxiety Disorders

In the same way that behavioral traits are passed from parent to child, anxiety disorders tend to run through family structures. Studies comparing the risk of psychiatric illness in identical twins (who share 100% of their DNA) have found that in general, if one identical twin has a psychiatric condition, the risk that the other twin will have the same condition is approximately 50%.4 It therefore appears that nongenetic factors, including environmental influences occurring throughout the lifespan, must also contribute to the risk of developing an anxiety disorder.2,3

The human body attempts to maintain homeostasis at all times. Anything in the environment that disturbs homeostasis is defined as a stressor. Homeostatic balance is then reestablished by physiologic adaptations that occur in response to the stress response. (Comment: The dangerous American social belief that “superior humans” actually “thrive on more and more stress” is highly dysfunctional! The current idiotic belief is that the practice of increasing the stress that the average person must “deal with” every day, somehow (mystical natural selection) “improves” performance is abusive and a perversion of “survival of the fittest.” It’s DEADLY and accounts for the increase in poor health outcomes for Americans.  But if it increases profits – it “must be good”!

The stress response in humans involves a cascade of hormonal events, including the release of corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF), which, in turn, stimulates the release of corticotropin, leading to release of the stress hormones (glucocorticoids and epinephrine) from the adrenal cortex. The glucocorticoids typically exert negative feedback to the hypothalamus, thus decreasing the release of CRF.6

The stress response is hardwired into the brain of the typical mammal and is most often triggered when survival of the organism is threatened. The primate stress response, however, can be triggered not only by a physical challenge, but also by the mere anticipation of a homeostatic challenge. As a result, when humans chronically and erroneously believe that a homeostatic challenge is about to occur, they enter the realm of neurosis, anxiety, and paranoia. (Comment: This is not an “erroneous belief” – it is the purposeful and chronic state of the American social power structure to ensure that “homeostatic challenge” occurs 24/7. FEAR and conflict are promoted as the constant state of human reality by government and the media; by unstable employment and skewed presentations of threats from violence and crime via “news” programs and entertainment)

The amygdala is the primary modulator of the response to fear- or anxiety-inducing stimuli. It is central to registering the emotional significance of stressful stimuli and creating emotional memories.7 The amygdala receives input from neurons in the cortex. This information is mostly conscious and involves abstract associations. Being stuck in traffic, in a crowded shopping mall, or on an airplane may serve to trigger the anxiety response in a susceptible individual via this mechanism. (Comment: That’s almost every one; and “corporate policies” – ex. the airline industry – are pushing this stress to the MAX for passengers.)

The amygdala also receives sensory input that bypasses the cortex and thus tends to be subconscious. An example is that of a victim of sexual abuse who suddenly finds herself acutely anxious when interacting with a number of friendly people. It may take her a few moments to realize that characteristics of the individuals with whom she is interacting remind her of the person who abused her.

When activated, the amygdala stimulates regions of the midbrain and brain stem, causing autonomic hyperactivity, which can be correlated with the physical symptoms of anxiety. (You cannot “turn it off”) Thus, the stress response involves activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. This axis is hyperactive in depression and in anxiety disorders.8,9

Corticotropin-releasing factor, a 41 amino acid peptide, is a neurotransmitter within the central nervous system (CNS) that acts as a key mediator of autonomic, behavioral, immune, and endocrine stress responses. The peptide appears to be anxiogenic, depressogenic, and proinflammatory and leads to increased pain perception.10 γ-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) inhibits CRF release.6

Glucocorticoids activate the locus caeruleus, which sends a powerfully activating projection back to the amygdala using the neurotransmitter norepinephrine. The amygdala then sends out more CRF, which leads to more secretion of glucocorticoids, and a vicious circle of feedback between the mind (brain) and the body results.5 Repeated stimulation of the amygdala results in strengthened communication across its synapses with other regions of the brain (ie, long-term potentiation) (The damaging results of stress don’t go away, but are cumulative)

