Friday, September 25, 2009
Stubborn pathogen, unsuspecting host.
My name is Enoch. Most of you know me as that commenter with a peculiar fondness for ludicrously long comments.
Imagine how long this post is going to be now that there are no character limits :)
Anyway, there is nothing controversial in my post. In fact I am assuming a different role today. I'll be your cheerful tour guide.
You see, a crime has been committed and I'll take you on a tour of the crime scene. I'll be as careful as I can because the crime is in progress and the criminal never stops. The criminal has total control over the scene and would kick me out the second I get him too uncomfortable. You are no stranger to the scene and you're familiar with the wrongs, you just don't see them as such. All I can to do is point this out to you and show you the evidence. You will have to decide to either; ignore it, prosecute it or judge yourself to be in too deep. Hate to break it to you but you are the victim and the perpetrator. And your mind, is the scene of the crime.
Imagine an idea as dangerous as a thermonuclear device and more virulent than the seasonal flu/conjunctivitis. An idea so well crafted such that once a person decides to play host to this idea and accepts it, the host can almost never let it go. He is compelled to nuture it and spread it and is blinded to the fact that it imprisons him and intends to keep him locked up forever. Now imagine you are infected with this idea.
How do you design an idea to meet those specifications? Simple, all you need are five components. I'll play the role of the designer. Let the tour begin.
On my left you've got the ultimate THREAT.
1) The THREAT: Why have one? well, fear is the number one motivator. It is so because evolution's critical goal has always been self preservation. For this reason, it was important that your ancestors be filled with fear when they encountered a predator like say, a lion. Fear provided the trigger for the biological precursors that gave them a heightened sense of awareness and the ability to stretch their bodies and minds to the limit. That was evolution's perfect tool to ensure the survival of a species. This is the reason fear is the most compelling emotion. If our dangerous idea is going to be self sustaining, it would need fear to keep our host on his toes. To elicit this emotion, the THREAT has got to come in two parts. The earthly version which is every conceivable wrong that can happen to a person on earth and the otherworldly version which has to be abstract and vague but represent the very essence of pain. That way everyone experiences it in their own personal visceral way. Since evolution has conditioned us to fear death, why don't we take a page from Ivan Pavlov and profit from evolution's million year effort? Our imaginary otherworldly THREAT would be just like death but unimaginably worse. Some sort of an enduring death with copious amounts of suffering. Perpetual pain and death in one package.
Right above the THREAT, in appealing glitter, you've got the PROMISE.
2) The PROMISE: Is this even necessary? Of course it is. We've got to respect the dichotomy of nature. Besides, being rewarded is also part of evolution's toolkit. We should keep borrowing from her. Fear is nothing without a reward. All animals harness fear to escape predators in order to continue living. When they do so, they are rewarded with life. Sounds good enough. We will make our otherworldly PROMISE life without end. On earth, we could throw in all kinds of promises. All imaginable goodies obtainable on earth. But how can you manage this, you ask? Surely , in reality, the idea can't live up to such expectations! Its host would surely smell a rat once the cruelties of life hits him in the face. Have faith my friend, have faith. Faith? what is that? I'll be designing that too in a moment just keep reading and you'll observe how to take care of the problem you've just highlighted.
That right there in the dark is the bad cop.
3) The BAD COP: The boogieman. The evil dude. Remember what you mentioned earlier about the cruelties of life? This is our fall guy. He would take the fall for everything that falls out of favor with our host. He will also be the resident punching bag on demand to take out all your frustrations.
And then we've got the GOOD COP. He is all around you.
4) The GOOD COP: The nice imaginary friend. The antithesis of the evil dude. He takes credit for everything positive that randomly happens to our host. The host has cancer? Bad cop! Narrowly escapes a car crash? Good cop! pretty simple. Naturally, he also takes credit for the PROMISE. His job, essentially, is to be an opportunist in every sense of the word. Limited only by the imagination of the host. If the host can imagine a positive spin on any scenario/circumsttance, he steps in and snatches the credit. No questions asked. Also, we ascribe him the attribute of being infinitely wise. That way if things go inexplicably wrong the host gets to chuck it up to the mystery of infinite wisdom.
And lastly, the HEAD SHOT. I can't show it to you because it is not a thing, rather, it is the absence of something.
5) The HEAD SHOT: This is the most critical of all components of the idea. It is so important because none of the others are real. Essentially, this is where we take out the head of the host. We've got to shut down his ability to reason for himself. We can't have him thinking and seeing through our folly. Since all the aforementioned components are fake there is no evidence for any of them but we need to convince our host somehow. How do we do this? Faith. What is that, you ask? Well, its really nothing new. I'm borrowing again, this time from the insane. You notice how psychiatric cases have strong convictions about imaginary stuff? We'll just rebrand that. We will call it faith and classify it as good. You might think to yourself, don't be silly, no one is going to accommodate subtle bouts of insanity just to host your idea. That's what you think but in reality all I need is to employ the THREAT and offer the PROMISE and its a done deal.
There you have it. The blueprint for lifelong incarceration. Totally self contained. All imaginary but that doesn't matter. The HEAD SHOT takes care of that.
AS long as it is noted that hosts are more welcoming to the idea when their minds are most pliable (young age or following a traumatic experience) and the host is offered the PROMISE as a reward for spreading the idea then everyone is a potential vector for this pathogen of an idea and its virulence can only grow in bounds.
Don't you just love religious beliefs?