Law School Discussion

Legal Reasoning

"The Future of an Illusion"
« Reply #270 on: February 15, 2008, 10:32:38 AM »

I don't know where you're getting this from ... Many of the British North American colonies that eventually formed the United States of America were settled in the seventeenth century by men and women, who, in the face of European persecution, refused to compromise passionately held religious convictions and fled Europe. The New England colonies, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maryland were conceived and established "as plantations of religion." Some settlers who arrived in these areas came for secular motives -- "to catch fish" as one New Englander put it -- but the great majority left Europe to worship God in the way they believed to be correct. They enthusiastically supported the efforts of their leaders to create "a city on a hill" or a "holy experiment," whose success would prove that God's plan for his churches could be successfully realized in the American wilderness. Even colonies like Virginia, which were planned as commercial ventures, were led by entrepreneurs who considered themselves "militant Protestants" and who worked diligently to promote the prosperity of the church.

The religious persecution that drove settlers from Europe to the British North American colonies sprang from the conviction, held by Protestants and Catholics alike, that uniformity of religion must exist in any given society. This conviction rested on the belief that there was one true religion and that it was the duty of the civil authorities to impose it, forcibly if necessary, in the interest of saving the souls of all citizens. Nonconformists could expect no mercy and might be executed as heretics. The dominance of the concept, denounced by Roger Williams as "inforced uniformity of religion," meant majority religious groups who controlled political power punished dissenters in their midst. In some areas Catholics persecuted Protestants, in others Protestants persecuted Catholics, and in still others Catholics and Protestants persecuted wayward coreligionists. Although England renounced religious persecution in 1689, it persisted on the European continent. Religious persecution, as observers in every century have commented, is often bloody and implacable and is remembered and resented for generations.

Although they were victims of religious persecution in Europe, the Puritans supported the Old World theory that sanctioned it, the need for uniformity of religion in the state. Once in control in New England, they sought to break "the very neck of Schism and vile opinions." The "business" of the first settlers, a Puritan minister recalled in 1681, "was not Toleration, but [they] were professed enemies of it." Puritans expelled dissenters from their colonies, a fate that in 1636 befell Roger Williams and in 1638 Anne Hutchinson, America's first major female religious leader. Those who defied the Puritans by persistently returning to their jurisdictions risked capital punishment, a penalty imposed on four Quakers between 1659 and 1661. Reflecting on the seventeenth century's intolerance, Thomas Jefferson was unwilling to concede to Virginians any moral superiority to the Puritans. Beginning in 1659 Virginia enacted anti-Quaker laws, including the death penalty for refractory Quakers. Jefferson surmised that "if no capital execution took place here, as did in New England, it was not owing to the moderation of the church, or the spirit of the legislature."


An important form of helplessness against which religion acts is our helplessness before our own internal and uncontrollable desires. Freud made much of the similarities between religious rituals and obsessional rituals (for example, the compulsive need to wash your hands in a specific pattern every time), the latter of which functioned to protect the ego from the emergence of fantasies, desires, and especially sexual impulses which were normally repressed. In the ritual, however, they gain some partial expression and release. Freud saw neurosis as an individual religion, religion as a universal obsessional neurosis. Drawing this parallel between the two, Freud called religion:

Quote
...the suppression, the renunciation, of certain instinctual impulses. These impulses, however, are not, as in the neuroses, exclusively components of the sexual instinct; they are self-seeking, socially harmful instincts, though, even so, they are usually not without a sexual component.


Anyone who has noticed the Christian obsession with all matters sexual, and particularly with the constant efforts to repress and deny most forms of sexual expression, will find that even if Freud is not entirely correct, he has certainly hit upon something important.

