Heaven and Hell

Heaven and Hell, – very familiar concepts, they are. While both are familiar, the former is the aim of every believer all across the world while the latter is dreaded by everyone nay, every believer, around the world.

Both Heaven and Hell are words which belong to extreme religious centric beliefs. According to the belief heaven is the dwelling place of God and is shared by Angels and the Spirits of the righteous people. However, outside belief, the word heaven is used to refer the sky or the firmament. May be, drawing a parallel to the concept of heaven being the blissful abode of God, literary enthusiasts use these words to express feelings of extreme happiness and joy.

Hell, in every sense, is the opposite to heaven; hell is the place for the wicked to live after death. The place is the epicenter of all evils; it is pervaded by condemned spirits and is full of miseries. Just like the word heaven, hell too has slang referring it to someone who has been victimized for harsh reprimand and or punishment. In yet another context, making uproar and creating uneasy situations is hell for the nascent genre among the general public.

There is no proof of evidence to cite as to when and where the belief of heaven and hell started. It is said that the belief originated from Greek philosophy. Ancient Greek philosophy belong to the period around the 6th century BCE: Greek philosophers like Plato had talked elaborately about soul and spirit: Soul-spirit conglomerate plays pivotal role in the matter of entitlement for entry either into heaven or to hell. Greek philosopher Plato’s firm stand was that salvation takes place when the soul is set free from the body at the time of death. Even then, attributing the origin of heaven and hell to Greek philosophy does not seem to be correct.

Even before the birth of Greek philosophy there were ancient belief systems which flourished in the East. Those belief systems had many explanations on the subject relating to soul and spirit and after-death habitats. Taoism of China and Hinduism of ancient Bharat were the prominent belief systems of the yore. Hinduism was epicentre of all subjective imaginations including the dwellings of heaven and hell.

Complexity of human brain has no limit: It enabled prehistoric nomads to believe in supernatural powers and their thought process concerning belief grew with innumerable imaginations. That enabled them to build residence in the Skies for the super natural powers, much above their own habitats on the surface of the earth. In those habitats there were no miseries and calamities. Those were, no doubt, imaginations which underwent further refinements: The improved version concluded that when one dies, the life-force of the individual escapes from the body of the person and it moves towards the dwelling of the supernatural powers to be accommodated there.

As years passed by, all these pagan thoughts got modified in the form of organized system of beliefs as Religions, the supernatural powers as Gods, the dwelling of the God as Heaven, the life-sustaining force of the living as Soul or Spirit which leaves the body of the persons at the time of death. Formation of Hell was in the same trajectory but in the opposite direction: At the time of death the soul of all who do good things be accommodated by God along with him in heaven while the spirit of those who do bad things be accommodated by God in Hell which is full of miseries.

The concept of Heaven and Hell is part and parcel of every religion: Even the so-called non-religious philosophies of Buddhism and Jainism are no exception.

According to Hindu system of faith, entitlement to Heaven or Hell depends on Karma: Doors of heaven will be opened to the spirits of the ones who did Good Karma while alive. On the other hand, the ones who did bad karma will be dumped into the ditches of hell; their spirits will become prey to rebirth in continuum. In Buddhism, heaven is temporary habitat for the soul; the soul is entitled to incarnation. Not only that, as part of Samsara which is an illusory reality, there are many heavens for soul to habitat depending upon Karma. Jainism also holds the same concept about heaven: As per the concept there are several layers of heavenly abode for the souls to enter but the entitlement depends upon Karma.

Ancient Chinese mythology philosophizes that heaven observes, sees, hears and keeps close watch over all humans. The great philosopher Confucius asserted that belief in the quote: “He who offends against Heaven has none to whom he can pray.”

All organized religions of modern era have specific concepts about heaven and hell. All their preachings are aimed at achieving heavenly habitat of bliss; all the places of worship, all the religious heads, all the preachers devote time for prayers for the followers to help their souls attain heaven and to save the souls from going to hell. All followers of the religions attend prayers regularly on weekly congregations on time for the aim to be fulfilled.

Outside religion, there are some think-masters of materialism who are still unable to keep out of the belief in heaven and hell: They argue that belief in heaven keep people away from committing crimes for fear of hell; they do good things with love and compassion for their soul to get a place in heaven. These arguments of the stake holders are absurd if not nonsense. Criminals never stop their illicit activities for the sake of heaven and for fear of hell. Because, even the believer-criminals have all means at their disposal to use the path of confessions before priests, prayers before the Almighty god to save their soul from going to hell but to allow their soul easy entry to heaven.   Amen! Let the Soul of all rest in peace.

Love and Hate

Profoundly tender and passionate affection is Love; feeling of warm attachment is love; strong predilection and liking for someone or something is love; Above all, at the top of everything, Love points at sexual desire and its gratification.

Every human being knows love; every bird, every animal, every living organism feels love, experiences love, lives in love.

Intense and passionate dislike is Hate; feeling of strong hostility is hate; aversion to something or someone is hate; unwilling to interfere and to act wherever needed also constitute a version of Hate.

Every human being knows hate; every bird, every animal, every living organism undergoes hate; everyone keeps hate as a life-partner.

Linguists are very curious to find out which word in the linguafranca has the same meaning with different looks: Hate has not been an exception. One of the linguists found out that hate originated from old English word ‘hete’. Hete means hostility and aversion arising out of fear or anger or injury.

Love and hate are slated to be two of the most intense emotions: They are marked as closely connected with each other with totally different aptitudes. It has been a serious concern for scientists to locate the particular part of the human body where love-hate mechanisms are situated.

Researchers at University College, London on their relentless pursuits, have discovered that brain houses love and hate at a safe location called putamen insular cortex or medial frontal gyrus. Their hypothesis is that these regions protect love from hate through its spiteful reaction. They clarified that some of the brain circuits are equally responsible for generating the experiences of love and hate even though both are opposite to each other in quality and nature. Not only that, their conclusions indicated that hate is intended primarily to protect love.

