Jehovah's Witnesses: the Brotherhood of Delusion
I am a curious person. I am challenged by the unknown. I can be driven, out of sheer frustration, to penetrate a closed veil of conspiracy. And this is what impelled me to go forward to solve the nature of MAGIC.
I've known two professional magicians in my lifetime. One, a friend, and the other, a very close friend. Each discussed magic with me at different times. Each was devoted to protecting the secrecy necessary to maintain the brotherhood of illusion.
My curiosity drove me to investigate on my own. I checked the local library and bookstores from time to time for explanations of how magic was accomplished.
There are, of course, a great many such books around. Always have been. Yet, magic remains a general titillation and puzzlement in our world even in modern times.
“Every great magic trick consists of three parts or acts. The first part is called "The Pledge". The magician shows you something ordinary: a deck of cards, a bird or a man. He shows you this object. Perhaps he asks you to inspect it to see if it is indeed real, unaltered, normal. But of course... it probably isn't. The second act is called "The Turn". The magician takes the ordinary something and makes it do something extraordinary. Now you're looking for the secret... but you won't find it, because of course you're not really looking. You don't really want to know. You want to be fooled. But you wouldn't clap yet. Because making something disappear isn't enough; you have to bring it back. That's why every magic trick has a third act, the hardest part, the part we call "The Prestige".”
There is a reason for this, naturally.
There is an implicit pact between the magician and the audience
I should now like to discuss this pact and use the bond between performer and audience as the premise of something else (about Jehovah’s Witnesses) I will reveal at the end. Shall we continue??
An audience attends a magic act for two main reasons.
The desire to match wits in solving a puzzle, discovering its solution and finally, succumbing to a mysterious thrill at the point of failing to conquer the illusion’s secret.
Yes, the magician knows full well he is in a struggle to conceal his methods.
The audience will scrutinize his movements for the "secret" so they can feel superior, yet above all else, the audience does not really wish to discover the secret.
Why do I say this?
The entertainment value of being fooled is a far more intense emotion if the audience is amazed and made to believe the miraculous is possible!
Isn't that interesting? A battle in which only one side really wishes to "win"?
But, let's move on, shall we?
A magician jealously guards his secrets for a different reason than you might at first imagine.
The magician doesn't safeguard the secret of the illusion because the secret is a large one. No. But, it is rather because it is so small and insignificant. Yes, the secret is banal, ordinary, bland.
Nothing is so disappointing and deflating than the moment you learn how a trick is accomplished!
Why is this true? Two words: TOTAL OVERWHELM!
We invest ourselves emotionally in our desire of being carried away. We simultaneously fear and crave the feeling. Why? We want there to be real MAGIC in our lives. Even a little.
The audience knows the truth. The world is simple, miserable, solid all the way through. But if you can fool them, even for a second... then you can make them wonder. And you get to see something very special. ... You really don't know. ... It was the look on their faces.
Why? Because the burden of our overwhelming responsibility in daily life is tiring. It is exhausting. It is depressing. How much better if we could simply let go and find ourselves in a magic place where a force overwhelmingly powerful has pulled the rug of expectation out from under us and we have "fallen" into a state of mystical ecstasy!
Such is the bargain between the Magician and yourself.
______________THE MAGICIAN’S TOOLS_______________
The tools of magic are basic and spare while the powerful effect wielded is profound.
Did you know there are only 6 magic tricks in all the world? Yes, only six.
All illusions, prestidigitations, and sleight-of-hand tricks combined merely juggle these six elements.
Briefly, they are:
Production (something out of nothing)
Transformation (one thing becomes another thing.)
Motive Power (objects with the ability to move on their own.)
Natural Law Violation (levitation, going through a wall, etc.)
Transposition (two objects change places)
Yes, all magic combines one or many of these six elements. Beyond that there is only the convincing performance.
The magician is really what makes the magic appear to be genuine--when it is not.
(Did you read that with the proper importance? Or, did you pass over it lightly?)
A Magician is like a Priest or Shaman as a practitioner of something purporting to be beyond nature while, at the same time, being a total fabrication.
The MAGICIAN is what really makes the magic APPEAR to be GENUINE. The magician is a kind of salesman, rhetorician and psychologist. The Magician is a master of human nature whose skilled performance, a practised performance and an effortless spontaneity, brings magic alive.
The Magician tells you something and sets up your expectation, then astonishes you at your point of greatest anticipation. You are fooled. Why?
Remember the pact? You wish to be fooled. You desire to be defeated. You co-operate while appearing not to. Why? Because of the tickle of original feeling that flushes out that emotional transcendence when you are FOOLED.
There is brain chemistry involved!
Here is a fact about which you may be unaware.
