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SciTech Religious Fundamentalism Could Be Treated As A Mental Illness

Discussion in 'Breaking News' started by Tejwant Singh, Jun 1, 2013.

  1. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh United States
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    Kathleen Taylor, Neuroscientist, Says Religious Fundamentalism Could Be Treated As A Mental Illness

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/...-fundamentalism-mental-illness_n_3365896.html

    The Huffington Post | By Meredith Bennett-Smith
    Posted: 05/31/2013 12:21 pm EDT | Updated: 05/31/2013 12:59 pm EDT

    An Oxford University researcher and author specializing in neuroscience has suggested that one day religious fundamentalism may be treated as a curable mental illness.

    Kathleen Taylor, who describes herself as a "science writer affiliated to the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics," made the suggestion during a presentation on brain research at the Hay Literary Festival in Wales on Wednesday.

    In response to a question about the future of neuroscience, Taylor said that "One of the surprises may be to see people with certain beliefs as people who can be treated," The Times of London notes.

    “Someone who has for example become radicalised to a cult ideology -- we might stop seeing that as a personal choice that they have chosen as a result of pure free will and may start treating it as some kind of mental disturbance," Taylor said. “In many ways it could be a very positive thing because there are no doubt beliefs in our society that do a heck of a lot of damage."

    The author went on to say she wasn't just referring to the "obvious candidates like radical Islam," but also meant such beliefs as the idea that beating children is acceptable.

    Taylor was not immediately available for comment.

    This is not the first time Taylor has explored the mind processes of a radical. In 2006, she wrote a book about mind control called Brainwashing: The Science of Thought Control, which explored the science behind the persuasive tactics of such groups as cults and al Qaeda.

    "We all change our beliefs of course," Taylor said in a YouTube video about the book. "We all persuade each other to do things; we all watch advertising; we all get educated and experience [religions.] Brainwashing, if you like, is the extreme end of that; it's the coercive, forceful, psychological torture type."

    Taylor also noted that brainwashing, though extreme, is part of a the "much more widespread phenomenon" of persuasion. That is, "how we make people think things that might not be good for them, that they might not otherwise have chosen to think."

    However, Taylor has also been a voice of caution in terms of the ethics of delving too deeply into the human brain's mysterious workings.

    "Technologies which directly scan or manipulate brains cannot be neutral tools, as open to commercial exploitation as any new gadget," Taylor wrote in a blog post for The Huffington Post in 2012. "The brain supremacy offers chances to improve human dignity, but it also risks abuse."

    Watch the video below to hear Kathleen Taylor discuss her book Brainwashing: The Science of Thought Control.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=80xKMuA3gKo
     
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  3. Inderjeet Kaur

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    This is scary. If one set of beliefs is "mental illness," why not any that can be considered dangerous...by whom? In USA, Republicans call Democrats "sick," liberals call "conservatives "sick," and, in general, anybody you strongly disagrees with becomes "sick."

    I remember how the West used to dis the USSR for putting dissidents into mental hospitals.

    Until and unless a person acts out, I remain a very strong opponent of Thought Police, wherever they are from.
     
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  4. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller United Kingdom
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    I think we live in a society where any condition can be cured with therapies, treatment, tablets etc.

    The problem is that normally these conditions are merely manifestations of the five thieves that we all struggle to deal with. Recognise them and live a good and sane life, you are labelled mentally normal, despite the discipline, understanding and wisdom it takes to achieve such, submit to them, and you are labelled mentally ill, or have anger issues, sex addiction etc etc

    Although mental problems clearly do exist, and I have every sympathy for such people, there is a huge amount of people that are weak willed, have no discipline, and feel that whatever they wish to do, they should be allowed to do, its a childish mentallity that some people never grow out of, I know, I am one of them
     
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    #3 Harry Haller, Jun 1, 2013
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  5. Ishna

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    Inderjeet ji, I agree with you and was thinking something similar as I read the article. Who will write the criteria for the DSM article on 'Fundamentalist Religion Syndrome'?

    Maybe the label doesn't necessarily reflect the truth though. Appearing to have overcome the theives is enough for you to qualify as 'mentally normal' to everybody else. Those who actually overcome them are saints! :faujasingh:
     
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    #4 Ishna, Jun 1, 2013
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  6. findingmyway

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    This article is very timely as I was thinking about a related topic this morning. Even in modern day Sikhi we are seeing glorification and emphasis of the soldier aspect. Most of SGGS relates to the saint aspect. Why? Due to survival of the fittest, I think the soldier is the one that naturally survives. Throughout history there is always conflict so the fighters will survive. I believe this is why there is such an emphasis on examining who you are and how you behave in Gurbani. By suppressing our militant urges until they are absolutely needed, extremism will not be reached. It is a normal part of human psyche-our animal side necessary for survival. One which needs to be kept in check otherwise we can't connect with our Gurmukh side. :confusedkudi::geekkaur:
     
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  7. spnadmin

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    I am not sure I agree, but I clicked like because it forced me to think hard about why I don't agree. Or perhaps I misunderstood. A good post is one that gets the mind churning.
     