Prolonged exposure of the CNS to glucocorticoid hormones eventually depletes norepinephrine levels in the locus caeruleus. As norepinephrine is an important neurotransmitter involved in attention, vigilance, motivation, and activity, the onset of depression may subsequently occur. (Bad outcomes such as depression are PHYSICAL and not “hooky-spooky magic – psychology”)

Serotonin appears to be involved in the pathogenesis of anxiety disorders as well. Agents that enhance serotonin neurotransmission may stimulate hippocampal 5-HT1A receptors, thus promoting neuroprotection and neurogenesis and exerting an anxiolytic effect.11

GABA, the primary inhibitory neurotransmitter in the CNS, is another neurotransmitter believed to be inherently involved in the pathophysiology of anxiety disorders. Levels of GABA appear to be decreased in the cortex of patients with PD, compared with those in control subjects.12 Benzodiazepines facilitate GABA neurotransmission and therefore can improve anxiety. (Comment: This is where the “rubber meets the road” – the assumption that medication can “resolve” anxiety – it may effectively (or not) “mask symptoms” BUT pharmaceuticals “for brain pain” de facto create more problems in the form of side effects and changes to the brain – that’s  how they work. They change the brain; children’s’ brains are still developing! It’s a crap shoot for the individual taking the drug; it’s wildly uncontrolled testing on humans. Drugs do not REMOVE the source of stress that is causing anxiety! They OVERRIDE the brain-body alarm system, not only for “erroneous threats” but for actual threats such as toxic environments, unhealthy conflict-driven work environments, destructive relationships and anything that is “too stressful” in the person’s environment. They provide “negative adaptation” that allows for the damage to the person to continue. That said; in the immediate crisis of debilitating anxiety, benzodiazipines may be the only relief!) 

The remainder of the articles deals with the specific DSM disorders and “drug”  treatment …

 

 

Anxiety Disorders cont., / Panic Attacks, Panic Disorder

This is a continuation of post – Diagnosis and Management of Anxiety Disorders, by Charles Shelton, Doctor of Osteopathy. Dr Shelton is a national speaker on the visiting speakers bureau of Wyeth Pharmaceuticals. He is also on the speakers bureaus of GlaxoSmithKline; Pfizer Inc; Cephalon, Inc; and Bristol-Myers Squibb Company. Dr Shelton is also on the CNS advisory panels of Pfizer Inc and Elan Pharmaceuticals.

I’m using this article for reference because Dr. Shelton is obviously thoroughly embedded in the “Big Pharma” industry. I’m not concerned here with the wildly predatory “business” model of pharmaceuticals, but with the “drugs” that are “recommended” for treatment. Drug manufacturers are more conservative about which medications should – should not be prescribed for specific conditions than are many prescribers! Instructions and warnings are included with medications, which are so “legally protective” that reading them is often skipped – by prescribers! They go by what the drug sales rep. tells them; it’s an incredibly careless system; a crap shoot that depends on the integrity of your prescriber.

I’m not giving “medical advice” but clarifying some pitfalls in the “game” of American healthcare, based on a lifetime of experience with the “mental” healthcare system.

WARNING: Your prescriber may be ignorant of drug “chemistry” – side effects, conflicts between different drugs when taken together, or may simply be “pill happy” – the “try this” scenario of passing out pharmaceutical samples and adding more, more, more drugs. Do not trust a “randomly-assigned” prescriber – always read the side effects and other warnings: ask THE PHARMACIST about the drug’s potential for harm and any other concerns.


Back to the article:

“In general, individuals with PD may see up to ten practitioners before a correct diagnosis is made, have continuous increases in health care utilization spanning 10 years before diagnosis, and have a 5 to 8 times greater likelihood of being high users of health care.”

Now that’s a great confidence-producing set of statistics! What arrogance to claim that this dismal record indicates “expert” knowledge on the part of the psychology-psychiatry-therapy healthcare system.

Panic Attacks

Figure 1. Agents used in pharmacotherapy for panic disorder.

As discussed, panic attacks, defined as discrete periods of sudden symptom onset usually peaking in 10 minutes, can occur with most anxiety disorders.

