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An Interview with Christian Sorenson on Politics, Religion, and Psychology (Part Five)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 23.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (Part Nineteen)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: June 1, 2020

Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2020

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 9,903

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract

Christian is a Philosopher that comes from Belgium. What identifies him the most and above all is simplicity, for everything is better with “vanilla flavour.” Perhaps, for this reason, his intellectual passion is criticism and irony, in the sense of trying to reveal what “hides behind the mask,” and give birth to the true. For him, ignorance and knowledge never “cross paths.” What he likes the most in his leisure time, is to go for a walk with his wife. He discusses: the main forces at play in international affairs and politics; economics create a basis for peace-time and war-time; current conflagrations between the two juggernauts, China and the United States, and the fraying of the European Union, the freeing itself of colonial rule in Latin America, and the continual self-impoverishment of the Russian Federation due to expenses diverted from the direct wellbeing of its people;  China or is the United States acting in a more irresponsible manner; Brexit; Latin America – Central and South America; Russian Federation; Sino-Russian relations; the Middle East; New Political Cosmogonia; imperialist ambitions of the United States; the East and the West; a just state; an equitable state; a just state and an equitable state of a nation come together; materials goods necessary to live a modern base life; pyramidal cascade of grace; member countries of the European Union fighting one another; biological terrorism; Different governments – leftist, rightist, centrist, and the derivatives; a global culture with men having more sense and acting with more maturity; biological terrorist attacks emanating from China; if the European Union fractionates; the majority of this ongoing political and economic tension; the confrontation one and the other ‘will be killed’”; the dumb hunting traps placed on the road for President Trump by the Chinese; acting in a more irresponsible manner; many Russians blinded with a love for Putin; the greatest leader now; the Americans, the Russians, and the Chinese; authoritarian or liberal democratic tendencies; the looming threats of anthropogenic climate change and nuclear catastrophe; the earliest recorded moment of anti-Semitism; anti-Semitism developed over time; experienced any of this in personal life; hatred used as a political tool; the support of some fundamentalist Christian sects for the Jewish people out of some biblical prophecy of the end of day; anti-Semitism portrayed in media; important ways to combat anti-Semitism; effective authors, speakers, organizations, and movements in culture to reduce the fear, stereotyping, and hatred of Jewish peoples; “Messianic” and “Messianic Era”; Jewish peoples in the “Masada massacre”; forms of intelligence seem strongest in Jewish peoples; wife attacked by an Islamic fundamentalist; a form of blaming Jewish peoples simply for being Jewish; any deep meaning to “Jewish pig” ; Jewish peoples become a common group rather than others as an outsourcing of blame for political ineptitude; chosen people; Christian theologians justify group bigotry over one person’s act of murder of their claimed Messiah; Spielberg; Golda; fundamentalist Christian idea in the United States of hoping for the annihilation of the Jewish peoples for Christ to come back in glory; Jung; Freud; cultural strength behind this for the Jewish peoples; g; counter this theological excuse; the “reins” of the most influential and strategic spheres; a literal protection or more of a metaphorical protection; questioning if theology is even useful anymore, or is it more of an intellectual exercise; Christian theology; the conscious the unconscious; the two points of contact; “weak thinking”; cognitive neuroscience; god talk; the world of Academia; dead academics; the language and vital energy of the unconscious; the barrier between the conscious and the unconscious; the conscious and the unconscious; if we integrate with digital computers; the next reasonable step in the advancement of psychopharmacology; aberrant psychological constellations of traits aren’t considered disorders, now, should be seen as disorders; and mental illnesses, syndromes, and disorders are formally psychological issues or psychiatric diagnoses but will likely be removed as the science of the mind advances.

Keywords: Christian Sorenson, politics, psychology, religion.

An Interview with Christian Sorenson on Politics, Religion, and Psychology (Part Five)[1],[2]

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

1. Scott Douglas Jacobsen: Let’s talk a bit about the current political moment or, rather, moments, the various forces at play in the world. What do you consider the main forces at play in international affairs and politics?

