Space Daddy Madness... Explained!
File under: Gurubusting
Readers of this blog are familiar with the term space daddy, the role that gurus on the take find makes the sweetest honey with which to attract devotee bees (along with most of their money.) David "The Blade" contributed to our knowledge by developing a taxonomy of the varieties of space daddies and mommies. Now, smart research psychologists at various universities are discovering exactly why people are so willing to stuff their heads full of superstitious nonsense and believe what they do about their space daddies – it's hard-wired into their brains:
The brain seems to have networks that are specialized to produce an explicit, magical explanation in some circumstances, said Pascal Boyer, a professor of psychology and anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis. In an e-mail message, he said such thinking was “only one domain where a relevant interpretation that connects all the dots, so to speak, is preferred to a rational one.”And there it is, the expression of the reviled space daddy gene, responsible for more ridiculous ignorance about self-realization than all the brothels, temples and churches of the world combined, across all of human history.
Not surprisingly to us, a key issue uncovered as the cause of all this "magical thinking" is plain old, ordinary grandiosity:
“The question is why do people create this illusion of magical power?” said the lead author, Emily Pronin, an assistant professor of psychology and public affairs at Princeton. “I think in part it’s because we are constantly exposed to our own thoughts, they are most salient to us” — and thus we are likely to overestimate their connection to outside events. [Italics ours.]Read on about the biological roots of man's persistent spiritual downfall:
The brain, moreover, has evolved to make snap judgments about causation, and will leap to conclusions well before logic can be applied. In an experiment presented last fall at the Society for Neuroscience meeting, Ben Parris of the University of Exeter in England presented magnetic resonance imaging scans taken from the brains of people watching magic tricks. In one, the magician performed a simple sleight of hand: he placed a coin in his palm, closed his fingers over it, then opened his hand to reveal that the coin was gone.Now we're ready to put ourselves in a coma... with a well-placed shot from a handgun.
Dr. Parris and his colleagues found spikes of activity in regions of the left hemisphere of the brain that usually become engaged when people form hypotheses in uncertain situations.
These activations occur so quickly, other researchers say, that they often link two events based on nothing more than coincidence: “I was just thinking about looking up my high school girlfriend when out of the blue she called me,” or, “The day after I began praying for a quick recovery, she emerged from the coma.”
That might result in something a little more permanent than what we were aiming for, but based on these findings, our goal of ridding the world of the scrounge of superstitious spirituality is even more remote than the mad Maharishi's dream of being emperor of the universe or the Kracki's wild delusions about ushering in the next Golden Age. We might as well be emptying the ocean with a teaspoon.
Oh well. One day (and one ridiculous notion) at a time, my friends.