The DSM-IV-TR criteria for panic attack are as follows: palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate; sweating; trembling or shaking; sensations of shortness of breath or smothering; feeling of choking; chest pain or discomfort; nausea or abdominal distress; feeling dizzy, unsteady, lightheaded, or faint; derealization (feelings of unreality) or depersonalization (being detached); fear of losing control or going crazy; fear of dying; paresthesias; chills or hot flushes; one or more unexpected panic attacks. (?)

A “PA” is a single event; it may have one of many “causes” and occur only once or infrequently. To be a disorder, it must meet criteria below. One attack does not constitute a disorder. It is always a good idea to be checked out by a MEDICAL doctor first, to rule out a physical condition before consulting a “therapist” of unknown quality.

Panic disorder: at least 1 month of worry, including change in cognition or behavior;     presence or absence of agoraphobia; or attacks not accounted for by another mental disorder, or general medical condition. That’s pretty vague! It’s obvious HOW EASY it is for a “potential patient or client” to meet the requirements and to be diagnosed – a real profit bonus for “assembly line” type therapists and clinics!

Panic attacks must be differentiated from PD. Panic disorder as defined by the DSM-IV-TR includes: recurrent unexpected panic attacks; and at least one of the attacks has been followed by 1 month (or more) of one or more of the following:

persistent concern about having additional attacks; worry about the implications of the attacks or their consequences (eg, losing control, having a heart attack, going crazy); or a significant change in behavior related to the attacks.

In general, individuals with PD may see up to ten practitioners before a correct diagnosis is made, have continuous increases in health care utilization spanning 10 years before diagnosis, and have a 5 to 8 times greater likelihood of being high users of health care.

Now that’s a great confidence-producing set of statistics! What arrogance to claim that this dismal record indicates “expert” knowledge on the part of the healthcare system.

_______________________________________________

What really is a “panic attack”? It’s the activation of the “fight, flight or freeze” response. 

Myriad papers and articles about panic attacks are fairly repetitive:

1. There is no “real danger” present in the environment (at the time of that attack) that would justify the “extreme or “over” reaction.

2. Therefore, the PA is an abnormal event. The trigger is a memory of a prior experience with similar conditions (crowds, etc) that has “taken over” the response by the fight, flight freeze system. “Phobia”.

3. The PA is “illegitimate” given the benign circumstances that “actually” exist at the time of the PA.

4. The FFF system will shut down and return to “normal” in 10 minutes, so don’t “panic”!

5. Underlying these assumptions is the “belief” that the FFF response is an “animal thing” – that is, designed for wild environments and encounters between predator and prey. It’s “archaic” in essence; not suited to “modern life” but resurrected if a person is in “real danger” – a physical attack, natural disaster, an accident. Otherwise, the modern “environment” is safe, benign, non-threatening. HAH!

6. The descriptions are subtly judgmental: WOMEN are more likely to experience PA and anxiety than men, therefore the “cause” must be the unstable female psyche! (Hormones) Her system is “broken” – abnormal or damaged, which is a traditional view of “being female”.

Well! What does this indicate? Conditions that were “present” during a traumatic experience (example: a child being locked in a closet as punishment for “bad behavior” in a social situation) are not “imaginary” – confronting similar conditions (a crowded  event in which “good behavior” is a social requirement) are not imaginary: this is a normal fight, flight or freeze function. If a prey animal “survives” a predation event by the automatic physiological response of “OMG! I’m gonna die – run like Hell” OF COURSE it will “remember” the situation; it learns by the experience. If it simply “forgot” the experience, it probably would not survive for long. This is unconscious  processing: it’s the same in humans. These deep survival mechanisms did not go away because in our “imagination” we are no longer “truly animals” but live in wonderful cities and suburbs safe from natural consequences.

Why women? Because females are prey animals: females are “trapped” as the objects of sexual predation, violence and psychological imprisonment in “belief systems” that classify females as “lesser beings.” Females must repress “survival” behavior in order to survive.

