Religion As Cognitive Poison Ivy
I am amazed about the verve and persistence shown by some ex-christians in turning against their previous mental prison in very sophisticated attempts to debunk delusions.
My own reaction is very different, I have grown allergic over the years to every time, when either someone harms another by making him the target of behaviors based upon irrational beliefs or else by suggesting and encouraging others to do this.
Any historical expression of religion does not bother me. Fairy tales are parts of the culture, as long as nobody believes them to be true. I can walk into a church or a temple and enjoy the architecture and art independent of the intended messages. I can look at a beautiful painting of a woman and a child, and it really does not matter, if the woman's is called Mary or Tusnelda.
The following is a slightly modified copy from my ERCP blog, where I am using the word irrationality. It includes religion as being just one of many irrationalities causing harm. In my two previous blog posts here I wrote about how harming women by commodification is connected to the evolution to the gullibility for religious beliefs. Therefore commodification and gullibility in the following text are two varieties of the same species of cognitive poison ivy.
Too many repetitions of stimulation can lead to desensitization, but there is also the possible opposite reaction of sensitization and allergization.
Physiologically, impaired hearing due to too much noise too often is an example of desensitization. Touching poison ivy is known as initiating an allergic reaction, which gets worse with every repeated contact.
Exposure to immaterial stimuli can also cause both kinds of a reaction. Just as people get desensitized be their repeated inflicting harm, people can also get allergic due to being exposed too often to annoying, disgusting, discouraging, disturbing, hurting or in any other way unpleasant cognitive input. I will call such allergenic input cognitive poison ivy.
There is an expression about pushing someone's button. Cognitive poison ivy is something different. A button in the expression is an individual's peculiarity. What is a button to one person has not effect upon another. Poison ivy is toxic, becoming allergic is not a peculiar weakness. Commodification harms every woman, if it is forced upon her too often and too drastically. Being manipulated by a priest to pray to god to change her plight instead of getting a divorce harms every woman.
The availability of cheap mass media has lead to the possibility of exposing oneself to extensive and intensive cognitive stimulation, which can have the side effects of either desensitization or allergization.
I have internet access at home since 1998. This was a turning point in my access to authentic informations about very varied people. Without the internet, information was either second hand through the filter of those writing, producing and publishing books, newspapers, magazines, radio, movies, tv. Else it was limited to the experiences of the preselected kind of people, whom I chose to mix and socialize with.
With growing awareness for the indicators of both nuisances, I started to consciously encounter them more often and I became more alert as to their significance. While ignorance had spared me previously thereof, I experienced annoyance more frequently. I was waking up to the real extent of two major dysfunctions of the cognition.
I am using the words annoyance and nuisance. It is difficult to describe emotions. Every instance of reading about women being degraded or about some irrational belief triggered in me this feeling of sighing a 'not again' and of cringing from this unpleasant aspect of life. The more often this happened, the stronger I experienced the unpleasantness. By now it has become an allergic reaction of disgust, tedium and nausea. Commodification and irrationality have become cognitive poison ivy for me.