Christian Sorenson: Even if it is a premature diagnosis, since neither the international community nor the United States has become aware of it, I think there has been a “deep schism,” and probably with “no-return,” which I will name as “new political cosmogonia.” The “hegemonic power” of the United States, in all senses, and its “imperialist expansion ambitious,” have been “neutralized” and “forcluded” by a big giant. If this is so, then the main “paternalistic leader,” and “protector” of the West has been “displaced,” and lost his place, with remote possibilities of being able to reposition itself again. Obviously, if it is “not one,” then it is “the other,” however beyond that, is presumable, that the control that the East will exercise over the West, from now on, is going to be based on a policy profile that could be denominated as “passive-aggressive submission,” because will not only imply an “ideological turn” tending towards the “left side,” but also “cultural dis-encounters,” that are going to unleash greater “conflicts” than those that already existed. Therefore, if those felt “differences,” are in a framework of “political fundamentalism” or “theocratic policies,” then it could be expected, that rather than being assimilated, they are going to be “introjected” by exercising “violence of conscience.”

2. Jacobsen: How does economics create a basis for peace-time and war-time?

Sorenson: Depending, if respectively they promote “human solidarity,” through the development of a more “just” and “equitable “society, that allows “material-goods,” to be “reachable” and “profitable” by everyone. Or if instead, what they encourage is the “social-class struggle,” accentuating the “gap” between the most rich and poor people, whether by “liberalizing” or “capitalizing” everything, including those “goods,” that constitute “basic rights,” such as “education” and “health.” And basing their “enrichment philosophy,” on a “distorted pre-conception” that believes that there should be a sort of “pyramidal cascade of grace,” between the “apex” of the most powerful, and the “base” of the most dispossessed.

3. Jacobsen: Looking at the current conflagrations between the two juggernauts, China and the United States, and the fraying of the European Union, the freeing itself of colonial rule in Latin America, and the continual self-impoverishment of the Russian Federation due to expenses diverted from the direct wellbeing of its people, how are the United States and China going to resolve this issue? Some related questions to follow.

Sorenson: It does not seem to me, that there is a liberation from colonial rule in Latin America, nor in Europe. In fact, I think it is quite “the opposite,” since there is a strong “interventionism,” of the “Chinese-Russian-Iranian” trio in countries with leftist governments, and also an insistent attempt to “undermine and overthrow,” liberal democracies. Interventionism, has been direct and comprehensive in “socialist-oriented” governments such as Venezuela, Nicaragua, and until recently Bolivia. Simultaneously there are “militarized” invading actions “economically camouflaged,” as is the case of Argentina, with the project that aims to build a Chinese nuclear reactor next year. Something similar, occurs in a more accentuated form in the European continent, being even worse, since we currently can verify how “their own colonies, are now colonizing them.” The “dismemberment” of the European Union, has been “indirectly” induced by the Iranian influence, with China’s back-up, and “directly” by the large migratory masses since 2015, which together with the “terrorist attacks,” have collaborated to destabilize its “economies” and “policies,” because the member countries have come into conflicts with each other. Actually I believe, that’s not possible any more to talk about “terrorist attacks,” as something light and simply, due to the fact that a “new category” has emerged for me, which I will name as “biological terrorism.” Therefore, it would be necessary to differentiate between those that are of “explosive nature” and the latter. The above could be said, based on what has happened with the “pandemic” in Europe, since it can be clearly stated in my opinion, that its origin was due to “biological terrorist attacks” perpetrated by China, who differed from the “classic ones,” by the fact that “terrorists,” instead from being “loaded with explosives,” now they charge themselves “with viruses.” The fate of the European Union, taking into account the “accumulated crisis,” that was already drafting, which by the way also has triggered strong “separatists” and “nationalists movements,” along with the “shocks” of the pandemic, has shown its worst face even with their owns, as with what has happened to Italy and Spain, in which they “turned their backs” against them. I feel that all this “catastrophic constellation,” shows above everything, that at this moment the European Union is in “the intensive care unit,” and that this story is ultimately “a chronicle of an announced death.” I see that the escalation of aggressions, has been increasing, not only between the United States and China, but also with the Russian Federation, which in others, diverts all its resources towards the “arming race” held for long with the States, and that lately has also intervened in favor of its ally. Given the “fatal dynamic condition” of the current political situation, I believe that within at least the “near future,” there is no solution to the conflict between the United States and China. And even more, it is sustainable to think that what we are “experiencing,” is already a “third world war on going.”