Any child who has been traumatized by a single “life-threatening” event, or subjected to chronic abuse, is a candidate for ANXIETY which is the anticipation of both the horrible event reoccurring and the physical response of fight, flight or freeze, which is a frightening physical response. “Life and Death”

Telling a person who has a “panic attack” that it’s not real, or serious, or that it’s all in the mind, or that it will “go away” in ten minutes, or that they are being “a baby” or that they are weak, or are a “social embarrassment” is cruel. Saying these things in effect devalues the original trauma as “unimportant or imaginary” – telling him or her that they ARE CRAZY. This is stimulus for more anxiety and painful behavior.

Underlying the very high rates of “pathology” in American culture is the principle belief in, and unshakeable use of, punishment for any and all “social disobedience”  – from serious crime to the crime of simply being “a child.” Brutality, whether or not it’s physical or psychological, is held to be an “American Virtue”.

Researchers can fiddle with “the brain” AFTER THE FACT that the developing child brain has been compromised by maltreatment during pregnancy, premature birth, horrific medical intervention, abusive parents, malnourishment or neglect, or the prevalent (although denied) guidepost of spare the rod, spoil the child –  but this is madness: the origin of “disorder” is the diehard belief that brutality “toughens people” “produces superior individuals” especially males, and that life is a competition for “promoting one’s DNA”. This perversion means that only predators “win” –

Whoopee! More hypotheses, more studies, more verbiage, more funding, more denial that human on human predation causes damage to individuals, societies and the degeneration of Homo sapiens as a viable species.

A paper that flogs the obvious: Hyperventilation accompanies and exacerbates panic attacks.

Respir Physiol Neurobiol. 2009 May 30;167(1):133-43. doi: 10.1016/j.resp.2008.07.011. Epub 2008 Jul 25.

Panic disorder and control of breathing.

Abstract

Anxiety disorders, particularly panic disorder (PD), are associated with respiratory abnormalities. PD consists of unexpected panic attacks (PA) with anxiety, fear and many autonomic and respiratory symptoms. There is a substantial body of literature demonstrating that stimulation of respiration is a common event in panic disorder patients during PA. A number of abnormalities in respiration, such as enhanced CO(2) sensitivity, have been detected in PD patients. As a result, some investigators advanced that there is a fundamental abnormality in the physiological mechanisms that control breathing in PD. Studies indicate that PD patients with dominant respiratory symptoms are particularly sensitive to respiratory tests compared with those who do not manifest dominant respiratory symptoms, possibly representing a distinct subtype. Accumulated evidence suggests that respiratory physiology remains normal in PD patients and that their tendency to hyperventilate and to react with panic to respiratory stimulants like CO(2) represents the triggering of a hypersensitive fear network. However, some recent evidences support the presence of subclinical abnormalities in respiration and other functions related to body homeostasis. The fear network, composed by the hippocampus, the medial prefrontal cortex, the amygdala and its brainstem projections, may be abnormally sensitive in PD patients. This theory might explain why both medication and psychosocial therapies are clearly effective. The evidence of abnormalities in several neurochemical systems might be just the expression of the complex interactions among brain circuits. Our aim was to review the relationship between respiration and panic disorder, addressing the respiratory subtype of panic disorder, the hyperventilation syndrome, the respiratory challenge tests, the current mechanistic concepts and the pharmacological implications.

 

 

JudeoChristian Morality / Torture children, just as the Bible commands

If any man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey his father or his mother, and when they chastise him, he will not even listen to them, then his father and mother shall seize him, and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gateway of his home town. And they shall say to the elders of his city, “This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey us, he is a glutton and a drunkard.” Then all the men of his city shall stone him to death; so you shall remove the evil from your midst, and all Israel shall hear of it and fear.

The Bible is a pathological human-hating document that advocates unbelievable levels of brutality and injustice. Where do people think child abuse comes from?