The Researchers are reported to have also found that when a person undergoes feeling of love, the frontal cortex connected with mental activity of critical thinking becomes less excitatory as compared to normal working: When hate situations are introduced the particular brain area assumed energetic response, well-set to strongly react.

The above findings still need further elucidation. A deep study based on the excitatory and inhibitory responses of the sensory centres in the cortex might lead to the truth. Whatever it is, the reported findings give credence to the conclusion that love diminishes reasoning and critical thinking whereas hate produces instant aggressive sensory experience with strong motor reaction against hate-situations. It is common phenomenon that when an individual is in deep love with someone or something, the person concerned becomes unaware of reality and acts without reasoning. Very often such situations lead to animosity and hate leading to mental and physical hazards for the lover and the loved. Simply put, that is how ‘blind-love’ impacts.

Let the Researchers and psychologists in Western universities continue spending the bounty of their time and energy to find the special spot in the brain that produces love and hate. In the meanwhile those who are not averse or hesitant to Pavlovian theory of neuroscience know pretty well that love and hate are not housed in any particular brain-spot. As in the case of any other feelings and emotions, love and hate is also the product of excitatory and inhibitory reactions of nerve cells in the sensory centres: The Sensory centres are located in the cerebral cortex. Sensory centres are excited through reflex action and induce sensory experiences including love and hate, when stimuli from environs reach the centres through sense organs of the living entity, irrespective of whether the entities are humans or animals or any other living organism.

Frontal cortex of the brain which houses the five sensory centres is responsible for all types of mental and physical experiences and reactions including motor response. Since love and hate are emotional sensory experiences, these emotional feelings are certainly the product of brain-centric sensory reactions.

Meeting the physical needs is the basic requirement that ensures life, growth and survival of the living organism. Ingestible food and water, suitable environs for existence, procreation of new generation are fundamental physical needs.

Love enables the organism to meet its fundamental physical needs with the aid of hate. It is Hate that identifies what is appropriate and suitable for love to meet the physical needs. Hate executes the selection of the suitable by strong reaction in favor of whatever and wherever the objects are suitable for love to help to meet the physical needs or by strong reaction to reject whatever and wherever the resources are not suitable for love to help meet the physical needs. These are primitive love-hate reactions which are confined to lower animate species and the humans. The individual to individual communication mechanism of First Signal System gives boost for love-hate reaction among these species.

As for humans the scenario assumes greater significance: When homo-erectus evolved into homo-sapiens, their brain activities and intelligence became enormously complex. Development of Second Signal System of communication through words added extra glamour and supremacy to the complexity of human brain.

Love-hate reactions of human brain gained greater operational skills with the advent of second signal system in addition to the first signal system. Love thus became tool of awe and wonder in addition to its primitive module. Hate followed suit to help love by the route of aggressiveness and violence, in almost all areas of innovations, inventions and also in social, cultural, religious and political spheres.

Love in accompaniment with hate, both driving on the physic, opened the way for the evolution: Love and hate will ever continue its worthy job for survival as also for destruction.

Pain and Pleasure – Philosophy Vs Science

There are innumerable phenomena which are well placed in the awareness-kit of humans. Whether illiterate or literate, poor or rich, they know the phenomena and deal with the phenomena within the confines of their awareness-kit. However, philosophers and scientists are never satisfied with the general knowledge of the phenomena. They, therefore, jump into the field of study, evaluation and explanation of the phenomena to enlighten everybody.

Logically right it would be to say that in all such situations, it is the philosophers who drive the scientists into the field of study, evaluation and judgement of things and phenomena to lift the phenomena out of the glitter of philosophy. Had there not been a philosophy, probably there could not have been any scientific studies to demystify the philosophic revelations. Pain and Pleasure are two such instances where philosophers made imaginary conclusions which scientists had to demystify:

Philosophers Jeremy Bentham, Baruch Spinoza, and Descartes described that pain and pleasure are part of a continuum which go on and on from one condition after the other, non-stop. Perhaps these thinkers might have construed that pain and pleasure appear one after the other continuously for generations after generations. The idea ought to have sprung up out of a view that both pain and pleasure are interlinked universal sufferings.

Another philosophy as propounded by Marquis de Sade says that pain has ethic connotations and that pain ultimately leads to pleasurable situations in continuum. Similarly, Rene Descartes under the garb of Cartesian dualism strongly argued that pain and pleasure are inherent in one’s own consciousness within the inner world of the mind. On the other side, Atheist Philosopher Nietzsche explained that meaning of pain is the meaning of life which is made up of pain and pleasure.

Philosophy is built on subjectivism. Philosophers build thoughts on the basis of imaginations and shape their conclusions as per the world view they hold. Their world view always evades objective reality where each and every thing including matter and phenomena has material existence. Therefore a scientific approach only will give clear idea about the experiences of pain and pleasure both of which relate to body (and mind).

Pain and pleasure are sensory experiences felt by living organisms. The experiences are distinguished clearly and specifically by humans as compared to other living organisms like animals and birds. Animals and birds do certainly feel the experiences but fail to make localization and thereby to deal with the experiences pointedly to find the causes and effects of situations as humans can do.

Pain is explained as an unpleasant experience closely associated with strong emotional feelings arising out of both mental and physical damages and hurts. It is a physically motivated alarm signalling the brain that something is not going well for the body. Pleasure is attributed to situations which give feelings with emotional craving that enlivens physical needs of the organism required for pleasant feelings.

Pain motivates the living organism to escape from situations that hurt the physique and thereby to protect the body from damage. Pain also cautions the organism to keep away from situations that result in similar experience in future. Pain induction is carried out by the body parts which include the brain. There are pain receptors everywhere in the body. They exist in the skin, body-joints, peiosteum lining around bones, surfaces of arteries and skull structures. Pain-centric Signals from internal and external sources stimulate the receptors: The stimulus reaches the sensory centres in the cerebral cortex of the brain via spinal cord by the working of inherent nerve connections called unconditioned reflexes. The stimuli excite the sensory centres and thereby the person concerned get the sensory experience of pain and reacts mentally and physically to deal with the situation. Sense organs and motor centre in the brain are the executors of the task.