4. Jacobsen: Is China or is the United States acting in a more irresponsible manner? If both, what way for either?

Sorenson: For me it’s like a “Rottweiler fighting against a snake,” both are “lethals,” and from the confrontation one and the other “will be killed.” I believe, that China clearly “committed the murder,” and now is trying to arrange the disaster, that by the way also got out of control from them, by “hiding” with “eastern unflappability” the “weapon,” and the “corpse.” Nevertheless, and “this is the apple of discord,” President Trump, but not the United States, has made the mistake of “over acting,” and falling in every “dumb hunting traps” that the Chinese have “placed on the road.”

5. Jacobsen: With Brexit, and the cascade of negative effects following from this, what is the likely outcome for the integrity – economic, political, inter-national/intra-regional – of the European Union in the 2020s?

Sorenson: There has always been an “historical constant” on the European continent, that is that “history repeats itself, over and over again.” If this is right, then this time it will not be the exception, and things shouldn’t be quite different from before. Although, apparently the cause of the dissolution of the European Union will be attributed to Brexit, since at least for me is a “fact,” that “this is the end,” I feel that paradoxically, that will rather be due to the “strengthening of Germany,” more than anything else. The “deepest wound” that Europe has had until now, which lastly will “emerge” in some way or another if the crisis of the pandemic is overcome, is the “resentment feeling” that exists, against Germany, after its “refused” to provide aid in favor of the “most affected” Schengen countries.

6. Jacobsen: Latin America – Central and South America – have been under the thumb of colonial rulership for a long, long time. Some of the more recent have been the coups and invasions by the United States and others. With a shuffling off their backs of the colonial rule of the United States and others, how will this increased freedom of economic and political activity create a foundation for more just and equitable societies as determined and decided by the peoples of Latin America?

Sorenson: In my opinion is a situation of “out-out,” since “neither one nor the other serves, nor offers any solution.” Central and South America, have what in my opinion are “infra and supra structural” problems, since respectively there are serious “economic” and “educational” “gaps” between the “extreme poverty” that represents the majority of the population, which in many cases is even more accentuated when it’s related to indigenous, and the “richest” by the other side who are a minority. At the same time, the presence of “colonial ambitions” through the most empowered countries, that are “vying for the same steak,” by “strengthening” the “factual powers” of “local governments,” in exchange for “agreeing” to be intervened, by “sacrificing their own people,” in order to obtain geo-political advantages or economical benefits, over their natural resources, as is the case, for example, with Venezuela’s oil, does not precisely improves the “state of affairs” on this continent. The only solution from my point of view, is “one that is absurd,” in order to arrive to more just and equitable societies. That would be something analogous to “empty” the continent of their people and resources, and in that way by “eliminating the bitch, the dog cam would be ended.”

7. Jacobsen: The Russian Federation continues its long run under a former KGB operative, President Vladimir Putin, while its GDP remains below Canada with a significantly higher population than Canada. This single metric can sing a thousand songs and a tell a hundred tales. What is the sustainability of the situation for the Russian Federation?

Sorenson: I feel that, its people, their nationalism, and the “blinded love” towards Putin.

8. Jacobsen: How will Sino-Russian relations develop as Russian & American antagonisms remain below the surface and Chinese & American antagonisms remain above it?

