Mystery of Being...
Scientists using the latest inventions to probe into the vistas of space and our oceans to find out what makes things tick are now probing the lobes of the human brain only to discover that the very instrument (the mind) from which we use to sort truth from lies, or fact from fiction, is hard-wired to turn the very truth/facts we are looking for into lies. Science is beginning to discover what ancient wise men have known for a long time, that the heart, the mind, the sub conscience is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. It is so depraved that I doubt that natural man can know it. And it seems that this piece of real estate inside our cranium, namely, our brain wherein our minds function is wired to conceive, believe, and live comfortably with lies. Science has now confirmed it.
A study done at the prestigious Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia by Dr. Drew Westen and a team of psychologists found that Democrat and Republican voters are equally skilled at manipulating information in their minds to support the candidate of their choice. This, of course, has been known by most of us; but what we may not be aware of is that our minds are actually wired to work at deceiving ourselves. It will even reward us if we succeed in doing so.
Researchers asked Democrats and Republicans to evaluate information that threatened their preferred candidate prior to the 2004 presidential election. The subjects' brains were monitored with an fMRI (functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) machine while they thought about the negative information. The partisans first read a statement from the candidate of choice (Bush or Kerry). The first statement was followed by a second statement that documented a clear contradiction between the candidate's words and deeds, generally suggesting that the candidate was dishonest or pandering.
After the subjects had made up their minds, brain activity ceased in the areas that deal with negative emotions, such as disgust, and the activity in areas that involve reward sharply increased, a response that Westen said "was similar to an addict getting a fix." He went on to say that "There were no increases in the part of the brain that controlled reasoning. They were not taking the information given to them and logically thinking it through.
"The finding suggests that the emotion-driven processes that lead to biased judgments likely occur outside of awareness, and are distinct from normal reasoning processes when emotion is not so heavily engaged," said Dr. Westen.
"The investigators hypothesize that emotionally biased reasoning leads to the stamping in or reinforcement of a defensive belief, associating the participant's revisionist account of the data with positive emotion or relief and elimination of distress. The result is that partisan beliefs are calcified, and the person can learn very little from new data." said Dr. Westen.
"Essentially, it appears as if partisans twirl the cognitive kaleidoscope until they get the conclusions they want, and then they get massively reinforced for it with the elimination of the negative emotions and activation of positive ones," Westen told Live Science.
"We did not see any increased activation of the parts of the brain normally engaged during reasoning," said Dr. Westen, director of clinical psychology at Emory University. "What we saw instead was a network of emotion circuits lighting up, including circuits believed to be involved in regulating emotion, and circuits known to be involved in resolving conflicts."
Both Republicans and Democrats came to biased conclusions by ignoring facts which could not be rationally disregarded, according to Weston and his associates. After they came to their conclusions, those areas of the brain that dealt with negative emotions went dormant. However, the brain was highly active in the parts that dealt with rewards. The pattern was very similar to what a drug addict would register after getting a fix, as mentioned above.
It seems reasoning, logic, and love for the truth, was not a part of the Democrats or Republicans consideration as they were making their decisions. One would think that during such activity, the dorsolateral, prefrontal cortex of the brain, which is associated with reasoning, would have been quite active during the exercise. It was not.
We all would like to believe that we are basically honest. At least, we would like others to think that of us. Usually, we get along better in life if we can convince others that they can trust us. But scientific evidence seems to indicate we lie and believe our lies much more than we care to acknowledge especially about many things that are important to us like our political and religious views.
Have you ever been in a political or religious discussion with someone and felt you were talking to a brick wall? Every fact you presented to support your view was either conveniently ignored or twisted in such a way to support his or her view and negate yours. This is because they were hardwired to believe otherwise, even if it was clearly exposed as being a lie. And Dr. Westen, and his team of psychologists seem to have come up with some hard data proving the old adage, "Don't confuse me with the facts, my mind is already made up." Our minds, based upon Weston's research, are wired more as a firewall safety device to minimize stress and anxiety for us than being honest to ourselves, others, and even to our God. We may claim to be rational beings, especially if we esteem ourselves to be intellectuals or spiritually enlightened, but more often than not, we are not. Except for a small percentage of people, it holds true, as we have heard it said: Once a Democrat always a Democrat, once a Republican always a Republican, once a Baptist always a Baptist, once a Catholic always a Catholic, once an atheist always an atheist, etcetera.
Source: "Emory Study Lights Up the Political Brain" an article by Emory
Some points we can take from this study:
Knowing an individual's predisposition towards any particular view proved to be a perfect predictor of what their ultimate decision would be 84 per cent of the time. In other words, their minds were already made up, and no amount of facts was going to change them. Furthermore, their minds would actually manipulate the information that is contradictory to what they already believe in such a way that it conforms to their preconceived beliefs after they are finished processing it.
The study did not get involved with how the mind becomes programed or hard-wired towards particular beliefs and mind-sets. But I imagine much cement, so to speak, is set early in our lives.
Tragically for us, those who are power hungry know how to manipulate our minds for an easy slaughter. For instance, Francis Xavier, a Catholic evangelist to the East in the sixteen century said, "Give me the children until they are seven and anyone can have them after that." Those who control the political, social, educational, religious, entertainment and economic institutions and systems of any country know that the programming must begin early. Leading institutional businesses aim their ads at little children knowing if they can inject into their minds the right images and associated feelings, they will have loyal consumers for life.