Unlike the negative trauma conveyed by pain, pleasure induces enjoyable feelings for both the mind and body. The feelings of pleasure induced by same situations may differ from person to person depending upon type and excitatory and inhibitory reactions of sensory centres. Most of the pleasure situations relate to food, health, resource-availability, sex, family, relations, friends, surroundings, society, social drives, recognition, art, music, literature and such other environs that go in line with the craving of the individual. Feelings of happiness, delight, joy, gladness, satisfaction, gratification, fulfilment, contentment, enjoyment and amusement are synonyms of pleasure. They are the undercurrents of pleasure situations.

Pleasure is experienced when the result of an activity coincides with the aim and aspiration a person has set or foreseen: It is postulated that the more important the aspiration is the more difficult (painful) it would be for the person to achieve it. Once the aim and aspiration are achieved the person becomes happier. That postulation leads to believe that pleasure always follows pain.

Some researchers have come with a set of conclusions stating that there is specific centre in the brain which produces the experience of pleasure. While one group of researchers identified the brain structure nucleus accumbency as pleasure centre another group claimed septum pellucidium as the pleasure centre while for yet another group hypothalamus is the pleasure centre. The very context that the views of the researchers differ from one another shows that pleasure centre theory has no tangible scientific evidence.

All experiences, including pain and pleasure are felt as a result of excitation of the sensory centres in the cerebral cortex of the brain. The stimuli for excitation are conducted through either unconditioned reflexes or conditioned reflexes which are nerve connections of nerve to nerve communication path. In the absence of sense organs which direct the stimuli to sensory centres, no living organism, including humans could experience any feeling; pain and pleasure no exception.

Pain and pleasure have played major role in the survival path of the species. In the course of existence each species, each living organism aims at the pleasure of existence by undergoing pains to achieve the aim. The nervous system of the organism enables the twin processes of pain and pleasure to tread the path of survival. The path led the route to natural selection and genetic mutation of evolution of the species.

Pain and pleasure are inter-linked sensory-experiences; But for pain and pleasure the world of humans of today could not have been what it is of today

Brainwash

Wash or Washing is cleaning something out of dirt just like what is done to clean dirty clothes with soap and water. Clothe Wash is familiar to everybody but brain wash is a different matter, altogether. Brainwash aims at cleaning the brain free of the ‘stuff’ perceived to be unnecessary, unwanted, unholy, unhelpful, inappropriate and or dis-allowable for someone or somebody or some group of ideologues. Brain wash is therefore totally different from cleaning dirty clothes with soap and water. Brainwash is not at all an easy task as compared to washing clothes with or without soap and water.

Brain consists of nerve cells which nurture and sustain invisible nerve connections which help formation of Sensations, Perceptions, Concepts and Memory. It is hard and even impossible to wash either the cells or the memory in the normal routine ways. Even in the case of serious injuries caused by accidents and illnesses where memory gets erased, it doesn’t constitute brain wash.

Brain wash involves deliberate action of a person or a group of persons for changing the thoughts, pursuits and beliefs of another person or group of persons against their will. Social influence to change one’s way of thinking without the person’s consent or permission amounts to brain wash. Suggestions and persuasions of someone directed at another who gets carried away by the suggestions and the persuasions also constitute brainwash. In the process, the suggestions and persuasions, depending upon victim’s mental stature, replace all or part of what the victim held in mind earlier. The entity that carries out the work of brainwash is brain-washer while the subject of brainwash can be called as brain-washee.

Brain wash also known as brain-washing, has many connotations: Brainwash controls the brain-washee; coercive persuasions are the common style of brainwash; the thoughts of the person or persons at whom coercive persuasions of brain wash is directed get slowly deformed; indoctrination process involved in persuasion causes impairment to the original mental calibre and the victim becomes unable to think and act freely and independently.

Brainwash changes moral values, beliefs, social interactions, rituals, behaviour, relationships and means of communication in individuals and group of individuals. In short, brain wash diminishes or totally destroys individuals’ freedom of thoughts, emotions and decision making prowess.

Social influence plays a major role in brain wash of the general public. In every body’s life, social influence takes place at every moment. Social influence is a collective way that changes people’s attitudes, behaviour and even beliefs. Outside the realm of social influence lies forceful dictate like “just do it or face the consequence”. That tactic is effectively used by extremist fanatic cults. They even apply physical harm and threat to life to get their nefarious intentions fulfilled through brainwash.

“Just do it” tantrum of brainwash is dictatorial in nature. Apart from extremists and fanatic cults, religious fanatics and power hungry political leaders, use the technique for selfish motives and establishing their supremacy. In modern times, persuasion and propaganda are usually deployed to brainwash the common man and the general public. As normal practice political parties use persuasive propaganda to brainwash the electorate and thereby to build a chain of followers to dance according to whims and fancies of the party they represent.

Neuroscience explains that brainwash takes place through the process of excitation and inhibition of nerve cells in the sensory centres in the cerebral cortex of the brain-washee victims. The process is executed by conditioned reflexes: Conditioned reflexes are those temporary nerve connections which are formed in the cerebral cortex after the organism is born. They develop as a result of repeat reactions of stimuli emanating from internal and external environments.

The formation of a conditioned reflex is well exposed by the famous experiments conducted by Dr. Ivan P. Pavlov, on his pet dog. While the hungry pet dog was being fed with food, the sound of a metronome was introduced in its auditory environs. After repeating the experiment for a number of times the food was withdrawn. Thereafter, when the metronome sound was introduced, the dog started salivating without the presence of food. The nerve connection which excited the salivary centre in the cerebral cortex of the dog in the absence of food was a conditioned reflex.

Conditioned reflexes formed in the nervous system may get erased and made ineffective by the process of inhibition which is equal and opposite to the responsive brain function of excitation.

