Wednesday, 30 July 2014

The Conversion Experience

This is a post some people may not like, as I know many people are not fans of Derren Brown the magician/illlusionist/what ever else you may call him. However, I think he has an uncanny ability to demonstrate to people just how strong the mind is at either deceiving itself or reaffirming something it already believes (or really wants to believe).

In fact if you have 45 minutes to spare I would certainly recommend watching the embedded video. In this video you can see how Derren uses the power of suggestion to bring about a spiritual experience in an atheist (its staggered throughout the show). What makes it even more interesting is that this person was chosen after another test in which it was shown that said person is highly sceptical of spiritual experiences, she is an atheist after all.

What bothers me about this is that it is clearly these types of methods (not the exact tricks Derren was using) that priests/rabbis/imams use to create spiritual experiences in their flock. Unfortunately, I do not think that most of these spiritual leaders actually know what they are doing. Rather they are just repeating what they saw their teachers doing. On the other hand, you also get the people that are very well aware of what they are doing. They know how they are manipulating people to get money or whatever else they want.

This form of mind control is surely not ethical. Which is not what one would expect from an organization that is determined to save the world from its moral problems. In fact, if these really were ethical organizations then surely they would try to do scientific studies, so as to eliminate such abuses of the power of suggestion. Or do these organizations realize that they should not be interfering with their cash cow, even if it is highly unethical.

Note: Mind control I am referring to here, is the power of suggestion to influence people. I am not talking about special radio waves sent out by the United Nations to make everyone buy genetically modified food.