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  8. Harry Haller

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    I bought a laptop from a squaddie this morning, we got chatting, he actually expressed regret at the backlash towards the mosques after the death in Woolwich. He was a thoroughly decent chap, I gave him more than he asked for, expressing my gratitude for people like him, people who fight so that the rest of us can be free, I also expressed my distaste that squaddies are banned from a lot of pubs and clubs, oh no, he disagreed, thats as it should be, we are trained fighters, thats what we do for a living, we fight, get a group of us together, and someone threatens us, we will fight back, and fight back hard, its what we are trained to do, he also mentioned a Sikh in his regiment, and various muslims, a really nice chap.

    Sikhs are trained to fight too, but where I would like to think we are different is that Sikhs should know where to draw the line, when to stand up and fight hard, and when not to, from that angle, a good Sikh should never be an extremist, a good Sikh should never revert back to being a fighter in every and all circumstances, a good Sikh should think and behave like a saint when appropriate,

    I particularly like this quote from Joginder Singh Foleyji

     
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  9. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    I hope that means that when we fight, ... see ... and then my thoughts fail me. Because every time I read the words "martial race" I cringe. And every time I think of fighting from a place in dharma, I know the other side also thinks that. Whenever I think of Zafarnama, I think of the troops of baboons on some notorious sikh sites that think they own Guru Gobind Singh's words to exclusion. When we are fighters, I hope we are reluctant soldiers, as those were his words. Remembering Banda Singh Bahadur, I realize that his story of his martyrdom was not a re-make of King Arthur and the Knights of the Roundtable, and Punjab was not Camelot, though so it is made to seem. When I think of bir raas, I think of saas raas, when I think of saas raas, i think of bir raas. They are indivisible and saints have both, expressing both when necessary. Both are part of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. Both had to be for Guru Hargobind to understand what he had to do. Too many forget, a solider is lost without knowing "his" saint, and in history martial race has been code for cannon fodder.

    This is something I am still working out, Internet portrayals of all those brandished swords and shining faces on horseback not-withstanding. Fenech's theory of the temple versus the soldier tradition in Sikhi not-withstanding.
     
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  10. Harry Haller

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    There is no glory in being a King, those that become Kings for the glory aspect have no idea what being a King is........
     
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  11. Inderjeet Kaur

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    Spnadmin,

    We are called Sant Sipahi, not Sipahi Sant for a very good reason. We must be first the Sant, only then the Sipahi. I can only speak for myself, but I find the Sipahi part a whole lot easier than the Sant part.

    Fighting is a natural instinct. Saintliness is not, as far as I know.

    "Martial race" is a silly term Of course, we are not a race to begin with. As for being martial, we are taught that the use of violence is acceptable, even mandated, but only when all peaceful means have failed. We are realistic. It makes no sense not to fight back when under attack.

    I have often advocated that all Sikhs, especially Kaurs learn self-defense. I stand by that. The Sikh Qaum have violent enemies and we need always be willing and able to defend ourselves. Also, we live in a violent world and we should be able to defend ourselves against any sort of attack.

    There is a big danger with regarding violence, in any circumstances, as acceptable. Especially in a patriarchal culture as that of Punjab, machismo is likely to run rampant and violence used when other means are available. I think of domestic violence, "honour" killings and just plain losing one's temper. Sikhi calls for a very high degree of self control. Not all of us have developed that level of self-discipline. The addition of alcohol to this mix makes for a highly combustible situation. Many Sikhs, especially amongst the men, are drinkers, often heavy drinkers.

    I don't have an answer to this problem, but one suggestion is to begin to distance ourselves from the destructive, patriarchal aspects of Punjabi culture. The Gurus taught this and we have not listened.

    How does this relate to fundamentalism as mental illness. I'm not certain, but there must be a connection somewhere.
     
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  12. findingmyway

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    I recently went to a lecture on the "Basics of Sikh history". The lecturer stated that Sikhi is not compatible with democracy. He claimed that Sikhs need to be involved in every military struggle around the world.

    What happened to exhausting other means first? Are there no other ways to fight injustice except military? What happened to the sant aspect? Is this view extremism? Where has it come from? Should we be worried at the education the next generation is receiving? Is the view mental instability, due to education or simply the winning of the natural fight response?
     