The issue of "illusion" is another very important part of Freud's critique of religion. At all times we must keep in mind that he drew a sharp distinction between "illusion" and "delusion," using only the former to describe religious beliefs. Illusions, including those of religion, are such not because of their content but by their sources. Calling religious beliefs illusions does not automatically deny them any sort of validity -- they may, after all, even come true. Their problem lies in their source: undisciplined and uncritical human wishes. It should be pointed out of course, that in Freud's theories just about all thinking, including scientific thinking, can have nonrational sources and be indicative of wishful thinking. With both religion and science, it is not that the source determines the value of an idea -- a great idea can have a nonrational source, and a poor idea can have a rational source. What is key is just how much influence that source continues to hold over the idea in question. Scientists can and do come across revolutionary ideas intuitively, but their intuition and wishful thinking are supposed to remain disciplined. Ideas are supposed to be open to rational critique, demonstration and verification. Convictions, no matter how strong, must be capable of being refined, modified and even abandoned if necessary. Scientific thinking can thus be differentiated from religious thinking, since religion rarely if ever allows for such an atmosphere to hold sway.

Religion Offers The Model For Delusion
« Reply #271 on: February 15, 2008, 11:14:26 AM »
Studying the mechanisms of religious belief could lead to a better understanding of what goes on in the minds of people with psychiatric delusions. Some religious beliefs -- including that a virgin gave birth to the son of God -- qualify as delusions. The idea that religion was a delusion dated back to Sigmund Freud about 100 years ago.

Holy Books vs. Evidence

Fundamentalists know they are right because they have read the truth in a holy book and they know, in advance, that nothing will budge them from their belief. The truth of the holy book is an axiom, not the end product of a process of reasoning. The book is true, and if the evidence seems to contradict it, it is the evidence that must be thrown out, not the book. By contrast, what a scientist believes (for example, evolution) he believes not because of reading a holy book but because he has studied the evidence. It really is a very different matter. Books about evolution are believed not because they are holy. They are believed because they present overwhelming quantities of mutually buttressed evidence. In principle, any reader can go and check that evidence. When a science book is wrong, somebody eventually discovers the mistake and it is corrected in subsequent books. That conspicuously doesn't happen with holy books.

Religion as a mass delusion

Life, as we find it, is too hard for us; it brings us too many pains, disappointments and impossible tasks. In order to bear it we cannot dispense with palliative measures. There are perhaps three such measures: powerful deflections, which cause us to make light of our misery; substitutive satisfactions, which diminish it; and intoxicating substances, which make us insensitive to it. Something of the kind is indispensable. Voltaire has deflections in mind when he ends Candide with the advice to cultivate oneís garden; and scientific activity is a deflection of this kind, too. The substitutive satisfactions, as offered by art, are illusions in contrast to reality, but they are none the less psychically effective, thanks to the role which phantasy has assumed in mental life. The intoxicating substances influence our body and alter its chemistry. It is no simple matter to see where religion has its place in this series. We must look further afield...

People who are receptive to the influence of art cannot set too high a value on it as a source of pleasure and consolation in life. Nevertheless the mild narcosis induced in us by art can do no more than bring about a transient withdrawal from the pressure of vital needs, and it is not strong enough to make us forget real misery. Another procedure operates more energetically and more thoroughly. It regards reality as the sole enemy and as the source of all suffering, with which it is impossible to live, so that one must break off all relations with it if one is to be in any way happy. The hermit turns his back on the world and will have no truck with it. But one can do more than that; one can try to re-create the world, to build up in its stead another world in which its most unbearable features are eliminated and replaced by others that are in conformity with oneís own wishes. But whoever, in desperate defiance, sets out upon this path to happiness will as a rule attain nothing. Reality is too strong for him. He becomes a madman, who for the most part finds no one to help in carrying through his delusion. It is asserted, however, that each one of us behaves in some one respect like a paranoic, corrects some aspect of the world which is unbearable to him by the construction of a wish and introduces this delusion into reality. A special importance attaches to the case in which this attempt to procure a certainty of happiness and a protection against suffering through a delusional remoulding of reality is made by a considerable number of people in common. The religions of mankind must be classed among the mass-delusions of this kind. No one, needless to say, who shares a delusion ever recognizes it as such...