The people of Samaria must bear their guilt, because they have rebelled against their God. They will fall by the sword; their little ones will be dashed to the ground, their pregnant women ripped open. (Hosea 13:16)

Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey. (1 Samuel 15:3)

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More Mind Boggling Neurotypical Beliefs

I want to be frank about neurotypical beliefs that I find shocking. I attribute my reactions to having a “real world” factual and concrete Asperger brain, although I can’t say that every person diagnosed Asperger would share my reactions. We are individuals, with our own ways of seeing and interpreting the environment.

These strange beliefs have to do with death, revenge and punishment.

An jetliner vanishes over an ocean. Exhaustive searches take place long past the time interval that any passenger could survive under the best of conditions; the possibility is zero. Speculation goes on and on for months. Miracles are deemed possible: soon the airplane with everyone alive will materialize “out of the blue” due to  supernatural intervention caused by prayer. The families cannot accept that their loved ones have died. They become angry if they don’t receive a body; they must have a body to prove that the person is dead, otherwise they can’t achieve “closure.”

I’m not indifferent to suffering; I’ve lost family members and it has taken years to reexamine my relationships – this process toward understanding will continue until I die. “Closure” is a strange idea.

The quantum state of undetermined reality seems to be a factor in human thinking.

The quantum state of undetermined reality seems to be a factor in human thinking.

What baffles me is the state of limbo in which dead people remain for an extended time, that is, in the mind of the survivors; as if the person is in limbo in a quantum state: is he or she dead or alive? Only Schrodinger’s cat knows. It’s as if the person doesn’t die until the wreckage is found and bodies are identified, despite the overwhelming evidence that all on board died weeks or months ago. These traditions and beliefs run deep. The “quantum dead” effect is simply strange. 

A closely related belief is that “the remains” of a person contain an “essence” that can be recovered if the bones can be located and returned to descendants, or to a specific location. The act of placing the remains in a designated cemetery where “the person” can be visited, is believed to “honor” the dead and to confirm an event that happened decades before. This is an old tradition based in magic: bones are believed to possess contagious magical power. The Middle Ages were awash in the relics of saints, Kings, Queens and other powerful folk, and existing shrines are mobbed by pilgrims to this day. This tradition as deeply human, but I think it is healthy to accept that when the body dies, the person dies. What remains are memories.

What shocks me the most is that nations make a great display of “honoring” dead soldiers, but fail to honor living soldiers who have paid an enormous price in physical and mental trauma. 

Any person who dies unexpectedly, due to an accident or a crime, immediately becomes the “best person who ever lived.” This story-making is repeated over and over again, and I think much of the blame goes to the media’s intent on ambushing the victim’s family just as they receive the tragic news.

Regardless of circumstance, according to family and friends, the dead person was a great humanitarian who loved the world, was kind, helpful, generous, and if religious, a dedicated member of the faith. Pretty remarkable life history for anyone, and in some cases attributable to expected social exaggeration, but by repetition these fictions become true in the minds of many. What if a long history of drug abuse, criminal activity, domestic abuse or a willingness to “con” family members emerges? The person remains a saint: is this denial, face-saving, shame? Does a social “law” exist that says only “good people” can be mourned (only good people count.) Why must people lie about loved ones?

As an Asperger, I believe that everyone counts; each human life ought to be acknowledged and absorbed into the pageant that is humanity. 

Revenge and punishment = justice. This is a tough one; revenge is an impulse that can destroy a fair legal system, and needs to be recognized for what it is: magical thinking. The American system is highly variable, with laws, criminal prosecution and periods of incarceration in a “correctional institution” determined state by state. Other crime and punishment is controlled by the Federal courts. It is not these idiosyncratic systems that I can address.

Revenge as a driver of human behavior is familiar, and is a major cause of wars large and small, and drives conflict between ethnic, cultural and religious groups; between families, businesses etc. The resolution of conflict in many cultures was/is a matter of payment in kind: your uncle looses control and kills a man he suspects of cheating him. That man’s family vows revenge – kill the uncle! But an arrangement is made to “pay for” the death. This may seem cold or unfair to the victim, but the victim is already dead. Nothing will bring him back. Why should the living be dragged into an endless cycle of violence?

