| You are more than your identity
Apr 12 2014

The psychological phenomenon for seeing faces in clouds is called pareidolia. When prisoners are isolated in their cells, they come across a related event called the prisoner’s cinema, which results in them extracting a social context from the lights and halos they see. The mind will force itself to see social data even when there is none. This is the bias that science desperately tries, and usually fails, to overcome.

What happens when people are deprived of a deity? The conclusion is the same: They will see hallucinations of godliness. Instead of worshiping the symbols that previous powers have accumulated, they will invent new ones and worship those. Instead of crying about the mistreatment of some long forgotten yet holy people they’ve been told to identify with, they will identify with another social context and cry about its mistreatment.

This impulse to consolidate social relevance into a single symbol is explored and codified very heavily in a religion to the point of ritual, but just because you eschew a formal religion does not mean you’ve overcome the impulse. In fact, more often than not, it leaves you even more susceptible to worshiping a symbol over the reality it represents.

Our entire political system depends on the radical left never coming to this conclusion.