The collective irrational belief is not only wrong, an intellectual high treason, but pernicious in its resulting intolerance, oppression, bigotry, arrogance, child abuse, homophobia, abortion-clinic bombings, cruelties to women, war, suicide bombers, and educational systems that teach ignorance when it comes to math and science. This psychotic God is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully. Thomas Jefferson claimed that Christianity is the most perverted system that ever shone on man. A 1796 treaty signed by John Adams declared that the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion. Adams also said, "this would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it." Even conservative icon, Barry Goldwater, threatened to fight fundamentalists every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans.

Re: Legal Reasoning
« Reply #272 on: February 15, 2008, 01:42:25 PM »

Legal Reasoning :: Obsessional Neurosis and Delusional Traits


DSM-IV defines delusion as,

Quote
A false belief based on incorrect inference about external reality that is firmly sustained despite what almost everybody else believes and despite what constitutes incontrovertible and obvious proof or evidence to the contrary. The belief is not one ordinarily accepted by other members of the person's culture or subculture (e.g., it is not an article of religious faith).


  • "Firmly Sustained"

Yet, although delusions may be held tenaciously, their imperviousness to challenge by argument or evidence varies. For example, the submissive partner in a folie a deux may quickly lose their delusional beliefs when separated from the dominant partner. Some other deluded patients may waver in their beliefs when confronted by evidence.

  • "False"

Delusions are not necessarily false. The usual evidence given for this claim is the Othello delusion or delusional jealousy. This delusion often arises in a context of alcohol abuse and sexual dysfunction on the part of the deluded person, who believes that their partner is unfaithful. The partner may be unfaithful and yet the afflicted person is said to be deluded. Why? Because of the inadequate evidence cited as proof of the claim. For example, "She left her glasses at her sister's house, therefore she is having an affair."

  • "Beliefs"

Even the arguably self-evident characteristic that delusions are beliefs has been challenged. British psychiatrist German Berrios has proposed that delusions are "empty speech acts" on the grounds that delusions do not influence behaviour in the way beliefs do. For example, a patient may claim to be a multi-millionaire member of the royal family who is 300 years old, but live as a voluntary patient in a long-stay psychiatric ward. If he really believed what he claimed about himself, surely he would not calmly accept the role of a hospital patient.

  • "Perceptions"?

This theory that delusions originate on a background of perceptual anomaly has been, and remains, influential. The Capgras delusion (that a familiar person has been replaced by an imposter) is another example. Experimental evidence suggests that this delusion arises from faulty face-recognition. The underlying defect is thought to be an uncoupling of affective and cognitive neural pathways, so that recognition of a person occurs without the feeling of familiarity. This gives rise to the rationalisation that an imposter has taken a loved-one's place. The delusion is therefore conceptualised as a kind of mirror image to prosopagnosia, in which the feeling of familiarity is retained but the person cannot be recognised. While the perceptual thesis seems to have much to recommend it, it still seems to leave an explanatory gap. The jump from "doesn't feel familiar" to "is an imposter," is quite a big one. This is even more noticeable when the rationalising claim is "my mother has been replaced by a spy/robot/alien." Some kind of commonsense seems to have been lost. Such delusional claims surely suggest some defect in reasoning or judgment in addition to any perceptual deficit.

Some delusions may arise as responses to unusual experiences. The implication is that delusion formation in some cases involves some kind of bottom-up mechanism -- roughly, from perception to belief. Delusion formation may also involve some kind of top-down mechanism. This could be in the shape of a patient's flawed background beliefs, or biases, which somehow modulate perception or ensure delusional interpretations of experience. There is little agreement about what kind of mechanism is primary in delusion formation, or, indeed, what the particular mechanisms and their neural substrates might be. In the evaluation of top-down and bottom-up mechanisms in delusion formation, a number of conceptual questions should be addressed. For example, if there is an experiential component, why is a hypothesis with a delusional explanation of the unusual experience seen as relevant? Why do the subjects come to believe it tenaciously? How come some unusual experiences do not develop into delusions? A number of empirical findings also need to be taken into account: for example, the damage to the autonomic system in Capgras delusion...