In the U.S., the victim’s family, friends, communities, law enforcement and the legal system demand “justice” for the victim, but what does this mean? In the U.S. Justice translates to conviction of an offender(s) and a long prison sentence. Life without parole has become a standard “request” for many crimes, the exact nature of which varies wildly from state to state and between jurisdictions. Often this results in solitary confinement; some prisoners endure this inhumane punishment for years, based on the demands of the victim’s family, the judge’s personal opinion of the offender, and judgments made by employees of the prison where the offender is kept. Many prisoners are denied parole well beyond the expected time period, due to the ongoing demands of the victim’s family. We might also note that in the American system, the mentally ill and developmentally disabled are included in the criminal class.

The magical (and subjective) aspect of this arbitrary system is that punishment meted out to the convicted criminal (assuming he or she is actually guilty) is believed to provide “something” for the victim and family. This can only be a retroactive supernatural satisfaction, injury or death cannot be magically erased. And yet, the prevailing belief is that suffering on the victim’s part can be “canceled” by imposing suffering on the “guilty.”

If this imposition of punishment, which is believed to be a deterrent to citizens committing crimes, were effective in the real world, then why has the incarceration rate in the U.S. skyrocketed? The creation of laws that criminalize selective nonviolent behavior has had a huge impact on minorities. Lack of sufficient education leads to unemployment and a new economic slavery. The resurgence of religious influence on government policy has contributed to a legal system bent on revenge and imprisonment that conveniently removes millions of citizens from normal lives. And in true American fashion, this magical revenge-punishment cycle is highly profitable.

_______________Some historical background

We can readily see that Puritan beliefs and attitudes condition our social policies today.

Just as in Europe, physical punishment was common in colonial America. Americans used stocks, pillories, branding, flogging, and maiming—such as cutting off an ear or slitting nostrils—to punish offenders. The death penalty was used frequently. In 1636 the Massachusetts Bay Colony listed thirteen crimes that warranted execution, including murder, practicing witchcraft, and worshipping idols. In early New York State, 20% of offenses, including pickpocketing, horse stealing, and robbery, were capital crimes.

Jails were used to hold prisoners awaiting trial or sentencing or as debtors’ prisons, but were not the punishment itself. The Puritans of Massachusetts believed that humans were naturally depraved, which made it easier for some of the colonies and the first states to enforce harsh punishments. In addition, since Puritans believed that humans had no control over their fate (predestination), so there was no possibility of  rehabilitation.

Pennsylvania

The Quakers, led by William Penn, made colonial Pennsylvania an exception to the harsh practices often found in the other colonies. The early criminal code of colonial Pennsylvania abolished executions for all crimes except homicide, replaced physical punishments with imprisonment and hard labor, and did not charge the prisoners for their food and housing.

Ideas of the Enlightenment

The philosophy of the Enlightenment (the Age of Reason) emphasized the importance of the individual. After the French Revolution of 1789, which was based on the ideas of the Enlightenment, western European countries abolished torture as a form of punishment and emphasized that the punishment should fit the individual’s crime(s). Rather than inflicting pain as the main element of correction, the idea of changing the individual became the goal. The French Revolution, however, also introduced the guillotine, a sophisticated beheading machine.

In England, John Howard (1726–90) wrote The State of the Prisons in England and Wales (1777), in which he described the horrible treatment of prisoners. Howard thought that prisoners should not be harassed by keepers who extorted from them, nor should they have to suffer malnutrition and disease. He advocated segregating prisoners by age, sex, and type of crime; paying the staff; hiring medical officials and chaplains; and supplying prisoners with adequate food and clothing.

