We are not free of darker feelings and views just because we espouse a spiritual view or lifestyle.
Shall we explore the possible non-psychological basis for the law of contagion?
It’s reasonable to assume that the chain of cause and effect in an environment includes everything in that environment, yes? To be affected by an event, something had to be present there to be affected. Well, your subconscious or instinctive mind makes connections between its own state and things you perceive in your environment so you naturally without effort associate body odour with poor hygiene, and poor hygiene with possible disease. Is this not so? Seem unrealistic so far?
Experience can alter those associations though? Well, the instinctive or subconscious mind does many things, but it doesn’t form judgements, and experience can alter associations, yes, even if its “artificial” or engineered experience. I will get to that soon.
Your subconscious mind only tracks flows or changes of state. It doesn’t do the math, as they say, around why something might be a specific way. It just registers that it is or was that way. So it forms associations or links of causal contagion between things that to our conscious mind don’t make sense. It may link the smell of alcohol to sexual arousal, or to intellectual conversation, or to physical violence. Each is more or less equally likely. Strange, no?
Which is what we see in dreams? Yes. You dream your disease or desire. The dreaming mind doesn’t distinguish between the two. Thus Jungian psychologists speak of having a death wish as well as a libido.
Now back to the concrete anchor… It could be argued that as irrational as those associations might seem when you think about them, they still had a causal link. The smell of alcohol becomes linked to the smell of vomit through binge drinking, which links itself to the smell of vomit brought on by over eating, or under eating, or just simple infection. Can we really say that these seemingly irrational connections are unreal?
So yes, we live in a world created by elaborate change of contagion, also known as cause and effect.
Have you all heard of the placebo effect?
They used to believe that the placebo effect worked by some process of suggestion convincing the person to believe that a certain effect is taking place. This has been proven wrong. Instead, though people can be, and in one experience were told, that they were being given a placebo and that even the doctors treatment protocol was faked, the person actually experienced a relief of their symptoms anyway. Strange, no? Trips to the doctor have a contagious link to recovery. No medicine, and I mean even the real medicine, has the power to cure any sickness you may have.
You go to the doctor only to find your symptoms have gotten better. People have experienced that. Any medicine they give you only alters a process that generates a symptom of the illness. The actual healing is done by the body itself. The medicine at best gets the symptoms out of the way if it doesn’t create worse symptoms in its place.
But does that give doctors reason to say that, “It’s all in your head” when you complain of something they can’t detect? Actually, no it doesn’t give them reason to say that. That’s the problem. Because of modern thinking we distort our awareness of the same processes that would let us effectively treat or correct the problems we have.
They seem to love saying that. They tend to be atheists. In my experience many atheists have a strong emotional investment in the belief that anything not material is delusional. They seem to like to believe in closed systems when even science has established that there is no such thing as a true, factual, closed system, or system unaffected by any other system.
Atheists seem the most concerned with their beliefs and preaching them. Oh, their cousins in the conflict are equally invested. Fundamentalist Christians mirror that behaviour all the way along, but that’s a different topic.
Your thoughts are welcome. Be well friends.