Book Review #18

Extraordinary Popular Delusions & the Madness of Crowds

Extraordinary Popular Delusions & The Madness Of Crowds

I am ticked off…. or rather, this book is ticked off the reading list challenge that I don’t follow.

It was originally published before I was born – more than a century before. It was first printed in 1841. The copy that I got on an inter-library loan was reprinted in 1980. It had 3 prefaces – the original, a slightly revised version when the author had it reprinted 30 years later, and yet another from the 1980 re-release.

The 1980 instigator was taking a University Psychology course, when he thought he heard the instructor speaking of an old book about The Madness Of Krauts. He didn’t realize that Germans were called Krauts, that far back. A check of the University library showed him his mistake, but since the copyright had long expired, he felt that he could make a little money by having it reprinted.

This book was a disappointment, yet also a delight to me. Even since the ‘70s, there have been great changes and improvements in psychiatry and psychology, but since I only knew of the 1980 publish date, I hoped to get some fairly up-to-date insights into mob behavior. The 1841 composer rendered none of that. He only provided recountings of historical events which were notable for mass delusion.

These included the likes of the monetary bubble, collapse of the Louisiana Investment scam/scandal, the sad failure of the earliest attempt at a German Crusade, and the ongoing hysteria of the witch hunts. While the historical details were interesting enough, he delivered them all with the long-winded panache of someone reciting a Life Insurance actuarial table.

With the German Crusade, 100,000 young men were said to have started out, but only a handful survived, even to reach Constantinople, because of fighting among themselves, and with the armies of states and countries they marched through and denuded for food and drink.

As usual, the section on the witch hunts provided the worst atrocities. It was both a Church and State viewpoint that, “Because of the seriousness of this offence, none who are accused of this horrid crime shall escape torture to make them confess their sins. It is better that a million shall die, than that one witch shall be allowed to escape.”

Even while trying to do good, the well-intentioned did bad. As the witch-hunt frenzy was ebbing, a minor member of British Nobility tried an experiment. He was unconvinced that torture-induced confessions, and especially the naming of other witches, was valid.

He was acquainted and friends with, two Jesuit priests who acted as judges at the torture trials. To convince them of his viewpoint, he used a woman accused and imprisoned as a witch. They all attended the torture chamber, and he acted as interrogator. He had the woman stretched on the rack, and afflicted with the gamut of horrible tortures. Within a day, she admitted that she was a witch. Skillfully using leading questions, he also had her claim that the two Jesuits were wizards, calling them by name.

As they left the building, leaving the poor woman to her undeserved fate, the senior priest said, “It is well that this was done by a friend, rather than by an enemy.” And so, the witch-hunt frenzy slowly died, but not before thousands of innocent people also suffered and died.

This book is old enough to display some of the some of the English language’s spelling shifts. Words like ‘showed’, and ‘shown’ were printed as shewed, and shewn. While it was not what I thought I was getting, still it was an interesting read.

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I Need My Meds!!

Valium

My OCD about proper, correct English usage nearly gnawed its way out of my thick skull. My automatic proof-reader was on angel dust, and my internal editor was having heart palpitations.

Shortly after I composed my Blog – How to be taken seriously, I found this post. The writer is an example of an English redneck. If this guy were living in the US, he’d be wearing a MAGA hat, and helping Trump build a wall.

Since he states that he is English, to have his racist screed taken seriously, it would really help if he could write it in The Queen’s English. I only downloaded the title, which is what caught my attention, and the first two paragraphs. It continued to offend my eye and my sensibilities for another illiterate, rambling three paragraphs. I stopped counting the errors after about 100. I couldn’t see them all, through my tears.

Here it is, with most, but not necessarily all, the errors highlighted.

Their our to many Pakistans in my town Luton too ignore its time to take are country back now!