Re: Legal Reasoning
« Reply #273 on: February 16, 2008, 01:05:03 PM »
Wow, Schcrelly, awesome post!

Re: Legal Reasoning
« Reply #274 on: February 16, 2008, 02:39:24 PM »

According to Gurdjieff the enneagram figure is a symbol that represents the "law of seven" and the "law of three" (the two fundamental universal laws) and, therefore, the figure can be used to describe any natural whole phenomenon, cosmos, process in life or any other piece of knowledge. The basic use of the enneagram is to explain why nothing in nature and in life constantly occurs in a straight line, that is to say that there are always ups and downs in life which occur lawfully. Easier examples of this can be noticed in athletic performances, where a high ranked athlete always has periodic downfalls, as well as in nearly all graphs that plot topics that occur over time, such as the economic graphs, population graphs, death-rate graphs and so on. All show parabolic periods that keep rising and falling. Gurdjieff claimed that since these periods occur lawfully based on the Enneagram that it is possible to keep a process in a straight line if the necessary shocks were introduced at the right time.

The principal enneagram figure used by the Fourth Way and Gurdjieff is a circle with nine points. Within the circle is a triangle connecting points 9, 3 and 6. The inscribed figure resembling a web connects the other six points in a cyclic figure 1-4-2-8-5-7. This enneagram's construction is based on the laws of octaves. The enneagram's construction is also constructed lawfully on the same laws as the decimal system. If the enneagram is used to represent a whole octave of notes and the number 1, then by dividing 1 into seven different notes...

1/7=.142857...
2/7=.285714...
3/7=.428571...
4/7=.571428...
5/7=.714285...
6/7=.857142...
7/7=.999999...

...it can be noticed that all of these fractions, except in the case of the last one, are made up of the same numbers running in a definite sequence, and by joining those numbers on the figure the given web-like shape is obtained. Also, if the web is used in an explanation, by knowing the initial number of the period it is possible to immediately re-establish the whole period in full.

On the enneagram most processes are represented through octaves where the points serve as the notes; a concept which is derived from Gurdjieff’s idea of the law of seven. In an octave the developing process comes to a critical point (one of the triangle points) at which help from outside is needed for it to rightly continue. This concept is best illustrated on the keys of the piano where every white key would represent an enneagram point. The adjacent white keys which are missing a black key (half note) in between represent the enneagram web points which have a triangle point in between. In order that this point would pass onto the next, an external push is required.



Using the enneagram a process is depicted as going right around the circle beginning at point 9 (the ending point of a previous process). The process can continue until it reaches point 3. At this point an external aid is needed in order that the process continues. If it doesn't receive the 'help' the process will stop evolving and will devolve back into the form from which it evolved. The process continues until point 6 and later 9, where a similar "push" is needed. If the process passes point 9 the initial process will end while giving birth to a new one.


This external "push" thing appears to be very interesting..


Yeah, but I don't quite understand it.. any clarification would be appreciated

Re: Legal Reasoning
« Reply #275 on: February 16, 2008, 04:03:22 PM »
Hahaha...you guys are so funny

Re: Legal Reasoning
« Reply #276 on: February 17, 2008, 05:18:51 AM »
A very good thread, indeed. I'm going to refill my ink cartridges today to print it out

The "As If" Philosophy
« Reply #277 on: February 20, 2008, 11:11:29 AM »