Thoughts and behaviors of individuals or group of individuals are established by conditioned reflexes. Established mental attitudes and behaviour patterns get changed and then replaced by another set of thoughts and actions through the working of another set of conditioned reflexes. For that change, the reflexes which formed the earlier mental attitudes and behaviours have got to be deflected or erased. Such deflection and or erase are brought about by inhibition of the nerve cells in the sensory centres.

There are two types of inhibitions named ‘internal unconditioned inhibition’ and ‘external conditioned inhibition’. The brain wash tantrum of threat on the lines of ‘do it or face the consequence is the tool for internal unconditioned inhibition. Propaganda and persuasion techniques carry out brainwash through the working of external conditioned inhibition.

Throughout the history of mankind, brainwash has been part and parcel of existence: Whether one likes it or not, the truth remains unchanged: Brainwash continues to pervade individuals, Society and Nations. Dictatorial brainwash is the worst curse; it erodes human values; it makes individuals as slaves. Brainwash destroys freedom of thoughts and action. Irrespective of which way brainwash is effectuated, the result remains the same: Brainwash nullifies human values. Brainwash spreads shadow over the light of freedom of thought and it suppresses intellectual pursuits.

IQ Tests – Worthy or Not Worthy

‘IQ’ is the short form of ‘Intelligence Quotient’: Quotient is a mathematical term used to indicate the result obtained by dividing one number by another number. However, in the so-called psychological context, quotient means a method for evaluation:  In that sense IQ test is purportedly used to evaluate the standard of intelligence of a person with reference to age, skill, aptitude and knowledge. Depending upon these parameters mental prowess of a person is assessed. The assessment is made on the basis of answers to certain set of questions formulated by the test-conducting psychologists. The questions are focused on the skills of verbal communication, mathematical acumen, spatial concepts, visualization, classification, logic and recognition.

IQ test was introduced in the early twentieth century by a German Psychologist called William Stern. As is well known, what psychologists decide need not necessarily be fault-free conclusions because their findings are based on phenomena without looking into the material factors that generate the phenomena. IQ tests for arriving at the standard and scale of intelligence of a person cannot therefore be fault free.

In most cases, IQ tests are conducted to select individuals for the purpose of education and employment. Even in the case of small children, counselors and psychologists carry out IQ tests to determine whether the child is fit enough for admission to nursery and kindergarten schools of reputed educational institutions. In the case of grownups and educated persons IQ tests are conducted to find out whether the person concerned is suitable for a particular job, for higher education and professional courses. Since IQ tests cannot measure the depth of knowledge and mental abilities of a person in different areas of operations on the basis of some formal questions and answers, whether the person concerned is a child or a grown up one, the tests turn out to be fancy predictions. The predictions seldom help detect a person’s depth of knowledge, skills and abilities in the expected field of operation.

Intelligence is the ability of human brain to reach correct conclusions about what is true and real for resolving problems being faced by individuals. Intelligence can further be explained as the capability of the human mind to know generality and intricacies of situations and thereby to decide the course of action required of the individual to deal with the situation. Intelligence, thus, evolves itself through knowledge gained from various sources. They include experiences gained through social and cultural encounters and interactions made with the environs where the individuals are born and brought up.

The very principle of intelligence revolves around conditions responsible for sensations, perceptions, conceptions and judgments. They decide intellectual prowess of an individual. Human beings of normal health who have no deformities or damages in their nerve cells are therefore bound to be of proper intelligence and adequate memory skills.

What is being touted as ‘IQ tests for assessing credence’ cannot measure creativity, sensitivity, emotions, competency and skills. A child who is born and brought up by illiterate parents who belong to ordinary working class family cannot, despite being healthy, shine in the present style of IQ tests as compared to a child born and brought up in rich, well to do and educated families. Such a situation does not, at any stretch of imagination, make the child of the poor working class family pass the intelligent quotient tests. Hence efforts for selecting persons for admission to schools and colleges or for jobs on the basis of answers to certain questions composed for the IQ test remain as fancy dress rehearsals.

Intelligence is not an inborn gift. Intelligence is acquired by and through conditioning. Conditioning depends on environs. Schools, colleges, training institutions, offices, factories, production and sales centres, and the persons who are connected with these establishments constitute environs. Once a new comer enters the premises, establishes contacts, and engages in operations, the environs prepare the new entrant fit enough for the assignment. The new comer becomes competent. The newcomer starts knowing generality and intricacies of situations and thereby starts deciding the required course of action. Efforts to predetermine intelligence before engagement, therefore, turn out to be improper.

The IQ Tests are no more relevant: IQ tests do not recognize depth of intelligence; IQ tests limit opportunities; IQ tests deny opportunities for the deserving.

Let the glamour-filled balloon of IQ tests be burst in the air, never allowing it to take a rebirth: While at it, let the IQ test performers do whatever they like but they shall not use their psychology kit to cheat others in the guise of IQ Tests.

Materialism – It’s All, For All

Materialism is that process of thought and action which upholds that everything in the universe, including all what is attributed to mind, including even the so-called miracles, is either the product of matter or is dependent on matter. Materialism rejects  beliefs of soul, spirit, supernatural powers and extra-sensory experiences of the so-called sixth sense:

Materialism as a system of philosophical thoughts developed during the early part of the Seventeenth Century. End of the sixteenth Century paved the way for the emergence of science and technology: That lead light rays to penetrate into the darkness of subjective imaginations of the human mind.

Science and scientific quest for unraveling the unknown mysteries of Universe became tools at the hands of sections among the science-savvy pursuers of the yore. Among them were the thinkers like Galileo, Bacon, Descartes and others of the ilk. They expounded the basics of materialism through the route of rationalism. It was a path breaking trend; materialism so developed was a revolution in itself in the field of natural science, social science, means of production, discoveries and inventions. Dialectical Materialism as expounded by Karl Marx forms a part of Materialism which is directed at social science, means of production, discoveries and inventions.