By Timmy Rodinson

Im going too explain this in the most simplest of ways too make you understand what is really going on in are nation right: I was born in england and that makes me english and a british because I am british. If your a muslim your a muslim so it doesn’t matter were you were born in because your a muslim. its as simple as this. so if your an islamist muslim you are not and can never be english or british no matter where your born because you are not from english history and your taking are identity to make islamist

suicide bombers who you are giving birth too and were not going to stand for it any longer we our taking back are country from you sick violent muslim imigrants. its as simple as this. that does not make me a racialist that makes me proud to be from a country that does’nt send people to other countrys to bomb millions of inocent people like has been happening in france and europe and there our just not enough people speaking up for peoples who want’s for are people to live in a country that is’nt run by shuria laws that are from rapist genocidal ideilogy. its as simple as this. your not british and you should leave to your muslim homeland in pakistan or iran or suadi arabia were you’re religion’s are from.

He certainly made me take him seriously…. Seriously disturbed! Oy, learn correct spelling and punctuation and language construction, then we can clearly communicate our distaste for your racist ramblings. Seriously Tommy, you’re giving soccer hooligans a bad name.  🙄

This post is only about how upset I am with his misusage and mangling of my Mother Tongue.  I’ll leave his social and political views for another day.  Feel free to comment about them, though.  😯

 

I Know That I Promised

Island

I know that I promised, and I know that most of you have read about it, but this story was just too precious, not to comment on.

American Is Killed by Bow and Arrow on Remote Indian Island

John Allen Chau had to know that what he was about to do was extremely dangerous.

Mr. Chau, thought to be in his 20s, was floating in a kayak off a remote island in the Andaman Sea. He was about to set foot on one of the most sealed-off parts of India, an island inhabited by a small, highly enigmatic tribe whose members have killed outsiders for simply stepping on their shore.

Fishermen warned him not to go. Few outsiders had ever been there. Indian government regulations clearly prohibited any interaction with people on the island, called North Sentinel.

While I was reading this story, I wondered what this guy was – some sort of super-jock survivalist, out to prove that he had was the biggest dick??! Then came the punch line.

But Mr. Chau pushed ahead in his kayak, which he had packed with a Bible. After that, it is a bit of a mystery what happened. On Wednesday, the Indian authorities said that Mr. Chau had been shot with bows and arrows by tribesmen when he got on shore. It was a “misplaced adventure,’’ said Dependra Pathak, the police chief.

No, it wasn’t!! There is no mystery. This was not “an adventure.” This self-made martyr was an unwelcome Christian missionary, too arrogant and stupid to stay out of harm’s way. The article doesn’t say if he was a Jehovah’s Witness, but apparently there are even some Indian people who don’t like telemarketers. 😯

He violated the laws of India, which clearly forbid him from interfering with the natives. He violated the rules of his own missionary group, who urged him not to go, and he disobeyed Christ’s own Biblical directives. Jesus said to go by twos, to spread the word. Christ obviously knew the need for backup, but Chau insisted on going alone – probably because he couldn’t find anyone else crazy enough to go with him.

Christ said, “If you offer the word to a people, and they refuse it, depart from that place and leave them.” Chau swam ashore one day, and the natives shot arrows at him, obviously not willing to accept him (or Him) and The Word. The only arrow to hit, struck his Bible. He believed that God had spared him. Instead of departing from that place, he swam back out to the fish boat, but returned the next day.

He is apparently unmarried and childless, so he qualifies for the Darwin Award. He’s not your usual, testosterone-infused gym-jock. He is was something even worse – A faith-infused Jesus-Jock. At least he managed to kill only himself.

I repeat from my post, “What’s wrong with a comfortable delusion?” Because, not every time, but ultimately, and inevitably, it leads to the likes of:

Jim Jones and the Jonestown Massacre – 918 good Christians dead.
Uganda, Nov. 2018 – more than 918 black Christian sect suicide deaths
David Koresh and the Branch Davidian standoff in Waco – 75 faithful and 4 FBI agents dead
Heaven’s Gate cult mutilation and suicides – 39 dead
Solar Temple Order – 74 dead in Quebec, France, and Switzerland
South Korean ‘Benevolent Mother’ sect – 32 poisoned and strangled

And these are just the recent, penny-ante examples. How about the Inquisition, where thousands were horribly tortured and executed, or the Crusades, where hundreds of thousands died on faraway battlefields, or through disease or starvation, including excess population children?

