© Hugh A. Thomas 2013 All Rights Reserved
You Against Yourself – Your Greatest Delusions
When faced with a highly complex existence, and when answers to the complexity of the universe are unavailable, humans often turn to emotional intuition, and delusional thinking is the likely outcome. These delusions oftentimes embed themselves in the population and become self-sustaining.
For example, until a few hundred years ago, it was believed that bloodletting was the best treatment for many diseases. Bloodletting was even practiced to treat loss of blood! What seems insane to us now was common practice for 2000 years. It is easy to see that delusions can be dangerous. Delusions can be stubborn and can persist in your mind for years or a lifetime and are most likely in the minds of everyone you know.
You Need Clear Thinking
Before you can understand the nature of freedom you must correct any delusional thinking you might have concerning the nature of man. Progress is rejecting false ideas and building on that which is new and valid. You cannot understand your life and the idea of freedom if your knowledge base is built on delusions and contradictions. You need a knowledge base that is sound and consistent. You need a mental architecture that recognizes false assumptions and is willing to correct these false assumptions regardless of the emotional pain involved. You need the facts. You need the truth. Whatever this truth is, you need to be willing to let this truth be your guide.
Your Thought Experiment
Thought experiments have been used for centuries to tease out the truth in complex problems. For example, Albert Einstein used a thought experiment to discover his theory of relativity. Newton used thought experiments to arrive at his theory of gravity. Galileo and many others have shaped history by employing thought experiments in order to arrive at greater underlying truths.
Let us begin your first thought experiment by assuming there is a healthy newborn baby on a sandy beach. Assume this baby was just born to the last woman on Earth who happened to be the last human on Earth, and now this woman, the baby’s mother, has been vaporized along with the rest of the human race. The baby is therefore the last human in existence. Further suppose a few space aliens from across the galaxy land on this beach. Assume these aliens are the greatest scientific minds in the universe with a billion years of science behind them and they examine the baby. They scan every atom in the baby, they analyze every chemical and test every electrical current.
Now, a few questions.
1. Would the alien scientists find “The Rights of Man,” “Unalienable Rights?” or “Individual Rights” in the baby?
2. Would they find, “Original Sin?”
3. Would they find that the baby has a “Duty” or a “Social Contract?”
4. Would they find that the baby is unnatural to the planet Earth?
5. Would the scientists find something mysterious that is beyond the physical materials that make-up the baby?
The answer to the above questions is “no.” If you believe otherwise, then the burden is on you to demonstrate the existence of these attributes in the baby.
Just as in our example of pink zebras on the dark side of the moon, the burden of proof ought to be held by those who make any extraordinary claim.
For example, it is the government’s burden to prove guilt in a criminal trial. It is the scientists burden to prove any theory before it is considered valid. Einstein’s theory of general relativity was considered oddball until validated by the measurable observations made in 1919 by Arthur Eddington. Until that time, many scientists were skeptical.
If you think the baby has rights as a part of its nature, then identify what gene in the baby’s DNA contains these rights. If you believe these attributes are not in the baby’s DNA but reside elsewhere, then identify exactly where they are. You can’t do so because these rights, and the imagined attributes of original sin, duty and unnaturalness do not exist as part of the baby. These things exist only in your mind and they are called delusions.
Look only at the facts that our independent alien scientists would discover. Rights, original sin, unnaturalness and duty are not attributes of the baby and the scientists would not find them. These non-attributes are nothing more than delusions. The problems arise when these delusions are blindly swallowed by billions of humans and held for thousands of years. These delusions are the backbone of human misery and need to be tossed out of the human mind.
In our thought experiment we isolated the baby, removed other humans and their subjective beliefs, we brought in the best scientists in the universe that were not prone to fantasy, and then we imagined what the scientists concluded about the baby. We want the scientists to tell us what they find by objective measurement and verifiable evidence. We want reality. We do not want unfounded suspicion, witchcraft, voodoo, mysticism, irrational feelings or smoke and mirrors. We want the truth about the nature of man. All of this truth is contained in the baby’s biology.
The baby is what he is and nothing more. The baby is made of atoms. If you can’t get this in your head, and have it dominate your thinking, then you will never understand freedom. The baby is made of atoms, his mind is receiving information about the external world via his senses, and this sensory data is processed by the electrical currents and chemistry in his brain.
You cannot rationally claim there is more to the baby than what can be observed and/or inferred by what exists within the baby. If you believe there is “something more” that supersedes the baby’s biology, for example, the “Spirit of Allah,” or “God’s wishes for peace,” a Voodoo curse, original sin, natural rights, or race superiority, then you have submitted to delusional thinking and the corresponding loss of freedom it always brings.
