Unlike the newborn lamb, which at the time of its birth, is already what it ever will be— a lamb, the human being is born with an immense potential to grow and ‘be’. We continue to grow, change, and ‘be’ till the last breath of our lives, whereas a lamb is already a lamb on the first day of its life. A lamb cannot ‘be’ anything else but a lamb. A human being can develop its realizable potentials or can waste them. The more a mind is into rational thinking the more it potentials are realized, leading to achievement, happiness and prosperity. The healthy human ‘self’, continues to grow and develop throughout life, actualizing its potentials. As more experience is added, more learning occurs and the human personality formulates and acquires Wisdom. A continuous attainment of education manifests itself in the individual acquiring a greater sense of judgment and a better insight about self, the environment, the society and the world that we live in. Those who continuously make bad choices and follow the path of least resistance, end up having minds that are unchallenged, left in an arrested state of development. The ultimate path of least resistance is a belief in miracles and magical happening. The Devil of lethargy takes over. The end result is a self-righteous individual who is an under achiever, yet lives in a delusional world of ‘all is well’. Such individuals react against the society.
The human appetite for religion and superstition is one of the most primitive of our traits. Wonderfully described by William James, the American neurologist in his classic, ‘A Variety of Religious Experiences’, 1902, this book gives us a deep insight into the religious mind. William James gives us an objective insight into various religious experiences and was perhaps the first in modern times to consider an organic basis for the religious state. The belief that salvation comes through pain and suffering is a denominator, common to all religions. The experiences are not subjective or limited to any particular cult or religion. Essentially all religions and cults manifest this condition. The religious man is a survivor from an environment that inhibits freethinking. Whether it is imprinted or imposed by conditioning, the religious person feels most comfortable in an environment where the status quo is worshipped and progress condemned. The opposition and defiance to freedom of thought is a cultural state. The ‘Thought Police’ of the Clergy or the Mullahs ensures that all doors to progressive thinking stay shut.
In contrast, the healthy human brain thrives delightfully in an environment of logic and reason. Nothing is more delightful to the healthy brain than deductive reasoning and logic. The hurdles of arithmetic and geometry, when solved, bring forth a joy that no other human experience equals. Similarly nothing is more traumatic to the human mind than absurdities. Censure of the human intellect at its earliest stages of growth and conforming it to accept absurd and illogical ideas is a highly traumatic experience. If unchecked, it leads to the creation of a religious fanatic. Religious fanatic are psychopaths who have suffered severe insults and abuse of their intellect. There can be no greater trauma and abuse inflicted upon the human brain than the imposition of dogma and illogical concepts. An accommodative approach towards blind acceptance of illogical ideas and beliefs, suppresses a mind’s natural growth. It creates a storm in the neuronal circuits of the human brain. The post-traumatic state has deep effects on our neurochemistry. Chronic abuse secondary to persistent exposure to absurdity sets the mind into a functional dys-equilibrium. The human mind finally succumbs. It identifies with its abuser. Like every other abuse, this creates a serious neuro-chemical dysfunction. This has several psychological manifestations. Opposition and defiance to the norms of the society reflect in their dress and appearance. A beard, a Hijab, dressing up like a priest, wearing signs or stickers, are indeed symptoms, which are a scream for help. Perhaps this is a healthy reaction against intellectual abuse. If there is no help available for cognitive change, these unresolved conflicts turn the mind into a volcano.