Your brain REWARDS you when your expectations are defeated by something unexpected! Why?
The human brain produces an intoxicating substance any time you LEARN something. Most of the time, a learning experience will make you more fit to survive. Yet, when you are fooled, you are rewarded too. Did you know that? Why? Because you are confronted with the opposite of what you expected and you survived the experience. This is reason enough to be REWARDED by the squirt of brain-heroin that pleases your brain so much! Being fooled is considered a LEARNING process which is PRO survival.
How is it?
In the wild, getting fooled by a camouflaged predator can render you dead or half-eaten. But, detecting the camouflage (if you survive) is a learning experience worth being rewarded for. Now do you understand?
There is a downside. Of course, you knew that was coming.
Playing video games can become addictive because you are rewarded with a squirt each time you "survive" the proxy situation onscreen. Watching movies is pleasurable because you can vicariously survive all sorts of adventures in the comfort of your seat while munching popcorn.
Each time you are amazed, fooled, exhilarated and excited by the UNEXPLAINABLE---you are rewarded by a thrilling brain-buzz which becomes an end in itself.
That's why you might love horror movies, porno, crossword puzzles,and figuring out how a magician does his tricks.
But, hold on! Did I merely want to explain why you like to be fooled?
No. That was misdirection! What I really wanted to reveal has everything to do with the process of creating a rewarding delusion by a different sort of magician: a religious practitioner of the supernatural.
The pact between the BELIEVER and the RELIGIOUS MYSTIC
The BELIEVER starts out skeptical just as the person who sits watching the magician perform "knows" it is all a trick and not a true demonstration of the miraculous. Yet, the desire to be fooled is implicit in the attention given. Pascal's Wager, for example, implies we have nothing to lose and everything gain!
A Magician uses misdirection. He tells you where to look (i.e. where not to look.) It is the art of misdirection combined with the concealment of the essential tipoff element or fact that sets you up to be fooled.
You use your intelligence to predict what is real and how things work.
You base your sense of the real and objective world on everyday experience and have a built in sensibility of how things will go. Causes lead to effects. Life steps gingerly in accordance.
The smarter you are the better you are able to overcome obstacles by predicting problem areas and devising a way around them without self-harm. However! The magician’s game is defying the natural with an arsenal of contrivances, gimmicks and false fronts appearing natural and ordinary, concealing their 6 elements.
TWO PRINCIPLES to keep in mind
The audience wants to be fooled while fighting it by trying to use everyday logic to discover the trick.
The trick is designed to take advantage of the expectations and thwart them through misdirection. (A magic illusion is a lie, you see.)
It is artful and designed to work through hidden mechanism. A coin is just a coin. Right?
Wrong; in a magic act, the coin is not just a coin; it is a specially made coin with a device built in.
A card is just a playing card, right? Wrong. It is part of a special deck with hidden aspects the magician can use to achieve his aims.
Your everyday intelligence is NOT AWARE of the phony contrivance which hides the concealed mechanism of a trick. You do not have the BASIC vocabulary of the 6 elements to inform your observations.
Once you know these 6 elements and how they are used, almost every trick you see will be deducible instantly. Magic becomes commonplace at that point. Why? Because it is ordinary. It all comes down to the skill of the performance.
CONTRIVED TOOLS of MISDIRECTION
The Bible is a combination of those same 6 elements and Religion is a magic trick.
Various skilled magicians through the centuries have used those 6 elements to fool the audience of seemingly skeptical believers by taking advantage of hidden properties which defy expectation.
At the earliest stages of human history priests, shaman and magi (from which we get the word "magic") were skilled performers. They gained special status from their level of mastery in duping and thrilling the human mind with its pact of desiring the Transcendent Experience.
All throughout mankind's journey through time these magicians were variously called Prophets, Miracle Workers and Demi-gods. Yet, they used the selfsame 6 elements with skill to achieve their effects and rely on the pact to work their magic.
The rest of humanity relies on the STORIES exaggerating the exploits into momentous achievements at the hands of a super powerful deity.
Magic was divided into Good and Evil magic. God was behind the Good and Satan was the cause of the Evil.
Every religious delusion uses some of the sacred six elements
Muhammed is said to have been ILLITERATE. But wait! Muhammed produced perfect Arabic verses in the Koran Hmmm?What’s the trick?
Are we being misdirected? Is something being concealed? Was Muhammad in fact illiterate? How would any of us know this for certain? Should we merely accept this premise?
Joseph Smith was presented with plates of gold with hieroglyphs which he translated using a rock shaped like a donut as a “seer stone.” By placing the stone in a hat and burying his face in it, he "translated" those glyphs. Oh--did I fail to mention? Smith hid behind a curtain, no less!