Freedom works only in a atmosphere of rational understanding. Freedom is not possible with everyone claiming the nature of man is whatever their feelings require at the moment.
Your Greatest Delusions
In our above thought experiment it is easy to see that natural rights, unalienable rights or individual rights are just not there. Rights are an emotional wish, a form of escapism that will put you in a state of denial. They are pure fantasy and dangerously delusional.
Let us use another thought experiment to demonstrate the power of emotion to create delusional thinking. As an aside experiment, answer the question following the thought experiment as quickly as possible, that is, give a “snap” answer.
The experiment: Now assume the baby is alone on the beach and a man suddenly appears. He has a large club with spikes protruding from the end and he starts pounding on the baby’s head. Answer quickly, does the baby have the right to his own life?
This writer’s quick answer is “yes,” even though I know better. It took many tries at this thought experiment to overcome my emotional wish for the baby to be safe. This is the power that emotion can bring to any situation involving our sense of empathy. We want the baby to be safe, we want the baby to be free of pain, we want him to have a good life. Because we care so much, our minds create rights for the baby, rights that are not there. Rights are an emotional wish. An emotional wish is not knowledge.
Consider the following emotional “rights” which are based on wishful thinking rather than reality:
1. Man has individual rights because he is a rational animal. He cannot be forced to think and needs reason in order to survive. (Ayn Rand)
2. A redwood tree in an old growth forest has individual rights because it is old.
3. The right of one person to kill another if there is a suspicion of witchcraft.
4. The right of a mother bird to feed a baby bird.
5. The right of one human to love another.
6. The right of a believer in one religion to kill another person that believes in a different religion.
7. The right of one race of people to kill another race of people based on race supremacy.
8. The divine right of a king to enslave you because of his claims of royal blood or a direct connection with God.
It is very easy to see that having a strong emotion can trigger an emotional rights construct that is completely false. Well-meaning people such as the Founding Fathers of the United States, will create rights to life and property, the narcissists will create divine rights, the mystics will create religious rights and race rights, and the communists who want to destroy capitalism as well as a large part of the human population, will create rights for animals, plants, and the “environment.”
Emotionally derived and irrationally created rights are the cause of much of the suffering in the human race. Hitler’s claim that the Arian race had special rights to dominate others, led to the deaths of fifty million people. The belief that the rights of “the environment” have precedence over humans, the belief that animals and plants have “rights,” – these false claims to rights that don’t exist have resulted and will result in epic historical disasters.
Ayn Rand’s Rights Paradox
Let’s do a another thought experiment and discover how Ayn Rand’s “individual rights” theory holds up to reason.
Start with the assumption that you are a supporter of Ayn Rand’s philosophy. She states:
“Since Man has inalienable individual rights, this means that the same rights are held, individually, by every man, by all men, at all times.” And more: “A right cannot be violated except by physical force.” link
Now suppose we have the baby on the beach, and further suppose another human appears. This human, a man, enters a box next to the baby. You can’t see the man in the box, he is hidden. On the side of the box next to the baby there is an opening with a spear sticking out of a hole. Now suppose you have seen this box previously and know that there is a machine inside that controls the spear. The spear can be set to operate automatically by the machine or can be operated manually by the person inside. Suddenly, the spear thrusts toward the baby and stabs his arm. Question: Were the baby’s rights violated?
Suppose the alien scientists examine the baby and measure and chart all the millions of cells that the spear damaged. Did they find violated rights?
You are then shown a movie. In this movie only the interior of the box is shown, nothing outside the box can be seen. You watch the movie and see the man inside manually thrusting the spear. Based on this, you conclude the baby’s right’s were violated by this man’s actions.
Next, you are shown another movie where the man inside the box does nothing. In this movie the machine operates and thrusts the spear. You are then told that the first movie you saw, where the man was working the spear, was made on a different day and did not involve the baby. You are then informed that, in the second movie, the machine actually speared the baby. Now you conclude the baby’s rights were not violated.
By using Rand’s theory of rights, the condition of the baby’s rights is dependent on the observer. This is to say, the status of the baby’s rights are dependent on your observation of what happened. When you believed the man speared the baby, the baby’s rights were violated. When you believed the machine speared the baby, the baby’s rights were not violated. In Ayn Rand’s philosophy, the baby’s condition changes with your observations and conclusions about human motive.
Notice that, to the aliens, the condition of the baby is independent of your thoughts and can only determined by observation of the baby. In Rand’s philosophy, the condition of the baby’s rights is dependent on your thoughts and observations and cannot be determined by observing the baby.