Sorenson: From now on, I do not think that there will continue to be “antagonisms” of any kind or “changes, regarding their positions,” in the “power-relations” between them. Rather what’s going to arrive, is a “maintained “or “fixed” “position-power” on what regards the Russian Federation and China from one side, and the United States from the other. Being in this “dynamic,” the existence of “resignation and submission,” the “most prevalent feelings” of this last, since for this nation they won’t be “enough resources” nor “state of minds” in order to face “anything powerfully.”

9. Jacobsen: Will the Middle East continue to be unstable?

Sorenson: I feel in this case, that there are “questions” that “really aren’t,” and “problems” that “do not exist,” when respectively what is happening, is that the “answer” is “known beforehand,” and the “solution” is “nowhere.”

10. Jacobsen: For this New Political Cosmogonia, does this mean a largely bipolar world (China and the United States) shifting into a multipolar world (when more than bi-)?

Sorenson: According to this “New Political Cosmogonia,” the United States would be “de-profiled,” as the “world’s leading power,” and with that, the world is going to cease to be a “bipolar-based” on two main blocks, western and eastern respectively, and instead should moved to a “tripolar-based” conformation, sustained on “three fundamental poles,” around of which all countries will gravitate. One of them would be around China, the other will focus on the United States and a third would be constituted by the European countries, which regardless of whether or not the European Union will continue existing, still will remain forming a single bloc in terms of “extra-European policies.” In this regard, Europe, as the “third pole,” is going to try to occupy an “intermediate” position, that would serve to “mediate” between the “other two,” against matters that may cause conflicts that put world peace at risk. Nevertheless, this last, “deep down” would be a “strategical way,” to obtain greater “commercials” and “economics” benefits.

11. Jacobsen: For the imperialist ambitions of the United States, how will continued escalations or conflagrations harm both countries? How will their feuding impact nations closest in their economic and politics networks?

Sorenson: In my opinion, this crisis that “affects hopelessly” the United States, will be seen by many of the countries that were close until now, as a “negative influence,” from which it is better to stay away, so as not to be economically or politically in risk. The “marriage of convenience,” that many countries had with the States, taking advantage of the “display of power” that was exhibited, is going to “cool down” and “take distance,” and will ultimately leave the United States, “quite alone” on the world stage.

12. Jacobsen: How will the East and the West continue to pull apart from one another culturally? How will this cultural arrogance in either case exhibit itself?

Sorenson: The East, always has thought that “if it is more, then is better.” They operate on a “quantitative,” and not with a “qualitative” basis, because they intend to sustained their power, through a “purely numerical approach.” It is for this reason, in my opinion that one of its primary objectives has been to “invade” the world by “over-populating” it from their eastern countries, and by using this “population superiority,” as a means to introduce their “own cultures,” pretending through a “passive-imposition” or “passive-resistance,” to bypass every other culture. In this sense, they have no intentions of living “harmoniously” and “respectfully” with the other ones, and much less they intend to “integrate” with them. What they actually seek, is to “invade” and “conquer” the West by “coercion,” similar as happened in “Sandokan’s” tale, with the “expressed desire” of making any Western cultural vestige, to lastly “disappear.”

13. Jacobsen: What is a just state?

Sorenson: A state, that watches over the “common good,” and respects “distributive justice,” understanding by this, the fact that everyone, has the “same right” of access to “property.”

14. Jacobsen: What is an equitable state?

Sorenson: A state, that respects and defends “human dignity” above all things, since does not discriminates in function of ethnic, cultural and beliefs differences.

15. Jacobsen: How do a just state and an equitable state of a nation come together? What countries represent this tendency?

Sorenson: I feel, that this would be possible if those who “rule nations” were really the “best prepared” ones, from an “intellectual” and “deontological” point of view, and if they took into account, that “power” must be used exclusively to “serve people.” In my opinion, at the moment there is “no country” capable to represent this trend. I affirm the above, not because I believe that just and equitable nations “were an ideal,” but rather the opposite, because I am convinced, that nations “as they are,” are in turn “perfectibles,” and therefore it is actually possible to reach that aspiration as a “goal-model.”