The issue of "illusion" is another very important part of Freud's critique of religion. At all times we must keep in mind that he drew a sharp distinction between "illusion" and "delusion," using only the former to describe religious beliefs. Illusions, including those of religion, are such not because of their content but by their sources. Calling religious beliefs illusions does not automatically deny them any sort of validity -- they may, after all, even come true. Their problem lies in their source: undisciplined and uncritical human wishes. It should be pointed out of course, that in Freud's theories just about all thinking, including scientific thinking, can have nonrational sources and be indicative of wishful thinking. With both religion and science, it is not that the source determines the value of an idea -- a great idea can have a nonrational source, and a poor idea can have a rational source. What is key is just how much influence that source continues to hold over the idea in question. Scientists can and do come across revolutionary ideas intuitively, but their intuition and wishful thinking are supposed to remain disciplined. Ideas are supposed to be open to rational critique, demonstration and verification. Convictions, no matter how strong, must be capable of being refined, modified and even abandoned if necessary. Scientific thinking can thus be differentiated from religious thinking, since religion rarely if ever allows for such an atmosphere to hold sway.


Can't you put it more clearly in words? Our thought activity includes a great number of hypotheses whose groundlessness and even absurdity we recognize, but for a number of reasons we behave 'as if' we believed in these fictions. This is the case with religious doctrines, says Freud, because of their incomparable importance for the maintenance of human society. Freud asks the questions "In what does the force of such doctrines lay?" and "To what is it that the owe their efficacy, independent of recognition by reason?"

To Freud the psychical origin of religious ideas is that they are the fulfillments of the oldest and strongest wishes of humankind. As wishes, Freud notes, they are thus illusions. That is, they are illusions or wishes for the protection of humanity against the forces of nature. They are the moral justification and prolongation of earthly existence. As such wishes Freud claims that they issue from the infant's conflicts of the early father-complex. That is, religion is the phylogenic equivalent to the ontogenic conflicts with one's father during the Oedipus drama. To Freud an illusion is an error in terms of wish fulfillments. That is, illusions are derived from human wishes and therefore approach psychotic delusions. The difference between psychotic delusions and religious illusions is found in their relation to reality and falsity. A delusion is said to contradict reality utterly. Illusions, Freud points out, need not necessarily be false in relations to reality. That is, they could be either un-realizable or contradictory to reality. Freud writes:

Quote
We call a belief an illusion when a wish fulfillment is a prominent factor in its motivation, and in doing so we disregard its relations to reality...

Therefore, Freud concludes that religious doctrines are illusions. That is, on the one hand, no one can be compelled to believe in them and that they cannot be proved or refuted. On the other hand, no one can be forced to disbelieve religious doctrines. Freud then notes an interesting thing. He suggests that it is only the highest and most sacred things of a civilization that humanity allows itself the irrationality of belief. Thus it is something that is religious or approaching religious dimensions that we suspend disbelief and become, as Freud would put it, irrational. An example of this activity is belief in religion as Freud sees it. Freud next questions "What other illusions could there be in civilization?" Pointing out the illusions of sexuality, politics and so on, he quickly backs out of such an investigation, wisely noting that it is much too large a topic. What does this suggest? To me it suggests that Freud thinks that there is a lot in civilization which is illusory in nature. We just do not recognize it as such, and in fact are forbidden by unwritten social reuses to even talk about the fact that we do not recognize it.

A critic turns the tables accusing Freud as adhering to illusions and standing for reason and skepticism. It is an illusion, the critic claims, to believe in the primacy of the intellect over the life of the instincts, and in fact, he follows, those that have been brought up outside of religious systems approach this ideal no more that those from the religious background. The result being, if one wants to expel religious doctrines from European civilization, it must be replaced by another system of doctrines, and that such a system would, from the outset, take on the characteristics of religion -- rigidity, intolerance, prohibitions of thought -- for its own defense. The critic also notes that it is an ineradicable and innate defect of our and every civilization, that it imposes on our children, who are driven by instinct and are weak in intelligence, the making of decisions which only mature individuals can vindicate. The critic points out another advantage of religion. That is, it allows for a refinement and sublimation of ideas, which make it possible for it to be divested of most of the traces which it bears of primitive and infantile thinking. Something which science, the critic maintains, is incapable of doing. Thus the critic concludes that he has shown that Freud's "'endeavors come down to an attempt to replace a proved and emotionally valuable illusion by another one, which is unproved and without emotional appeal'."