The reason the condition of the baby’s rights cannot be determined by observation of the baby is because the rights are not part of the baby, but are rather an attribute of you, the observer. This attribute is a mental attribute and it is called a delusion.
Ayn Rand’s philosophy holds that reality is independent of the observer, but when applying her rights theory, the status of the baby’s rights is dependent on your observation. This goes to show that the baby’s condition was the subject of your thoughts, which is the epistemological basis of subjectivism, according to Ayn Rand. For the aliens, reality was the object of their thoughts, and they are the true objectivists.
Rand claims that “rights are held, individually, by every man, by all men, at all times,” and yet these rights require other people thinking about them before they can exist. The truth about Rand’s rights is simple: The baby’s rights are not in the baby, but rather in your head.
Ayn Rand also stated that the concept of rights only applies when two or more people are involved. Note that she says a right can only be violated by physical force. Of course, she means physical force by another human. This is so because if a coconut fell from a tree and hit the baby there would be no violation of rights. However, if another human purposely dropped a coconut on the baby, that would be a violation.
In another scenario we can imagine the baby on the beach under a coconut tree. Suppose the man strikes the tree with hammer while nailing up a sign that says, “Welcome Aliens.” Unknown to him, the vibration from the hammer blow dislodges a coconut from the tree, and this coconut falls and hits the baby in the head and kills the baby. Would this be a rights violation? Probably not, according to Rand. However, if the man knew that hitting the tree with a hammer would cause a coconut to fall and kill the baby, then this would constitute a violation of the baby’s rights.
It is instructive to know that, in a court of law, motive is a determining factor in assessing guilt. However, notice with Ayn Rand’s view of rights, the man’s motive tells us about the condition of an essential aspect of the baby’s human nature, that is, the baby’s individual rights. How the man thinks determines the condition of the baby’s rights.
In American law, the man’s motive tells us about the man, with Rand, the man’s motive tells us about the baby.
Now, let’s go back to the baby on the beach. There is no other human, only the baby. The aliens have completed their studies and are about to leave when, suddenly, a second baby appears on the beach. Did the nature of the first baby change with the arrival of the second baby?
To Ayn Rand, the first baby’s nature would change with the arrival of the second baby in that both would now have rights. This is so because Rand’s rights construct requires a second human to observe rights violations.
This leads to the next point: The first baby’s fundamental nature changes when two or more people are collected together. In conclusion: Ayn Rand’s theory of rights are both subjective and collective in nature.
It is ironic that Ayn Rand’s fundamental reason, her only reason (according to her) for advocating capitalism was to protect individual rights. Philosophically, her biggest enemy was subjectivism. Her greastest political foe was collectivism. Moreover, to her, the greatest evil was the “wish.” With ”individual rights,” she failed on all three. She wished for rights and, by using a subjectivist approach, she collectivized human nature to get them.
Ayn Rand also said that if any part of a philosophy is invalid, then the whole system is invalid. She was also wrong on that point. Many of her ideas are valid. One of those ideas is her advice to “check your premises.”
The problem with much of Ayn Rand’s philosophy is that she oftentimes makes claims without any observation of physical reality being offered. She also expends a huge amount of energy in emotional outbursts which she masks as high-tier morality. For example, if the man’s actions in the above thought experiment were the causation of the baby’s wound, Ayn Rand would no doubt rant and rave about the “evil” involved, the “immoral” actions of the brute “Attila” with the “witch doctor’s” mentality who “violated the baby’s individual rights,” etc. Conversely, the rational aliens would conclude the baby had a wound, and would attempt to discover why the man took the harmful action.
All of these rights are completely delusional and have no connection to reality. Notice your “natural right” to live as you please can interfere with a king’s “divine right” to make you his slave. What happens when your “individual right to life” interferes with the “rights of the collective?” How do you prove they are wrong and you are correct? You can’t. You can march on City Hall, stomp your feet, become very emotional, accuse everyone of being irrational and immoral, but none of these things will change the facts.
You are your biology. If there are no rights in your biology, then you have no naturally occurring rights.
Intellectual honesty is accepting what is true. What is true is what exists.
It is easy to see that our alien scientists would find no original sin in their investigations. If there is no original sin in the baby, then why do you hold to that idea so tightly? Why is there an underpinning of guilt that the great majority of humans feel?
Let’s add to the thought experiment. Assume that the alien scientists arrive on the beach and find not only the baby, but also find a baby bird and a baby rabbit. Further assume that they perform an exhaustive investigation of these three animals. They look at every atom in each of the animals, they map the genomes. They examine the animals with the best scientific equipment in the universe.