16. Jacobsen: In these contexts of materials goods necessary to live a modern base life, what makes them rights rather than privileges?

Sorenson: I believe in fact, that they not only “collaborate,” either “directly” or “indirectly” in the “production chain,” but also and primarily, that they

are “essential” for its existence. And therefore, it is logical to assume that is a right for them, to have “access” and “participate profitably” of it.

17. Jacobsen: This pyramidal cascade of grace, this trickling down hypothesis, what does this mean for populations in destitute circumstances in some peoples in the Middle East, in some states of the African Union, and in several transitioning economies in Asia? Will they replicate this form of life and waterfall economy or shirk it entirely?

Sorenson: What this “pyramid” means to me, is that “grace” must flow towards the base after has “overflowed” the apex. That is once the “wealth” exceeds the “abundance to the richest,” it should drip downward, until “gravity” reaches to the “most deprived.” According to this approach, “wealth” would flow “only in one direction,” and depending on the “scraps discarded” by the richest. As a “goods distribution system,” it seems to me that not only is applicable in these places, but also that it is “convenient” and “coherent” with them to do so. Since they are regions, where what exists is people that acts as “human masses” or “human hordes,” and therefore that are “easily manipulable,” due to the extreme conditions of “poverty” and “lack of education” in which they live. When I think in this “philosophy of life,” I remember the Christian “image” of “the poor Lazarus,” who stood under the table along with dogs, waiting for the rich to drop a “crumb of bread to spare.”

18. Jacobsen: How are the member countries of the European Union fighting one another?

Sorenson: Since they all, have ever made statements of “mutual rights” and “human rights,” that they promised to defend and aid, but when they have to “pass into act,” and “put their hands in pockets” in order to pull out money, then they “back down,” for defending their own “nationalist interests,” to the detriment of those who regard the European community.

19. Jacobsen: Any other examples of the proposed “biological terrorism”?

Sorenson: In a similar context, but not as an “unprecedented fact,” as it happened with China. They can be pointed out, some epidemics in Africa, such as Ebola, which show evident “external intervention.”

20. Jacobsen: Different governments – leftist, rightist, centrist, and the derivatives – come from different sensibilities. Different forms of governance imply different leadership. To prevent global civilizational collapse, what forms of government make most sense now? Obviously, we cannot continue to have petty intra-regional and inter-national (nation to nation) squabbles. It seems unsustainable with the power of technology and the integration of the world’s various deeply interdependent networks.

Sorenson: If all “forms of governments,” from the most “purist” to the more “eclectic” ones, have demonstrated their “inability” to satisfy the “demands” of people, regardless of their nationalities. And on the other hand, not even with the “alternation in power,” they have managed to “fulfill” their “expectations.” Then it is presumable to conclude, that at present time none of them will be capable of preventing a global collapse, and therefore it is necessary to develop a “novel conception” of these. In order to reach that goal, two conditions would be necessary. Respectively, to “re-define” a new original principle, and to “centralize” the entire world government in “just one.” Regarding the first of them, it is essential to understand, that all the forms emerged until now, have born from “ideal associations,” that after being theorized, were implemented into practice, by making “reality to fit” abruptly into them, as if they were “rigid molds.” Based on the latter, it would be required to follow an “opposite method” of process, by first of all, developing “citizen consultations,” in order to allow people, based on their “needs and priorities” to reach and define it first, and by “raising” afterwards an “ideal-form.” In consequence, the achievement of a “flexible” and “adaptable” conception related to “reality” and to a “theoretical model” of government as well, would ultimately make them “fit-ables” and run more smoothly in practice.

21. Jacobsen: Following from the previous question, what types of governances are needed as reflected by particular leadership styles – as those seen in leaders in the past?