The Universe originated as a result of a Big Bang that took place some fifteen billion years ago. The theory is widely accepted by the scientific community as well as the general public who refuse to accept the Creationist-belief that universe was created by the Almighty God. Big Bang was the explosion of an unimaginably tiny but dense and hot piece of object; the explosion disbursed matter in the form of galaxies, stars, planets, black holes and countless other particles in Space. Evolution that followed the Big Bang saw the emergence of innumerable species including the Homo sapiens in the form of humans placed at the top of the ladder. The Big Bang was a terrific phenomenon based on matter; all the species which came into existence are the products of matter. There are nothing in space other than matter and phenomena attributable to matter. The tenets of materialism are therefore firm and irrevocable.

Beliefs are imaginations of human brain: Materialism could unravel the falsity of soul, spirit, supernatural powers and extra-sensory experiences. Materialism established that there is no soul or spirit that sustains life; materialism detected that ‘power’ in whatever way it pervades the Universe is natural and that therefore there is no supernatural power anywhere in the universe; materialism proved that there is no extra sense in human brain other than the existing five senses and without the presence of the existing senses, there could be no extra-sensory experiences of the sixth sense ever possible.

Materialists are supposed to accept and adhere to the principles of materialism. However, some people who pretend themselves as materialists argue that matter is primary thing having physical properties like size, shape, color, magnetic charge and location: As per their views, there are things which do not have these attributes of matter and therefore everything in the universe cannot be taken for granted as matter. The so-called materialists do not appear to understand what matter is? According to science, matter is something which occupies space, which exists in space. The existence does not need size, shape, color, charge or specific location. The arguers, for sure, stand aloof outside materialism; at best such materialists are fence-sitters like skeptics.

There are also critiques who direct their finger at ‘mind’ saying that mind is not matter and therefore materialism does not apply to mind. Their arguments are baseless for, mind is property of matter; phenomena of mind depend on matter; without matter the phenomena are nothing. The entire thought processes of mind including what is termed as consciousness is product of matter, is dependent on matter:

Humans are the inhabitants of planet Earth in the Universe. Earth is matter and the inhabitants of the Earth comprising humans are the product of matter. Humans are made up of matter; human brain is a part of human body and hence brain which houses the nervous system comprising countless nerve cells is also matter. Feelings and emotions are felt as a result of excitation of the nerve cells. Excitation takes place when stimuli from the environs react with the nerve cells. The stimuli from environs reach central nervous system through various nerve connections in the sensory centers that represent vision, hearing, smelling, tasting and touching. These sensory nerve centers are there in the body at the time of birth. The mental activity that enables cardiac pulsations, blood circulation, breathing and ingestion are ingrained in the nervous system at the time of birth and are made possible through permanent nerve connections controlled by unconditioned reflex actions. The mental activity governed by unconditioned reflex action keeps the organism to meet basic subsistence needs of the body. These bare needs are supplemented by countless nerve connections which are formed after the organism is born. Such after-born nerve connections are activated and controlled by conditioned reflex actions.

Human mind represents the combination of both the unconditioned and conditioned reflex actions that take place in the central nervous system. The organism survives in the environment; the organism grows and fulfils its biological calls through the nervous actions which are guided, controlled and executed by the unconditioned and the conditioned reflex actions. These then are supported and supplemented by inherent biochemical formulations of congenital origin. The entire process taken together is what constitutes ‘Mind’. Mind is phenomena generated by matter. Mind cannot and does not stand outside materialism. Mind has nothing to do with spirit world developed in the imagery of ignorant philosophers.

Matter is the only reality in the Universe: Materialism is all that is of reality: Everything including thoughts and actions is of reality; everything relating to cognition is of reality: Materialism covers everything which is of reality. Even for physical wellness and worldly-possessions which humans value the most, materialism is the pathway for fulfillment.

Cognitive Disorders – Illusions, Hallucinations, Delusions

Literally, human mind is a storehouse of complexity. Major stake-holders of the complexity are the First Signal System and the Second Signal System both of which together or separately are available only to human brain. Other living organisms have the skill of only the First Signal System. Whether First or Second, the system represents means of communication between and or among the living entities.

Sensory centres in the human brain interact with stimuli emanating from the environs with the aid of sense organs. Cognitive ability of the human brain depends upon the interaction of the sensory centres.  There are situations where cognition gets refracted and become disorderly due to malfunctioning or improper functioning of the sensory centres.

Brain activity that reflects the objective reality of the outside world begins with Sensations. Brain does not react directly with the outside objects but it acts through receptors called sense organs. Sensation is the primary mental activity and it is the initial stage of cognitive process. The process of reflection of objective reality does not stop at the initial stage. A person gets not only the individual qualities of an object but the object itself as a whole. The mental activity by or through which the entire object is reflected, involving unity and judgment, not only individual properties but the object in its entirety, is known as Perception.

Everything one sees, hears or feels is reflected through Perception.  The cognitive ability up to the stage of perception is common for animals as well as humans but the cognitive capability of humans is at a higher level due to the complexity of brain development. The distinction is attributable to Conception. Conception belongs to Second Signal System that is the means of communication through words. It is specifically separate from the First Signal System which is the means of communication of Signs and Symbols.

The transformation of cognitive function of the brain through sensations and perceptions supplemented by Conceptions pass through Evaluation and Judgment which finally ends up in the form of Memory. Memory is human ability to retain traces of past perceptions and sensations and to reproduce them as concepts. This is where the cognitive activities of central nervous system of humans sustain its generality for normal existence. However there arise situations which affect cognitive functions and end up in deflected experiences for the individuals. Such deflections generate experiences which are outside generality. What is commonly known as Illusions, Hallucinations and Delusions belongs to the deflected experiences.

Illusion is a distorted or a false perception of an existing thing or matter. The experience of illusion is deceptive but it need not necessarily be serious derangement. For example, in hot summer season, highway vehicle drivers see a mirage which is an illusion but not a serious one.