And these are still penny-ante! How about the delusionally manipulated European peasants of the Dark Ages?? The Church convinced them that cats were the minions of Satan, so they killed them all off – which allowed rats to proliferate – which promoted the growth of fleas infected with bubonic plague – which killed off over 1/3 of the total population of Europe…. Millions and Millions!

Anyone who doesn’t see, or denies the relationship, is more than comfortably deluded. Not to seem harsh, but, aside from the FBI agents in Waco, I don’t really give a damn. It’s a self-solving problem. It’s about as important as being unfriended on FaceBitch: it’s like the garbage taking itself out. 😈

Delusion does nothing but hold us back. Truth is far more important than all of the soothing lies and should be sought in all instances. I know that sometimes the lies can give you temporary peace, but in the end, somebody always gets hurt.

Awed…. Odd Thoughts

Confused Emoji

I became a professional fisherman, but discovered I couldn’t live on my net income. I went to work in a meat processing factory, but I couldn’t cut it. So then I got a job at a gym…but they said I wasn’t working out!

***

If it’s any good….they’ll stop making it.

Talk is cheap….until you hire a lawyer

***

How many optimists does it take to screw in a
light bulb?

None, they’re convinced that the power will
come back on soon.

***

How many Jehovah’s Witnesses does it take to change a light bulb?
Three! One screws it in, and the other two knock on your door to ask you if you’ve seen the light.

A Jehovah’s Witness came to my door the other day and said, “Can I ask you about God?”
I said, “Sure, what do you want to know?”

***

In what year did Christmas and New Year’s fall
in the same year?

They fall in the same year every year, New
Year’s Day just arrives very early in the year
and Christmas arrives very late in the same year.

***

Murphy’s First Law of Computing

Whatever happens, behave as though you meant it
to happen.

Murphy’s Second Law of Computing:

When you get to the point where you really
understand your software, it’s probably obsolete.

***

Music was much better when ugly people were allowed to make it.

***

A weasel walks into a bar. The bartender says, “Wow! I’ve never served a weasel before. What will you have?”

“Pop” goes the weasel.

***

I picked up a hitch-hiker recently. He said, “Thanks, but how do you know I’m not a serial killer though?”
I replied, “The chances of two serial killers being in the same car at the same time are astronomical.”

***

These days your memory might be better if you use marijuana, but don’t play football.

***

I saw a bumper sticker today. It said, “If you can read this, I’ll slam on my brakes and sue you.”

***

 

I Really Must Stop Doing That

Thumbs Down

I really must stop reading Christian Apologetics’ blog-posts. While many of them are mind-bogglingly irritating, yet in their own way, they can be so interesting and humorous that I feel that I should share them with my readers. I recently realized that I’ve been posting about one a month, when I really should be focussing on more serious issues, like whether the recently imposed tariffs mean that Donald Trump will run short of macaroni and cheese-flavored hair-dye.

Like my That’s Not Funny post, I recently read this one.

A father was reading a story to his young son about cosmetology and likened the earth to a ball sitting on the back of a huge turtle. The young boy replied “but dad who made the turtle and what is holding up the turtle” “The father replied its, “turtles all the way down.” Young children may ask, “Who made the turtle,” grown men do not.

It’s nice to be shown in the very first line, that the author doesn’t even know the difference between Cosmology – and Cosmetology, which is the science of producing, or applying makeup. Perhaps he was trying to put lipstick on that ‘Creation’ myth pig. Who reads to a ‘young son’ from a book on Cosmology?? And what Cosmology book has the Earth sitting on a turtle??  Even the Bible has it sitting on four pillars.