Question: What would they find different in the human baby’s structure that gives the human baby original sin, but not the bird? Would they find original sin in the rabbit?
Note that original sin means sin from the origin, or the source. From birth. Now, what would be the motive for such a doctrine? If you wanted power over people, would it not be smart of tell them they are guilty because they were born and that they need you to save their souls?
If you swallow the doctrine of original sin, your psychology of life will be forever undermined. You will have no solid rock on which you can stand. If life is like crossing a fast moving stream, original sin will be the slimy bottom that forever diminishes your moral traction. You will feel guilt, and you will have a bias towards the hatred of your fellow man. Original sin doctrine is an arbitrary construct designed to rob you of happiness and make you dependent on religion. After all, you need the church because you are evil from birth and need to be saved from your own evil nature. You are commanded to give the church your money and live your life in undeserved shame because of a delusional claim.
If religions were truthful, they would clearly spell out the facts on original sin. They would make it very clear, so clear that any eight-year-old child could understand it. However, even though original sin is the foundation of Christian doctrine, the idea is cloaked in obscurity and confusion. Ask any preacher or priest what original sin actually is, and they will be confused themselves. Demand they write it down. Demand they make it very clear why you must live your life with self-hatred and suspect everyone in your family and everyone in the human race. If you have a newborn baby, ask your minister why you ought to view this baby as evil.
Conviction in a court of law for petty theft or a traffic violation requires more evidence. There is no evidence for original sin, and yet billions believe humans are basically evil. They morally condemn all humans without objective, measureable evidence. It is no wonder war has dominated human history. Since they view human beings as basically evil, why not just kill a few million?
Original sin is not only a weight around your neck, but it has huge political implications and makes possible much of the violence that has dominated human history, as we will see later.
Returning to the alien scientists in our thought experiment, imagine they arrive on Earth to find two newborn babies. The babies are minutes old and the last human beings on earth. The scientists examine them extensively. Would they find that one baby has a duty to the other?
Further assume a newborn Reese’s monkey appears along with the two babies. Would the scientists find “duty” in the monkey? If not, what is different about the monkey that he has no duty but the babies do? Consider that Reese’s monkeys share 99% of DNA with humans. What is different about the 1%?
If you still believe in rights, original sin and duty, I suggest you examine that 1% of human DNA and find those attributes in that DNA and report your findings to the world.
Humans are Unnatural
Suppose in their examination of the Earth our alien scientists also tested not only the baby, the rabbit and Reese’s monkey, but also tested thousands of other animals and plants. Suppose they examined elephants, bears, tuna fish, birds and insects. Suppose that in all, they examined 50,000 different species.
Questions: What would they find in the baby’s DNA, the baby’s genome or anywhere in the baby’s body that would make them believe all the 50,000 species they examined were natural, but the baby was “unnatural?”
The answer is of course, nothing! There is absolutely no evidence that humans and therefore human action is unnatural. Zero. No evidence what-so-ever.
Notice the effect achieved when the delusion of original sin is combined with the delusion that holds the products of human action are not natural. In other words, you are evil at birth and what you create is not natural. Another way to say it would be: You are not good and you are not normal, and you never will be.
If evil exists, then surely, this is it. These delusional doctrines create a sense of disconnection to one’s own life, they are alienating and are likely a prime source of great mental distress. No doubt they have led to the failure of millions to achieve their potential in life. Any child that is fed these delusions is being abused.
The major and defining attribute the alien scientists would discover within the human baby is a very large brain with a large capacity for critical thinking. They would also find this capacity and attribute in porpoises or dolphins. In fact, they might conclude that the human baby has the greatest mind of all animals on the land, and the porpoise the greatest mind of all the animals in the sea. Would they then conclude that the porpoise is “unnatural?”
If the alien scientists were to examine a beaver colony and discover that beavers cut down trees in order to build dams and lodges, would they conclude the beaver dam and lodge were “unnatural?” If not, then why do you think when a human cuts down trees in order to build a house that this structure is artificial? Why do you think the Hoover Dam is artificial and a beaver dam natural? The answer is: Because you are delusional!
Vague Thoughts are Valid Evidence
You have the ability to introspect and think about how you are thinking. This introspection can take you into endless journeys of the mind. We can say that the mind is the thinking and conscious part of the brain.
The mind also includes our memories. You do not hold all of your memories in your consciousness, but only hold a few at the time, and many memories are buried and difficult to access.
It has been said that the human brain is the most complex machine known. A famous neurosurgeon once said that a mosquito’s brain has a thousand times the computing power of a desktop computer. Your brain is a million times larger than a mosquito’s. Now, imagine the power of your brain.