Foundations, think tanks, lobbies, associations, political parties, religious affiliations, commercial enterprises, military powers, unions, cultural institutions, societies, cults, fraternities, public relations, advertising firms, and organizations of all kinds are used by a handful of individuals of nations to control the masses. It doesn't matter if the country is capitalist, socialist or communist. It does not matter if there is only one political party, or two, or a dozen. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. This statement was shortened over time from what Baron John Acton wrote to Bishop Mandell Creighton in 1887: "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men."
According to this study conducted by Dr. Westen, it appears we have a gatekeeper at the door of our minds deciding what information we allow in, and in what form it should appear. If the information does not line up to personal benchmarks and standards, we either don't let it in or modify it until it conforms to what we already believe. Truth and facts are not among those pieces of information that seem to hold much value to this gatekeeper inside our skulls. Our minds seem to be inclined to bend the truth in such a way as to make us feel more secure. We will alter information to what we already believe or have been conditioned to believe by our families and societal institutions that mold our values. Striving for security, the emotional driven parts of our brain seem to be more engaged during what we would think to be rationalizing sessions than the rational/logical parts. Decisions that affect our lives should never be made with our emotions, for they are unreliable; yet the research shows that we frequently do, and after this process is repeated a number of times, our minds become hardwired, so to speak, to manipulate information to line up with our little castle of beliefs. This makes us feel secure and comfortable. For the sake of convenience and comfort, we become wired to believe the lie. Very often it takes something catastrophic in our lives to break down the walls of lies which have been built in our minds before the hard truth sees the light of day in our minds.
Most Americans, or Westerners, actually believe they are free. This is, perhaps, the greatest of lies. By the time a child is six or seven in the United States of America, through all the input from the institutions mentioned above, that child is already comfortable with the thought of killing a complete stranger in another land to protect our national interests abroad. G.I. Joe dolls, movies and television, holidays to celebrate those who died for country, etc. have already programed future little G.I. Joe Smiths to lay down his very life for a flag or piece of land or a philosophy of life if others don't line up with their hardwired beliefs.
The programming from the various institutions within our society has already made him comfortable with killing even for stuff. Stuff has already become more important to this little G.I. Joe Smith through social programming. Of course, Miss Barbie will have gone through her own. She will be a loyal consumer to all that Hollywood and Madison Avenue want her to spend her money on. It is most unfortunate that the average American is unaware of the tens of thousands of messages with which our little brains are bombarded from highly sophisticated commercials aimed at making Americans to actually worship materialism and become self-serving individuals. We are really clueless of how deeply we have been programed to contradict the realm of higher living, and we certainly can't live both at the same time. It's one or the other plain and simple. However, when it comes to choosing one or the other, the emotional part of the brain most often kicks in and overrules sound reasoning and pathway to the good life.
One day history will look at what the Western world has done in the name of Judeo-Christian Ethics, which is a large part of the problem, especially America, Britain and Israel, and be shocked at the mountains of evil the world suffered under this abominable mixture of carnality. Surely many Western readers will have their hackles up due to their own programmed minds. Those who are not as greatly under the influence of Western propaganda, such as third world countries without TV's and Internet, will easily acknowledge what is being said here is true. If the world is going to experience any semblance of peace, we must push into this matter, this gray matter which causes so much of the violence in this world. Nonetheless, it is not in man to rule in peace. In the name of this nation's ethnicity, there will always be wars and rumors of wars, and people killing people in the name their god, in the name of their country, or just for stuff.
As the Westen study above so amply illustrates, our very minds are hard-wired to believe and practice the lie. There are hundreds of cultural, social, political, economic, military, and educational institutions in this world that have all programed us to believe lies. In the West especially, our media, especially television, has so saturated our thinking with materialism that when we see verses like:
No one can serve two masters. Countless millions have tried and failed. Those who have been hardwired to lie and live self-serving lives can live the higher, the honorable, self-giving life just about as easily as a camel can to pass through the eye of a needle, as Jesus said more than two thousand years ago.
Most today just gloss over thoughts might open people's eyes to reality, because they don't care about feeling guilty, and besides, their minds made up and become uncomfortable with change. They are more comfortable in their lies.
Understand, dear readers, most of those lies with which we are now comfortable were not our own to begin with. Our families and culture gave them to us and have taken deep root in our minds. We have even been programed to kill other people who do not buy into the lies of our own societies. Christians especially have been killing other Christians for many centuries because they have swallowed the lies of various countries and their rules of allegiance. It is beyond the scope of this article to detail the many thousands of lies we all have swallowed that were poured into us by our parents and institutions. Suffice it to say, it is impossible for an individual to set themselves free from the lies that make up the societies and institutions of this world. Only Jesus Christ, the embodiment of the Truth of the Kingdom of God can begin to unravel the mess. This requires absolute truth and faith in Him as the Way, the Truth and the Life. It requires absolute abandonment of everything we have been taught to believe in that came from the cultures in which we have been raised.
Jesus came to establish the Kingdom of God and its righteousness which is contrary in every respect to the kingdoms of this world. When Jesus opens people's eyes to the kingdom of God and its righteousness, they are shocked at how different it is from those of the world. They discover that the religious institutions of Christianity are as much a part of the kingdom of darkness as the rest of the institutions of the world.
Let us sign off today with a very true observation of a well-known statesman: "Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened." --Winston Churchill
Elwin R. Roach