Freud responds admitting that he is not inaccessible to such criticisms. He admits that perhaps his point of view is also illusory, but he notes one distinction that separates his thoughts from religious ones. It is this: "My illusions are not," he writes, " like religious ones, incapable of correction. They have not the character of delusion." Freud follows by noting that if experience should show that he is incorrect or mistaken, he will give up his expectations -- i.e, that religion is a neurosis and the hope that humanity will overcome it. Freud brings up two other points for discussion. First, the weakness of his position does not imply any strengthening of the religious one. He admits that the primacy of the intellect is off in the far-flung future but it is not in an infinitely distant one. He expect that it will set the same aims as have religions -- i.e., the love of humanity and the decrease of suffering. If this is so, then the antagonism of the religious and Freud's points of view is only temporary and they are not irreconcilable -- after-all they desire the same things. Still, Freud notes, on the way to this distant goal religious doctrines will have to be discarded, no matter whether the first attempts fail or if the substitutes prove to be untenable. The reason being: "in the long run nothing can withstand reason and experience, and the contradiction which religion offers to both is all to palpable."

The second point is as follows: there is a difference between the illusion from religion and Freud's illusion. The critic, Freud maintains, has defended his illusion with all his might. "If it becomes discredited -- and indeed the threat is great enough -- then your world would collapse." Freud notes that he is free of such bondage as he is prepared to renounce a great deal of infantile wishes and thus he can bear it if a few of his illusions are shattered. Freud then confronts the notion that education freed from the burden of religious doctrines may not effect humanity's psychological nature. He notes that there has been some value in the belief in god, but he does not think that this is reason enough to lose interest in the world and life, as he has one support that the religious person does not. That is, Freud believes that it is possible for scientific work to gain some knowledge about the reality of the world, and thus increase our power. "If this belief is an illusion," he writes, "then we are in the same position as you. But science has given us evidence by its numerous important successes that it is no illusion." In science's relatively short life span, Freud continues, it has clarified much that had been hidden. It is a system that is based upon laws and proofs which are said to be testable. It is a system that is said to develop hypotheses which are pout forward for criticism and which evolve as they are proven false. He argues the case for science.

Re: Religion Offers The Model For Delusion
« Reply #278 on: February 20, 2008, 12:22:20 PM »

Religion as a mass delusion

Life, as we find it, is too hard for us; it brings us too many pains, disappointments and impossible tasks. In order to bear it we cannot dispense with palliative measures. There are perhaps three such measures: powerful deflections, which cause us to make light of our misery; substitutive satisfactions, which diminish it; and intoxicating substances, which make us insensitive to it. Something of the kind is indispensable. Voltaire has deflections in mind when he ends Candide with the advice to cultivate oneís garden; and scientific activity is a deflection of this kind, too. The substitutive satisfactions, as offered by art, are illusions in contrast to reality, but they are none the less psychically effective, thanks to the role which phantasy has assumed in mental life. The intoxicating substances influence our body and alter its chemistry. It is no simple matter to see where religion has its place in this series. We must look further afield...

People who are receptive to the influence of art cannot set too high a value on it as a source of pleasure and consolation in life. Nevertheless the mild narcosis induced in us by art can do no more than bring about a transient withdrawal from the pressure of vital needs, and it is not strong enough to make us forget real misery. Another procedure operates more energetically and more thoroughly. It regards reality as the sole enemy and as the source of all suffering, with which it is impossible to live, so that one must break off all relations with it if one is to be in any way happy. The hermit turns his back on the world and will have no truck with it. But one can do more than that; one can try to re-create the world, to build up in its stead another world in which its most unbearable features are eliminated and replaced by others that are in conformity with oneís own wishes. But whoever, in desperate defiance, sets out upon this path to happiness will as a rule attain nothing. Reality is too strong for him. He becomes a madman, who for the most part finds no one to help in carrying through his delusion. It is asserted, however, that each one of us behaves in some one respect like a paranoic, corrects some aspect of the world which is unbearable to him by the construction of a wish and introduces this delusion into reality. A special importance attaches to the case in which this attempt to procure a certainty of happiness and a protection against suffering through a delusional remoulding of reality is made by a considerable number of people in common. The religions of mankind must be classed among the mass-delusions of this kind. No one, needless to say, who shares a delusion ever recognizes it as such...