How can you tell a Christian Fundamentalist? You can’t! They only believe what they want to believe. I hit a post titled ‘Should a Christian Drink Alcohol?’, and commented, ‘Not only did Jesus drink alcohol, but he changed jugs of water into wine so that everyone at the wedding could drink also.’ I got back, That wine couldn’t have been alcoholic. All I’m trying to say is that we should always be on duty for Jesus.

A local woman’s Op-Ed letter said

Wicca is a dark art

It’s easy to see why Wicca is growing in popularity among young women today. It worships the “goddess” and the sacred feminine, which feels like a celebration of womanhood. It offers power and control over the spiritual world through its magic, spells, and divination. It also treats nature with great reverence, an appealing idea to a generation that grew up with wanting to “save the Earth”.

But while these things sound good, anyone with long-term involvement in this complex religion (associated with witchcraft, occultism and neo-paganism) knows what this story failed to reveal – there is more to Wicca than meets the eye.

Wiccans want you to believe that it’s all fun, unrelated to evil, Satanism and dark forces, but many ex-Wiccans tell a different story.

Though popular movies and books like ‘Harry Potter’ would have you believe otherwise, there is no such thing as “white magic.” Interacting with spirits and spiritual forces any way one chooses eventually leads down a path of destruction.

I could have written that she had nothing to worry about. Black, white, polka-dot or plaid –MAGIC DOES NOT EXIST! Perhaps she hadn’t noticed that all the Harry Potter books are sold in the Fiction section. I refrained from submitting a letter of rebuttal because, as Jim Croce said, “You don’t spit into the wind.”

A writer claimed that “Atheism Proves God’s Existence” with this….

I can’t answer that question for you, but I do know that when I was an atheist, I wanted nothing more than to kill it; kill creationism. Especially Christianity! Why? Because my biggest fear was that it was all true. I knew there was a God and that his existence was axiomatic, but if I could just stamp out the flame of Christianity, maybe it will become less real. If I hung out with likeminded individuals that supported my claims, maybe I could drown out the evidence with their baseless words. If I can deny the creator, maybe I could be free of him. So, for me, the greatest evide

***

Your final, unfinished, incomplete paragraph proves that you are/were lying….to others, and apparently, to yourself. By definition, an Atheist is a person who does not believe in the existence of God (or gods). “I knew there was a God and that his existence was axiomatic,” “If I can deny the creator, maybe I could be free of him.”
If you ‘knew’ there was a God, and tried to be free of him, then ‘by definition’ you were not an Atheist, no matter what you thought, or claimed to be to others. You were just a rebellious, failed Christian and linguist.

***

This is the exact response I was expecting. 

Look how offended you are? Why? Because I don’t believe what you believe? Because I’m attacking your religion? What’s the reason for you to attack my use of the English language? Because your hurt over the fact what I’m saying is true, obviously.

If what I was saying wasn’t true, you’d have ignored it. Thank you for proving my point. The bottom line is, atheist reject God because they know full well he exist and you might not like that he has a standard of objective morality they do not subscribe to. As the bible says, they love darkness. If your hostility doesn’t show you that, then nothing will.

God bless.

***

I wasn’t so much ‘offended’, as dismayed and depressed by the language misusage, and the obvious contradictions. I don’t know how he thinks that he’s attacking my religion. He doesn’t even know, from that comment, what my religion is. What I am offended by is idiots, and liars, and lying idiots. I just love that, after laying an illiterate bitch session on me, he signs off with that self-righteous “God bless.”

I sometimes wonder what color the sky is, in the tiny world that these people inhabit. I’m off to do some non-religious research. I’ll see you soon in my world of sunshine and bright blue skies. 😀

’18 A To Z Challenge – Z

Letter ZChallenge '18

 

Zat’s it folks. “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”, but I’m going to close out this year’s A To Z Challenge, with another word that doesn’t exist. I’m gonna call you a

Zwilnick

When a writer, particularly a science-fiction author, wishes to present a different culture, and needs words or phrases, it’s often easiest to choose and disguise one that already exists here on Earth.