Howard called the facilities “penitentiaries” (from the word “penitent,” meaning to be ashamed or sorry for committing a sin or offense) because he based his ideas on the Quakers’ philosophy of people repenting, reflecting on their sins, and changing their ways. Public concern led the British Parliament to pass the Penitentiary Act of 1779; it called for the first secure and sanitary penitentiary. The law eliminated the charging of fees. Prisoners would live in solitary confinement at night and work together silently during the day. Nonetheless, although Parliament passed the law, it did not actually go into effect until the opening of Pentonville Penitentiary in North London

http://www.libraryindex.com

raceinc

____________________One In Nine U.S. Prisoners Are Serving Life Sentences, Report Finds

by Nicole Flatow Posted on September 19, 2013 at 2:38 pm

A new report by The Sentencing Project finds that one in every nine prisoners is serving a life sentence, and the number of such prisoners has more than quadrupled since 1984. Nearly a third of those serving life sentences will never have a chance at a parole hearing. This accounting doesn’t even include the countless others who have effective life sentences, either because they are sentenced to very long terms such as 120 years, or because they sentenced to very long terms such as 120 years, or because they are sentenced later in life to terms that effectively mean death in prison.

The report includes a series of remarkable facts about the demographics of those serving life sentences:

  • The population of prisoners serving life without parole (LWOP) has risen more sharply than those with the possibility of parole: there has been a 22.2% increase in LWOP since just 2008, an increase from 40,1745 individuals to 49,081.
  • Approximately 10,000 lifers have been convicted of nonviolent offenses, including more than 2,500 for a drug offense and 5,400 for a property crime.
  • Nearly half of lifers are African American and 1 in 6 are Latino.
  • More than 10,000 life-sentenced inmates have been convicted of crimes that occurred before they turned 18 and nearly 1 in 4 of them were sentenced to LWOP.

 

 

 

The Odyssey, Irma and related thoughts

Still using library internet access…

Ordered new computer, but waiting for delivery – could be 10 more days. I’m beginning to FREAK OUT! WHY? Not because I have some “pathological” Asperger attachment to habit or objects – it’s the tool I need to communicate “what’s going on” in my “unconscious visual processing” in the primary language of “social reality” – words. 

I’m lucky to live in a time and place where this arrangement is possible: a reclusive existence in wild Wyoming, but with the ability to express my thoughts to a mysterious “global” world – unknown people from every part of the planet continue to “tune in” (maybe by accident?) It is “mind-boggling” from my point of view from the “Frontier” which lacks modern social development and material abundance.

I’m momentarily fed up with rereading JUNG: do psychologists actually “like” or approve of any human beings (even themselves?) It is quite revealing how with time and experience, one’s view of “standard ideas” is changed and reviewed.

I try to reread the Iliad and the Odyssey on alternate years, so have taken the opportunity to read the Odyssey – coincidentally, while half-listening to coverage of hurricane Irma… (many reactions and thoughts, which will have to wait) but having to do with how modern people see Nature, and how cultural values are shaped as a consequence; very “odd” feelings and ideas which in turn shape our behavior! 

My fascination with both books goes deep: the two are foundations for much of my “introverted” thinking about culture, history and admirable human codes of behavior and interaction that have fallen into forgetfulness: PLUS these are highly dense visual presentations that “speak to me” like few others. At times, the “visual” descriptions come so fast and furious, that I can’t keep up my brain processing speed to match, and I must linger over those descriptions, which “tell me” so much about the people of that time. And which, in a way, make me “homesick”.

AND – Once again (Irma event) I am utterly appalled by the ignorance (as in ignoring the entire subject) of Americans concerning the processes and reality of “geology” in its true scope – a study which reveals How the earth, oceans, atmosphere and “cosmic” location WORK!

American “education” is the “manmade”  disaster that cripples reasonable and effective behavior!

Hmmm. Someone has brought a screaming toddler, possibly named Irma, into the library… time to “evacuate”.

 

 

 

Magical Thinking / Failed Drug Policy

The War on Dugs: result – an exponential increase in drug use, drug trafficking, drug-related crime, drug-related incarceration, prescription drug abuse by doctors and patients.

ondcp-infographicv2

Drug Reform Policy demonstrates the disaster of magical thinking: The above policy statements belong to the supernatural dimension, that is, they are concepts devoid of concrete direction and application and rely on the belief that words create reality. These statements of policy are not new; we have heard these pronouncements over and over, handed down like the Ten Commandments by an elite ruling class who are convinced that their abstractions have the weight of divine power. In fact, the reliance on meaningless verbiage has resulted in catastrophe.