Persons who are in affective state of sensory function due to extreme beliefs, fear and anxiety become victims of deranged consciousness.  They experience very deep visual, auditory, olfactory or other illusions which are serious in nature.  Take the case of mental patients: Cracks on walls, shadows on ceilings, wandering clouds in far away skies may appear to them as monsters, characters in mythology or denizens of heaven. Their experiences are illusions that belong to the serious category. Illusions occur to healthy individuals as well as mentally retarded persons when their cerebral hemispheres and its working are obliterated or reduced due to partial inactivity or inhibition of the sensory centres in their cortex.

Hallucination is an imaginary perception: Complete absence of objects of perception is its peculiarity. The false perception appears as real to the perceiver with external projection.  The perception occupies the same position in space as that of real objects and it becomes so certain to the perceiver that the authenticity of what is perceived is never doubted by the perceiver.

Hallucinations take place as a result of disorder or derangement of mind. The disorder or the derangement can be either of elementary nature or it can be complex with high intensity. Elementary hallucination is less serious compared to complex ones. Seeing sparks of light and hearing cracking sounds in the absence of real object of vision or any source of the sound can be cited as examples for elementary hallucination. These experiences take place even while the perceiver is in total wakeful state with normal sensibility. On the other side, complex hallucinations are serious in intensity and nature:  Most hallucinations belong to auditory, visual, olfactory and gustatory sensory centres. A serious mental patient may hear voices that command him to do something or not to do something. The command could be that the patient shall kill himself or he shall go out and preach the gospel of god. In other situations, the patient would be seeing landscapes, angels roaming the heavens, god appearing before him to bless, demons chasing to devour him; all according to deep rooted beliefs.

Delusions are false opinions and beliefs which do not correspond with the true position of things and matters in the environs. They have morbid basis and are distorted and perverted reflection of objective reality.  Delusions and hallucinations are not of the same stature. Hallucinations are experiences while delusions are false opinions got deep rooted in the memory. Delusions do not correspond with reality. They are always at variance with reality and are not subject to criticism and correction. Delusion is a symptom of serious mental derangement.  It is difficult for the sufferers to free themselves out of the influence of delusions.

Illusions and Hallucinations take place when the cerebral cortex is in the transitory state of hypnotic phase. Delusions too belong to this transitory state but the bases of its arousal being strong conditioned nerve connections, the intensity of delusions remain unalterable.

It is necessary in this context to have a general understanding of natural sleep and hypnosis which is induced by idealistic practices.

While awake, the sensory centres in the cerebral hemispheres interact with stimuli from the environs and consequently the nerve cells lose energy due to the process of excitation. Then the cells pass on to restful, inactive state of inhibition. Such inhibitory state of the cells is what is commonly known as natural sleep. The very basis for the reach of the restful, inactive state of inhibition is continuous excitation.

Except for the natural environs, humans have created several other environs by way of beliefs, faiths, rituals, pursuits, societal norms, codes of conduct, behaviour, concepts of rights and wrongs, authority and abeyance and so many other conditions. The man made environs too lead to cerebral inhibition due to excitation provided by the artificial environs. The persons, who are extreme adherents to the man made environs, pass through the artificial inhibition akin to hypnosis in their cerebral hemispheres. They are the ones who become prey to the abnormal cognitive experiences. The partial sleep of hypnosis during its paradoxical phase brings in experiences of illusions and hallucinations. Delusions of patients suffering from serious mental disorders arise either in paradoxical hypnotic phase or in transition of paradoxical and ultra paradoxical hypnotic phases separately or intermittently.

Human mind is complex: The complexity has no idealistic basis. Mind is materialistic and it is the product of brain activity. Brain activity manifests desires and striving to make changes by way of acts and deeds. The manifestations are known as Volitional processes involving active attention.  Volitional processes are facilitated by Cognition. Illusions, hallucinations and delusions debilitate cognition: Persons who are victims of cognitive disorders are disgrace for those who are sound and well-set.

Occultism – The Clandestine Benevolence of the Yore

Occultism is one of the most nefarious and ill conceived beliefs of ignorance Occult Practices are widely prevalent, the world over.  Attributes of occultism poured out by the occult practitioners are awesome; they are pain-filled attraction to the ill-intent believers.

Awe and wonder are there in all paranormal experiences, but the experience that is bestowed by and through occultism is fearsome for one thing and destructive for the other; both are too relevant that it cannot be ignored.

Occultism is the knowledge of the Supernatural powers; occultism surpasses all the powers of the Nature including that of the Humans. Occultism is no Ordinary knowledge but it can be acquired and disclosed only by the Initiated ones among the humans.

Thus goes the twisty explanations attributed to occultism. The way to the abode of occultism is misty and it is impenetrable by common sense.

The word ‘Occult’ owes its origin to ‘Occultus’ of Latin linguafranca: Occultus refers to something which is secret and clandestine. The clandestine knowledge of Occultism is secret: The secret knowledge is the propriety of the ones who are the Initiated humans: Initiated humans are the ones who are introduced to the hidden, secret and clandestine knowledge of the supernatural powers.

The aim and purpose of the hidden, secret, paranormal and out of the natural phenomena of Occultism focus on mischievous and clandestine dealings: The dealings are handled by section of the humans who are the Initiated ones.

There are innumerable number of members in the Occult family: Telepathy, Clairvoyance, Alchemy, Astrology, Palmistry, Parrotstrology, Ouija, Tarot, Sorcery, Tantra, Sex magic, Transcendental meditation, Yogic trance, Nudism, Subconscious mind, Super conscious mind and similar other concepts and practices live well within the Occult Family. Of these, the most acclaimed occult members are Telepathy and Clairvoyance. All the occult practices owe their parentage to the so-called paranormal, supernatural and out of the world entities.