In the Battlestar Galactica movie and TV series, the word for a long time period was ‘Jahren.’ In German, the word for year is jahr. Most German words which are plural, end in ‘en,’ but jahr is an exception. It means both ‘year,’ and ‘years.’ Jahren sounds German, but isn’t quite.

When E. E. (Doc) Smith wrote his Lensman series, he identified the bad guys as Zwilnicks. He even has one of the characters ask, “Why are they Zwilnicks? We call them Zwilnicks. They even call themselves Zwilnicks.” It sounds like it might be German, or Polish, but it’s just the imaginative invention of a great Sci-Fi writer.

The Star Wars universe introduced us to the planet Naboo, which may be a takeoff on Nauvoo (Illinois), one of the birthplaces of Mormon, a silly little Christian sect that promises each of its followers, an entire planet – like Naboo?? – when they die. Its original Human settlers arrived on it by accident, and it shows what a planet would look like if it were settled completely by Hindu Indians.

I am dismayed and disappointed at the number of Star Wars fanatics who refer to the ruler of the planet as ‘Padmé Amidala.’ I watched the movie (and paid attention.) She introduced herself clearly, giving both her name, and her title. She is Padmé Nabaré – Queen Amidala, – in the same way that the leader of the Catholic Church is Jorge Mario Bergoglio – Pope Francis.

In the ‘60s, the Walt Disney television show expanded, what was to be a single episode, into a three-show arc, about a 20ish Mexican beggar/grown-up street urchin, named Elfego Baca. Later language study revealed that the initial V in a word like that is pronounced like a B in Spanish, so that “Baca” is actually “Vaca.” Vaca translates to ‘calf,’ and ‘elfego’ means flatulence. I believe that some of the Spanish-speaking writers slipped one over on the English-speaking producers and audience, and aired a “Disney” show about a Chicano, derisively nicknamed ‘Calf Farts.’

That’s all the alphabetic challenge for last/this year, in English, or any other language, real or imagined. Tune in again in a couple of weeks, and see me meander down some strange lanes with the 2019 version.

Ahhh, I managed to survive another year.  Here’s to the next one!  😀

A To Z - Survivor

What’s Wrong With A Comfortable Delusion?

What’s Wrong With A Comfortable Delusion??!  Take a look here.

Delusion

Some Christians get upset when others argue against all their unproven assumptions. There’s everything from the ranting and raving, “How dare you disagree?” to a less confrontational, honest request for quiet acceptance of their beliefs and actions.

This morning, I found a YouTube video from The Atheist Experience, with the above title. Then I came down to read the newspaper, and found this article.

Farmer burned down barn, shot at house

Actions a ‘cry for help,’ judge says, sentencing man to 22 months for arson, firearms offences

In a ‘cry for help’, a depressed and guilt-ridden Mennonite farmer set three fires on his property – including one that burned his barn to the ground, killing seven cattle and a horse, causing $400,000 damage. Later he shot five or six times at his house with a .22 caliber rifle, while his wife and two young children were inside.

“It would appear that much of his angst arose from guilt that he felt over pursuing some secular interests that may have been contrary to his religious teachings.”

His lawyer was asked outside court about his secular interests. “He got a phone, as necessary for the operation of his cattle farm. The cell-phone was a Smart Phone, with access to the internet, and he started to retreat to the barn to watch Hollywood movies. So he was watching movies like “Superman” or something. It wasn’t pornography or anything.”

What’s wrong with a little comfortable delusion? Nothing, until it changes to psychopathy, and becomes uncomfortable, both for the deluded person, and the rest of society.

This is not an isolated incident, and it’s not restricted to Christians. The same paper contained an article about a Christian Pakistani woman who has been held in jail for 7 years, much of that in solitary, because a neighbor accused her of blasphemy. The raging mob demanded her execution, and that of the judge who finally freed her.

Don’t be deluded; it can be very dangerous.

Speaking of being deluded…. My contract says that I’ll be back here in a couple of days, I hope, with a new 100-word Flash Fiction.  Don’t let me down.  🙂