To begin with, the basis for policy is unproven.

1. Drug use is caused by a lack of education. Really? Schools have been inundated with information about drugs for 40 years. How’s that working?

2. Expand access to treatment? Establish more rehab programs like the ones that we already have, which create a profitable cycle of failure and return to rehab for the addict? Or the default ‘treatment program’ of incarceration?

3. Reform the Criminal Justice system? This is outrageous. The Criminal Justice system is one of the primary vehicles of social engineering in the U.S. Why would the elite who profit from selective application of ‘justice’ wish to change it?

4. Support? With money, a pat on the back, a brochure, a poster, a speech, a photo op? Lift the stigma? Words, words, words. Support is one of those words that is popular because it’s a vague substitute for concrete action.

money-war-drugs-infographic-11-30

change-in-us-incarceration-rate

The most popular  drug “treatment” program in the U.S. is incarceration.

What is going on with policymakers?

1. The ‘policymakers’ suffer from magical thinking, which is in this case, the belief that INTENT is sufficient to produce a result. It’s the Abracadabra effect. Words communicate intent, therefore words create real results.

2. The policymakers are cynical. They don’t believe in what they are saying, and write nice progressive policy while laughing at dumb citizens.

3. The War on Drugs is big business: individuals, corporations, lobbyists, consultants and contractors are sharing a boatload of cash: 15.6 billion dollars / year. Why would anyone involved want to end the war?

The war on poverty is the perfect partner in social engineering, and like the war on drugs, policy has created a permanent poverty class.

 aclu-imprisonment

 

 

Conceptual Contamination / Paleoanthropology

I keep hammering away at “conceptual contamination” for a reason. Archaic Biblical notions are embedded in JudeoChristian cultures, never really go away, and wind up in the minds and works of scientists.

Most blatantly as the long-standing convention that every ‘researcher’ in the “human evolution community” gets to create one species in his/her own image. The assumption is rampant that the goal of 3.5 billion years of evolution was to produce Homo sapiens sapiens, specifically EuroAmerican white males, as the perfect representation of God on Earth.

I’m not alone in being peevish about this:

Gregor Mendel, Geneticist and Augustinian Monk

Gregor_Mendel

Anat Rec. 2002 Feb 15;269(1):50-66.

Morphology-based systematics (MBS) and problems with fossil hominoid and hominid systematics.

Author information

  • 1Division of Vertebrate Zoology, American Museum of Natural History, New York, NY 10024, USA. est@amnh.org

Abstract

The generalized/primitive nature of the hominoid dentition and often fragmentary nature of fossils, coupled with enthusiastic optimism for making revolutionary finds, has wreaked havoc with recognition of early human ancestors and reconstruction of fossil hominoid phylogeny. As such, the history of paleoanthropology is one of repeated misidentification of fossil ancestors and of occasional fraud. Although this history has led many workers to lose confidence in morphology based systematics (MBS), past and present misidentifications are actually due to a disregard of systematic methodology. Systematics depends on the continuity of life and gains its objectivity largely from the order alpha taxonomy imposes on morphologic discontinuities in closely related taxa (i.e., species and genera). Transformation of characters fixed in species into character complexes, as manifested in taxa nested at different levels of relationship, form the foundation for higher-level taxonomy and for phylogeny. Because in most cases, hominoid fossils are unable to provide the data needed to resolve alpha taxonomy, classification and phylogeny of fossil taxa must be guided by analogies to living taxa. Hominid and hominoid fossil taxonomy and phylogeny, however, has been based largely on pre-evolutionary notions and on misinterpretations of the polarity of assumed diagnostic characters. More often than not, fossils lack resolution for the taxonomic level or rank they are assigned to and taxa are erected without appropriate analogies to living forms. As such, phylogenies based on these classifications are unlikely to be correct. More in-depth anatomical studies that are in accordance with systematic methodology are likely to hold the key to correctly classifying fossils and unraveling hominoid and hominid phylogeny.

PMID: 11891624 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE] Full article available online