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  13. Inderjeet Kaur

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    I cannot see why Sikhi is not compatible with democracy Certainly we are sworn to always do whatever is necessary to fight injustice wherever it exists, but I think blindly supporting all military struggles is both immoral and impossible. Some military struggles, after all, are aggression, not fighting against injustice and, anyway, there simply are not enough of us to fight everyone's battles.

    I'm not certain if every other means has been exhausted, but I cannot think of a single people, off-hand, who have achieved independence without an armed struggle. I wish I were wrong about this.
     
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    #12 Inderjeet Kaur, Jun 2, 2013
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  14. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    findingmyway ji

    Sikhi was one of the first modern democracies. It is amazing how agendas are able to shamelessly erase the pages of history. It must have been hard to remain calm listening to that.

    It is not my personal opinion but fact, that with the fall of Banda Singh Bahadur, the panth survived with the creation of the missls, armed jathas. This was not a bright age, nor was it a dark age. It was an age of necessity. And each and every founder of a missl understood that he was forming a jatha to preserve what was left of the legacies of the Gurusahibhan who preached EQUALITY. How did they then carry out their mandate? Matters of significance, importance to all who were Sikhs, were resolved in Gurmata by which a consensus was required. Thus they gathered and debated. They appointed a jathedar to organize, coordinate and tend to their needs. Jathedar Akal Takht in those days was a "servant" not a pope. It was a role taken with humility, sometimes with hesitation, never with reluctance. Sikhi then was an early democracy, that Europe and Asia had never seen. Only Iceland with its tradition of Althing comes close. Nor had ancient Greece seen it, because her city states were slave holders. And the United States was not to see representative democracy for another 75 years, or so.

    Shameless!

    I will find those threads on the democratic principles of the misls and post them later.
     
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    #13 spnadmin, Jun 2, 2013
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  15. Tejwant Singh

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    When I read this article, many people who trigger this kind of behaviour unto their followers came to mind. Jim Jones, David Koresh, Rajneesh, Baba Virsa Singh, Sai Baba and all the derawalas using Sikh bana etc. etc. who entice the innocent and the ignorant who are looking for the inner fixing while looking outside for it at the same time, a great paradox of life. One can add Christian Science to that too where the prayer is the elixir of all cures.The Christians who talk to the venomous snakes.

    Little do they know that the flower has the fragrance inside from where it is emitted, not the other way round. All dogmatic religions are filled with the platter of life where the future of the puppet followers is predetermined by the few who hold the strings on the top. Yes, the cream comes on the top and so does the muck. Take your pick.

    Look at the Shia men who bleed themselves with sharp metal objects. Even the kids are taught the same. Or the Christians in the Far East in the countries like Hong Kong and the Philippines who nail themselves to the cross or do other macabre things with their bodies including hooks during Easter as mock crucifixions. There is also a sect in Hinduism who does the same in India and in Hong Kong. They literally put hooks all over and suspend the idols from them.

    When one drinks the Kool Aid provided by Jim Jones. When a mother and her underage daughter have sex with David Koresh because he claims to be the living Jesus. When it is OK to poison the water system of Antelope, Oregon as planned by Rajneesh and his ilk. When one climbs the mountains to go to Vaishnu Devi temple only on their knees. Some “Sikhs” do the same, sad to say.

    Fasting, pilgrimages, penance, purgatory, celibacy, vows of silence, chileas (a ritual repeated 40 times), dips in the holy waters, worry beads, malas, rosaries become the tools for all the cures prescribed by the leaders of the dogmatic religions because they claim to have the red cell phone directly connected to their respective gods.

    When all the above things take place, then it IS a mental illness.

    Can you just imagine if we made our mala out of each face we encounter in our lives and did something good to those “beads” with the same hands? This is where Sikhi comes in and hence differs from the other lots. It is the pragmatic way to mine the gems within and share with others.

    Guru Gobind Singh lowered himself to our level to take Khandei de pahul in order to lift us to his. Many Sikhs saved Hindu mothers, wives, sisters and daughters from the fiendish Muslims. A Sikh does not snatch anyone’s dignity but brings it back the one that had been taken away.

    For me, a Sant-Sipahi is not a Saint-Soldier but a Peace Warrior. That is what the Sikhs have been doing since Guru Nanak came on this Earth.

    Sikhi is like a flower which emits the scent from the within, and if a Sikh looks like one but with no fragrance, then he/she is a paper flower from some Dera garden of weeds.

    Tejwant Singh
     
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  16. prakash.s.bagga

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    But unfortunalely only those become King who wish to become King for the glory aspect only.

    Prakash.s.Bagga
     
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  17. Harry Haller

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    better to be a pauper doing the work of a King!:mundakhalsaflag:
     
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  18. Inderjeet Kaur

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    One can only sympathize with HRH the Prince of Wales waiting so many years for mater to either abdicate or die. I wonder what glory there is in such a throne.
     

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