The collective irrational belief is not only wrong, an intellectual high treason, but pernicious in its resulting intolerance, oppression, bigotry, arrogance, child abuse, homophobia, abortion-clinic bombings, cruelties to women, war, suicide bombers, and educational systems that teach ignorance when it comes to math and science. This psychotic God is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully. Thomas Jefferson claimed that Christianity is the most perverted system that ever shone on man. A 1796 treaty signed by John Adams declared that the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion. Adams also said, "this would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it." Even conservative icon, Barry Goldwater, threatened to fight fundamentalists every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans.


But of course! A resurgent Islam, for instance, is on a campaign of conquest throughout the world. Hordes of life-in-hand foot-solider fanatical Muslims are striving to kill and get killed. All they want is the opportunity to discharge their homicidal-suicidal impulse, on their way to Allah's promised glorious paradise. And in the background granting the foot-soldiers' wishes are their handlers, the puppeteers, who pull the strings and detonate these human bombs. The campaign of death waged by the Islamist-jihadist, be he a puppet or a puppeteer, is energized by the belief of delectable rewards that await the faithful implementer of Allah's dictates. Through a highly effective indoctrination, the jihadist has come to believe firmly in Islam's grand delusion. He believes that Allah is the one and only supreme creator of earth and heavens; that it is his duty and privilege to abide by Allah's will and carry out his plans at all costs; he believes firmly in a gloriously wonderful immortal afterlife in paradise, for which a martyr's death is the surest quickest admission. Although the dominating theme of the delusion is quasi spiritual, the promised rewards of the afterlife awaiting the martyr are sensual and material. All the things and activities that the jihadist desires and cannot attain or practice, and rejects in his earthly life will be purified and proffered to him in the paradise of the next life. Thus goes the delusion.

It is important to understand that the human mind is not a perfect discerner of the objective reality. In actuality, reality is in the mind of the beholder. The outside world only supplies bits and pieces of raw material that the mind puts together to form its reality. Depending on the type and amount of bits and pieces that a given mind receives, its reality can be very different from that of another mind. The more prescribed and homogeneous a group, the greater is the group's consensual reality, since the members share much in common experiential input and reinforce each others' mindset. Thus, members of a given religious order, for instance, tend to think much more similarly to one another than to members of other groups with different experiential histories. Various approximations of the objective reality, therefore, rule the mind. The degree to which these approximations deviate from the larger group's consensual reality determines its delusional extent and severity.

A cocaine mainliner, for instance, under the influence of the drug, may become convinced that a bug is burrowing under his skin. In his absolute, although clearly false, certitude of the reality of his perception, cocaine users are known to take a knife to their own body to dig the burrowing bug out before it has penetrated too deeply. A methamphetamine user's reality is often distorted in a different way. Under the influence of the drug, an intense paranoia overtakes him. His reality is dominated by the belief that one or more people are lurking about to harm or kill him. He may wield a deadly weapon, going from room to room, from closet to closet, in search of the assailants. If you believe that a bug is camping deeply in your body, then you might go ahead and try to dig the non-existent bug out. If you believe that people are lurking around the house to harm or kill you, you go after them before they get you. If you believe that all the troubles of the world are due to the evil-doings of the non-Muslims who war against Allah, then you do all you can to fight and kill them, particularly since Allah tells you to do so in the Quran.