The mind is a feature of the brain, but the brain does much more than give us our mind. The brain is also involved with very complex actions to which you have no access. For example, your brain keeps you breathing while you sleep, but you can will yourself to stop breathing for a minute while you are awake. However, you have no access to that part of the brain that controls your hearing, you cannot will your brain to cancel your hearing.
Your brain is working without your permission twenty-four hours a day performing complex actions that keep you alive. Imagine the complexity of just taking a walk through the woods. Your brain must make a huge amount of calculations to just walk over uneven ground. Each of your eyes has over 100 million light-sensitive nerve cells in the retina, and these cells will be sending signals to your brain and your brain must quickly process and interpret these millions of signals to determine what is happening on the outside. Combine this with your inner ear’s balancing function, where the brain must control balance and integrate this data with your vision and leg and arm muscles, and the complexity is enormous. This example is only a minuscule view of the brain’s complexity.
The point is: You are only conscious of a very small portion of what your brain is doing.
Sometimes, the brain’s enormous complexity will show itself to us. You have dreams, many of which make little sense, and you have feelings and emotions, and oftentimes you may not know their origins. You might have a sense of déjà vu at times. Because of this complexity, it is easy to get a feeling that there is something deeper. After all, you might be aware of one percent or less of your brain’s activity, and this vague feeling is normal. However, vague feelings and a sense that something else is there are not proof of anything. For example, these vague feelings are what give you your nebulous sense that you have a soul. Would our alien scientists find a soul in the baby? If you think they would, would they also find a soul in a monkey? In a dog? In a fish? In a bacterium?
Your sense that there is something else there is correct. However, your belief that this leakage of stray data into your sub-consciousness has a “Grand Meaning” is delusional. Vague feelings do not equal soul, connection with the collective, mystic cosmos connections, voodoo, or Mother Nature’s Vibes. It is this very leakage that lays the path for scam artists to trick you into their religions, cults and other phony endeavors.
Some Results of Human Delusion
When environmentalists want to control everything you do, how you travel, what you eat and what you say (they have proposed the death penality for those who question global warming theory) they cite animal rights, the rights of the environment and the rights of “Mother Earth.”
When the Catholic Church sought to enslave and murder thousands in the Spanish Inquisition, underpinning their hatred and violence was the concept of original sin.
For seventy-five years, the Left kept busy by mass murdering 200,000,000 people while holding to the delusion that all people had a duty to the state and the communist collective.
The mental architecture you must develop in order to think clearly is the same architecture used by scientists during the golden age of science. You need to understand that reality is determined by what is there, and only by, what is there.
If a rational doctor is confronted with an unknown disease, he looks for pathogens or abnormal cells, and he studies blood or heartbeat to determine what is wrong. He looks at physical reality to collect his evidence. Doctors in primitive societies entrenched and soaked with delusion might assume evil spirits, spells, etc., and correspondingly produce a treatment with disastrous results.
In New Guinea, there is a process of putting someone on trial where a opossum is placed in a cage and offered a sweet potato. If the opossum takes a bite of the sweet potato, then the person on trial is found guilty. This is the danger of delusional thinking.
In a modern court of law ruled by reason, the attempt to introduce speculation about an opossum eating a sweet potato during a trial would not be permitted and would be ruled “inadmissible.” The New Guinea tribesmen are assuming the opossum’s appetite is linked to the guilt or innocence of a human. How could they assume such a crazy idea? Well, if you were to live in a culture that believes facts are created by feelings, then this dangerous and delusional thinking would be normal.
As in a court of law, You must never assume facts that are not in evidence. There is no evidence for natural rights. There is no evidence for duty. There is no evidence for you being unnatural to this Earth. There is no evidence for original sin.
Do you think it is about time that you dump these false ideas and live a real life? Do you think your freedom might have a better chance if you and everyone else believed that:
*No one has a right to your life, and you have no right to theirs.
*You have no duty to them, and they have no duty to you.
*You are innocent at birth and remain so until rationally proven otherwise.
*That you and your actions are just as natural as all other animals, and that you belong on Earth with the same stature as a dolphin or porpoise, a beaver or bird?
A word about the above thought experiment. When we imagined the alien scientists with their high level of objectivity, and when we imagined that other humans and their delusions were not present, we were actually cleaning the rubbish out of our own minds so that we could see and think more clearly. We set our delusions and emotions aside and gave our rational minds free reign. Human delusion is so powerful that we needed to get outside ourselves and pretend we were space aliens in order to think clearly!
If you cannot separate your delusions from the facts of reality, then you will never be free psychologically, and you will never be a potent advocate of freedom for yourself and others.