Beginning of occult practices can be traced to the origin of Beliefs: Long before Homo sapiens reached the stage of civil society, what the wandering prehistoric humans, wandering for food and shelter in the dangerous terrain on the surface of earth, feared the most were wild animals, thunder, lightning, rains and floods. They started believing that these calamitous agents are the creation of unknown powers and that pleasing of the unknown, supernatural powers would help them defeat the odds of the nature. Thus was the beginning of Belief in supernatural powers; belief that was born out of fear. The belief thus evolved started traversing in two distinct directions through an extraneous sense which is described as the ‘Sixth Sense’.

All humans and almost all higher animals have five senses. They represent the faculties of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and touching. These sensory experiences are produced by the processes of excitation and inhibition of the five sensory centres like, visual centre, auditory centre, olfactory centre and motor centre situated in the cerebral cortex of the brain. In the absence of the existing five sense organs and the sensory centres, no one including the people of extreme religious faiths and the persons of the deepest spiritual achievements, can ever have any sensory experiences. Scientists have proved that persons whose cortex had been damaged did not have sensory experiences. Therefore the story of existence of sixth sense other than the established five senses is a fallacy. That is proof enough to establish that occultism is just another trickery to malign the innocence of believers.

Experiences relating to things and matters which have objective reality in the physical plane are generated by brain activity. However, experiences relating to things and matters which do not have objective reality in the physical plane can also take place: Such experiences too are the working results of the nervous system. The experiences of the latter category can be traced to abnormal working of the nervous system of the beholders. Neuroscience has proved that these subjective experiences are delusion centric illusions and hallucinations. They stand real for the ones who experience because of their deranged mental conditions.

Occultism is one among the several mystic concerns of the antique philosophies: Perhaps, in the absence of science and scientific methods of evaluation, the thinkers of the past had no other way available before them to codify subjective experiences. The only route in front of them was the path of mysticism: They channelized all the then inexplicable experiences through extra-sensory and supernatural entities. Thus was the emergence of Occultism which stands out today as the store house of obscurantism before the light of Science and Technology. Occultism will remain and continue to remain as long as human race continues to remain steeped in gullibility and superstitious beliefs. Science has saved many from the clutches of obscurantism; let science do what science need to do and save many more from the strangle-hold of Occultism.

  1. One path followed rituals and practices for propitiating god for the good of a group of humans which later became religion. The other path resorted to propitiating the supernatural for maleficent objectives. The latter category of pursuits resulted in the formation of Occultism and Occult practices. All the religions, including the antique and the modern, stoutly follow occultism as the negative path of religious benevolence.

Occultism is closely linked to religion and religious beliefs. Religious Texts teach that there is a malicious power which is almost equal but opposite to the divine powers of the almighty god. By propitiating this satanic power, the Initiated ones can create secret experiences which are beyond or outside the scope of science and scientific inquiry. Such experiences belong to the Occult Family.

Sleep and the Dream-Mate

Scientists had propounded many theories and hypotheses about the cause and effect of sleep and dreams: Most of the theories were schematic and one-sided. But some of the theories contained interesting arguments which are even today considered as valid. They include vascular theory, chemical theory and sub-cortical theory.

According to the vascular theory, sleep is evoked by gradual decrease in the inflow of blood to the brain. Here too there were different opinions: A section of the proponents of the vascular theory stressed that it was not decrease in blood circulation in the brain but increase of blood flow into the brain that induces sleep. Both these theories were found baseless because natural sleep is different from sleep-like states of stupor, coma or shock that takes place either due to lack of blood circulation or excess inflow of blood into the brain.

Chemical theory says that various toxic products of metabolism accumulated in the body during waking hours cause sleep. The chemical theory of sleep was found unsubstantiated in the context of the very nature of natural sleep. Accumulation of chemical substances in the body during wakeful hours is a slow process and in that case sleep ought to have to set in slowly, but the fact is otherwise: Both sleep and waking up take place almost suddenly. Had toxicity been the reason for sleep, both the said processes were to be slow extending for hours. Another contradiction of chemical theory is the well-known fact that it is enough for some persons to sleep for only a few minutes to get back refreshed and active. That apart, tests conducted on conjoined twins who had separate nervous systems and common blood circulation, totally disproved the chemical theory. In those tests, when one of the twins was asleep, the other one was found awake and playing with its toys: If chemicals in the blood caused sleep, both the twins ought to have fallen asleep at the same time and on the same spot. That did not happen in repeated experiments on the twins.

Sub-cortical theory says that there is a specific centre in the central nervous system in the sub cortical area which controls sleep. The proponents of this theory argue that since sleep is a vital activity of the physic, there must be a special centre for sleep in the brain as in the case of all other important bodily functions like digestion and respiration. Sub cortical area of the brain contains special nerve formations through which stimuli from environs reach cerebral cortex and excitation of sensory centres takes place. The excitation leads to inhibition: To that extent sub cortical area helps induction of sleep. But it is only a contributory factor of sleep and the claim of scientists that there is a sleep centre in the cortex is baseless.

The Vascular theory, Chemical theory and Sub Cortical theory are unscientific and biased. A theory can be called scientific when it is not limited to a simple description and when it is not limited to a listing of favorable and unfavorable factors. Theory stands scientific only when it divulges the nature of the phenomena.

The living organism including humans is always engaged in some activities or the other during wakeful hours. The organism may be sitting idle or may be engaged in doing something or the other. Whatever be the case, the central nervous system of the living body would be constantly reacting to various stimuli from both the internal and external environments. These reactions would include seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and motor activities. As a result of the continuous reaction, the nerve cells in the central nervous system would start losing its vital energy over a period of time: Then the nervous system would stop responding to the stimuli to save the nerve cells from wear, tear and possible destruction. This is an automatic reaction of the brain produced by inborn reflex actions. The reflex action creates a state of inactivity or inhibition across the nervous system. The inhibition would gradually spread to the body as a whole. The state of inactivity or inhibition provides rest to the cells and the energy lost during wakeful hours would thus be recouped. The state of restful inactivity called inhibition is what we call Natural Sleep.