We are told that a great many witnesses actually "saw" these gold plates. Should we accept all this as given? Did you know the oldest copy of the Book of Mormon,the original words of Joseph Smith, are in uneducated, rural english with grammatical errors, and run-on sentences, yet; the modern Book of Mormon has been...ummm..."adjusted" so that you'd never know that at all!
Moses went up on a mountain and nobody was allowed to come near. He returned with tablets of stone actually written by the finger of God himself! But wait! The “finger of God” version of the tablets were smashed to bits, (by Moses) and Moses had to replace them by carving a 2nd version himself! This isn't suspicious behavior, is it? (Yes, that is a sarcastic question.)
Charles Taze Russell was specially chosen by God to be his mouthpiece by allowing Russell to interpret scriptures along with Great Pyramid measurements in order to publish in advance when Jesus would return. The Pyramid inch was a contrivance-- abra cadabra -- nonsense to flavor his chronology date setting and couch it in an ancient bit of misdirection. There was no such thing--it was purely illusory rhetoric.
There are millions of people today who subscribe to the religion Russell started because they believe this! Or, do they? The story has changed many times and the trick goes on.
Remember the pact?
The audience wishes to be fooled.
Their brains are rewarded each time they participate!
All Magic Illusions contain a moment of reveal.
That is my reveal!
Every element of religious belief is rewarded when you allow yourself to be fooled! The feeling of Spirituality--of purity--of connection to heaven and the eternal future--all emotional fluff!
However, the REWARDS are illusory promises--to be collected in the FUTURE, not in the here and now.
1975 was my last "reward".
Fool me once; shame on you.
Fool me twice; shame on me.
MAGIC illusion, like RELIGIOUS delusion, requires your willingness to believe what you are told and shown. If you refuse to be misdirected, if you exercise natural skepticism, if you search for the elements of trickery--you will detect the uninspiring fact behind the performance: IT IS ALL A CONTRIVED SHOW to fool and entertain.
Jehovah’s Witnesses, alas, are a captive audience. They’re bedazzled at first and strung along, but the show runs late--very late. In fact, the razzle dazzle continues past the audience’s lifetime as they each wait on a payoff which never comes!
For JW’s, there is no payoff--there is no PRESTIGE. . . only the promise of it. It is a Brotherhood of Delusion.
I got lost when I was sidetracked by the word "titillation."
This is where my mind goes at that point:
So true, Terry, people love to be entertained! Great article, and breakdown of magic.
I was watching a fairly recent movie about "Magic" and Houdini... at points, they showed how the trick was done... and it was simple, a letdown. How could it be that simple? Right? So, I could feel what you were saying, "there is no payoff"... there is no 'prestige'.
That is how the "Society" has made if for over a century.... Promises, promises.
I worked with a fellow who spent his summers on a cruise ship as a performing Magician. He showed me one little flourish with a business card which I practiced over and over again until I could make it appear out of nowhere and disappear again.
The number one thing people always say is, "Do that again."
The second thing is, "How'd you do that?"
I was told to NOT ever do it more than once. I was also told not to ever tell how I did it.
Naturally, I hated being pestered. I violated both admonitions.
Result? HUGE disappointment by my audience.
Therein lies the lesson:)
People feel so much better being ignorant than being informed. The frisson of mystery really is a cheap thrill.
The frisson of mystery really is a cheap thrill.
So that's why people are JWS. .... a perceived cheap thrill they think is going to end in paradise.
........but at what cost ?
I saw both The Illusionist and The Prestige.
I preferred the former because of its romantic and atmospheric elements. So much, it seemed, went unexplained, which is how I like it. I saw it many times.
The Prestige was stimulating intellectually, but left me cold on an emotional level.
Cheerio . . .
Thanks Terry; long read for me these days but well worth the time.
My wife is of this weekend to be entertained at the district convention!
She will be well entertained by the JW magicians.
TerryWalstrom. Do you have a website? If not, I think you should have one. Even a blog or something. I love your style of writing and how you break everything down to its logical conclusion.
Great work. :)
I don't have a Blog.
I never wanted one. I post on Facebook and here on this group.
Sometimes other sites ask me to contribute something or want to reprint an article. But--that's about it.
I've written almost 2,000 articles. Not because there's a demand, but because I like writing.
Some people weave Navajo rugs. I write. :)
I've written 2 books (available on Amazon) and I'm finishing a 3rd.
As Pork Pig once said, Th-theeuh-th-theeuth-That's All, Folks.
Terry - "People feel so much better being ignorant than being informed."
Most of 'em, yeah.
I came to that very realization while I was still in.
You can't imagine just how f**king depressing I found it (actually, maybe you can), simply 'cause I just wasn't that way.