Delusions, even when they are at great variance from the objective reality, can rule the mind without the need for drugs, or as a result of neurological dysfunctions or other factors. The young and the less-educated are most vulnerable to believe the claims of charlatans, con artists, and cunning clerics, as truth and reality. A tragic example of the young's susceptibility to induced delusion is the case of thousands of Iranian children who were used as human minesweepers in the last Iran-Iraq war. The mullahs issued made-in-China plastic keys for paradise to children as enticement to go forward and clear the minefield with their bodies ahead of the military's armored vehicles. The children believed the murderers and rushed to their death, thinking that they were headed for Islam's glorious paradise. The repeated intense indoctrination of the children even changed the perception of some of the charlatan mullahs so that they, themselves, believed their own lies, took their own keys to Allah's paradise and rushed to their death clinging to the plastic trinkets. Hence, some of the puppeteers, in this instance, became puppets themselves. Such are the follies and fallibilities of the human mind.

It is, therefore, understandable that many of the higher-up Islamic puppeteers, who are usually brainwashed from early childhood, devote their fortunes and persons to the implementation of their deeply engrained delusions. Deluded by the threats and promises of Islam, Muslims, poor or rich, vie with one another in furthering the violent cause of Allah. Many non-Muslims are also victims of a different, yet just as deadly, delusion. They believe that Islam is a religion of peace, that only a small minority of Muslims are jihadists, and Muslims can be reasoned with to abandon the Quran-mandated elimination of the non-believers. These well-meaning simpletons are just as deluded as the fanatic jihadists by refusing to acknowledge the fact that one cannot be a Muslim and not abide by the dictates of the Quran.

Re: Legal Reasoning
« Reply #279 on: February 22, 2008, 06:46:03 AM »

[...] During the Waco standoff the FBI utilized the Behavioral Sciences Unit for advice in dealing with Koresh and his followers. In addition to utilizing its in-house resources, the FBI also solicited and received input from various outside experts in many fields, including:


It's not so much the fault of the FBI and others when not being able to figure people like Koresh and the like -- they're too complex. Take, for instance, Jim Jones. It's been said that he learned many of his thought reform techniques by studying Marxism-Leninism. The ideology of the Temple became focused on placing the group and "cause" above the individual. Self-sacrifice (of followers) was considered the highest act, whereas selfishness was the lowest form of behavior. Jones mandated public "catharsis" of all "transgressions." This involved public confession, humiliation and punishment. Loyalty tests were given in the form of staged suicides, and "admission" of various crimes. Followers were required to write up their innermost "treasonous" thoughts and send them to Jones. Numerous irrational and conflicting messages were given to followers. One such message demonstrates a particularly fascinating example of projection on a rather primitive level. Jones declared himself the only "true heterosexual" and had most, if not all male followers "admit" they were gay. The fact that he was coercing sex from many male followers somehow did not present a contradictory message to Jones. Standard cult practices have been described elsewhere. In essence, they involve a leader with total control, and eventually, relative isolation of the group. The following list of basic techniques of thought reform can easily be found amongst Jones' methods:

  • Control of property and income
  • Weakening of family ties
  • Sociopolitical caste system
  • Control of egression (escape)
  • Control of verbal (and written) expression
  • Cognitive control
  • Emotional control

Jones' use of these techniques helped indoctrinate members, and ultimately led to a collective group regression whereby the group resists most implications that they are following harmful directives. Collective regression involves a group's intense identification with an idealized leader. Group members have a shared, elevated conception of themselves as a group, as well as a shared group fantasy of merging with the "omnipotent" leader. To gain the leader's support, submission to the leader's will is essential. This inevitably generates secret hostility within individual group members. This then becomes a set up for the group leader to displace this hostility onto outside groups or individuals. The displacement of group anger also serves to promote group cohesion and paranoia. Or, as Freud noted, "It is always possible to bind together a considerable number of people in love, so long as there are other people left over to receive the manifestations of their aggressiveness." When a leader is idealized, members feel freed from moral constraints. The need to be critical of the leader's commands is reduced or abrogated, allowing members to override the normal rules of society in the name of the "cause."