Even during the inhibitory state of sleep, there arise situations that work as stimuli from environs. These stimuli frequently disturb the ongoing state of natural sleep. The situations that provide stimuli for disturbance may be body pains, heat, cold, insects, uncomfortable sleeping places and various types of mental agonies. They would reach out to the nervous system through different sensory centres. This may cause sudden waking up from sleep. Such an abrupt waking up is injurious to nervous system and it is non-conducive for recuperation of the lost energy in the nerve cells. A nervous action in the form of unconditioned reflex action would in such situations bring in certain dramatization of things, matters, events and experiences in the form of Dreams. That is the background of dreams which take place during disturbed sleep in the day to day life of living organisms.

Dreams prevent sudden waking up from sleep, even if it is for a few seconds or a fraction of a second. That short period of time will be enough for the body to prepare itself for waking up without causing harm to the central nervous system.

Dreams have no specific themes, story lines and agenda. The claim of believers that dreams reflect what is going to happen in future have no proof of evidence. Similarly the claims that dreams are indicative of the thoughts and actions of the dreamer are also baseless.

Sleep and Dreams are closely related. It is dreams that help sleep to continue its duty without sudden interruption that might badly affect good health. Dreams can rightly be called as “Close Friend and Supporter” of Sleep.

Dreams, whether good or bad, are essential part of maintaining good nervous system and healthy living. Uninterrupted sleep without frequent waking ups is the essential physiological requirement of every living organism. Dreams act as coordinator of this vital requirement of Sleep.

 

Spiritualism – It’s Null, No Good

Meaning of spiritualism is simple and straightforward: Dictionary says that, Spiritualism is a belief: According to the particular belief, spirits of the dead persons communicate with persons who are alive, either directly or through mediums.

A close look at the meaning reveals that spiritualism might have emerged out of a metaphysical belief that the world is made up of two substances called matter and spirit: Humans belong to matter which is essential for spirit to inhabit as soul and then to escape into spirit world. Spiritualism is based on the concept of the Spirit World.

Over the years spiritualism became a creed which believes that there are human beings who are capable of communicating with spirits: Spirit is soul of dead persons which after escaping from the living body, wanders in the spirit world. It is believed that some living persons can communicate with the spirit world. That ability to communicate with the spirit is said to be paranormal skill of the living humans. The paranormal ability helps humans to create occult powers, to make magic potions, to perform sorcery, to practice witchcraft, to believe in supernatural powers, to create ideas about god, to worship and to work as priests, godmen, godwomen, sanyasis, sadhus and innumerable other divine entrepreneurs.

Spiritualism comprises many things for many people. Since spiritualism has evil designs as well as divine benefits some people use spiritualism for harming other people and some people follow spiritualism for infusing divinity for self and others. Sorcery, kill-mantra; – the most followed ritual in the Indian subcontinent relating to sacrifices of animals and occult practices, are examples for harming others. Here the spirit of dead persons which do not get entry into heaven but wander in the spirit world as ghosts, go on haunting the living humans and animals: That helps the ghost-hunting spiritualists to employ their hidden tantrums to tie down the ghosts.

On the other side of the spectrum lie religious propagandists like priests, evangelists, sanyasis, godmen and godwomen who use the omniscient power of the spirit world to inculcate divinity, love and compassion and also hatred among their followers. Since religion is involved in the practices, the path of love and compassion for others become route for destruction of one system of belief by another system of belief. That apart, acute dedication to spiritual pursuits make the followers of spiritualism idle and unproductive as a result of which the spiritualists have to depend on materialist pursuers for their sustenance in the physical world.

The concepts attributed to spirit world that embrace the empire of spiritualism have no limits in so far as the subjective thoughts and imaginations of human mind are concerned.

There are convincing evidences to prove that spiritualism originated in Ancient Indian subcontinent known as Bharat. It all started with the Aryan invasion which took place around 1000BC. There was a flourishing civilization existing in Bharat before the arrival of Aryans from the Persian subcontinent. That was cantered around the Sindhu river belt in the northern part of the subcontinent. That civil society was of atheists who were called Charvakas. The Aryans brought their culture based on obscurantism of spiritualism and occupied the land of atheism after driving away the Charvakas to the South. Practice of Chatur Varna Vyavastha headed by Brahmins was the major part of spiritualism of the Aryans. Brahmins ruled the whole social set up and cultivated spiritualism in every area of existence of the people under the Chatur Varna Vyavastha which categorized the people into Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaisyas and Sudras  at the helm of the system. Slowly and steadily the Varna Vyavastha and spiritualism associated with it spread across the entire subcontinent. Spiritualism continues its pervasive stranglehold in India and today, with added vigour and might spiritualism controls the whole of social, cultural and political scenario of the country.

Apart from Bharat, spiritualism was wide spread in China, Japan, Pacific Islands and other parts of the world as part of ancient beliefs and related cultural pursuits of the inhabitants of those places.

The most popular western version of spiritualism is said to be devoid of belief in rebirth and past life concepts and is different from its original postulations as reflected in the practice of spiritualism in India. It is said that the practice began its spread in the West sometime in early eighteen forties of Christian era with the magic of an illicit female who created stories about knocking at doors and windows and flying of furniture across rooms and roofs by the spirit of a certain dead person. Today across the western countries several Christian churches and Groups of believers have thousands of Spiritualists practicing spiritualism in United Kingdom alone.

Practice of spiritualism in the west is centred mainly on mediums which with the help of spirits carry out unnatural events and occurrences like occult practices of Ouija. Spiritualism followed in the West is different from divine postulations of Christianity or Islam which stand for love, compassion and formed centres of spiritualism. It is said that in late 1920s and early 1930s there were other religiously occupied precepts of the spirit world.

Spiritualism is a mirage: Spiritualism cannot feed the empty stomachs of people including the spiritualists. Had there been no materialism and materialistic pursuits there would not have been any production to sustain the life of humans. Such a situation would have made the Earth-World a lonely Spirit World devoid of Humans to imagine anything including the idea of spirits and spirit-world.