Sorenson: In my opinion, “none of them” are needed. The first thing to do, would be to “centralize” the entire world government, physically speaking in “one, and only one entity,” And then, to “transfer” leadership towards people, by focusing its “management” on them, in such a way that “who rules,” only plays an “auditory” and “subsidiary” control role.

22. Jacobsen: Jerry Seinfeld joked, one time, about men, more or less, living as if low-level superheroes in our own little worlds. Mencken remarked on the vanity of most men and the sense of most women. What could build a global culture with men having more sense and acting with more maturity (not seeing themselves as the center of the universe on a superhero’s crusade for justice, truth)? Those sensibilities leading to an electorate and a leadership, if male, with more reality-testing, a balanced sense of the real world, and a balanced intelligence. I note far more variance in reality-testing ability of men and in the manifestations of intelligence in men with power, title, and influence.

Sorenson: I feel that, through a “global culture,” that “dethrones” all kinds of “phallic images” in society, and that promotes and protects “trans-gender ideology” since school education, and in turn also empowers “trans-gender parent families.”

23. Jacobsen: What is the evidence for the claim of an origin of biological terrorist attacks emanating from China rather than a bat-to-human transmission of a coronavirus in a Chinese wet market? Isn’t the latter more in line with the vast majority of evidence, reportage, and the principle of parsimony?

Sorenson: If there is something for which the “evidences” provided by the authorities in this “plan-demic” are useful, is that allows to be “certain” of “what it is not being.” For this reason, we must be thankful of the “childish evidences” facilitated, and the “parsimony” of them, but in a “simplistic sense,” since their contributions with all kinds of absurd explanations, “do not resist any kind of logical analysis.” For naming only some, this happened for example, with the “hypothesis of cross contamination,” when at that time “bats” were in their “hibernation period,” and therefore were not traded in markets. Or what occurred, regarding the assumption that the “virus was of natural origin,” when in its genetic mapping, shows cuts at four points with “grafts from the HIV virus.”

If we want to argue about “real evidences,” to see if such “conspiracy theory” mentioned by me, “hits the target or not,” and watch out because probably will not be the only one, since other dozen of “viruses,” have already been synthesized at the “Chinese Military Academy of Medical Sciences,” in order to evaluate the impact over humans. Then it might be helpful to verify that “this bat-virus,” is almost “not-immunogenic,” that is to say with zero immunogenic capacity, which should not exist in viruses of natural origin. What this last means, is that those who have overcome “the contagion,” will be infected “again and again” until they probably die, and therefore, there is no such “community or herd immunity,” neither “categories of supposed recovered patients,” since mathematically, and strictly speaking, they have the “same probability” of dying that the “uninfected” ones. And consequently, the search for “herd immunity” is a big error because does nothing else but to “accelerate” the death of people. In this sense this “virus,” in my opinion is a sort of “highlander-type killing machine,” that will never disappear, unless the population disappears first, or a treatment is discovered.

Somehow, in summary, I believe in this case and regarding evidences, that “the content of this wine bottle, is more important than its label.”

24. Jacobsen: If the European Union fractionates, what will be the outcome in Western Europe and Eastern Europe?

Sorenson: I think, Eastern Europe would especially regress in its “economy,” and will probably be more largely exposed to the influence of the Russian Federation. Regarding Western Europe, the “superiority” of the re-unification of Germany would be felt, and become even stronger. In turn, the countries that were always like “poor and retarded brothers,” such as Spain and Portugal, but which were the “trailers pulled” until now by the European Union, would return to “their small town country place of yesteryears.” And perhaps, the strengthening of “local nationalisms,” will lead to the “separation” and “independence” of some regions, and therefore definitely “fracture” some countries, such as Spain, Belgium and maybe Italy.

25. Jacobsen: Can the majority of this ongoing political and economic tension reflect itself as a war-time scenario happening in real-time on the internet?

Sorenson: I feel that, instead of being a scenario of war-time, happening on the internet, is rather the “time scenario,” of a “third world war,” which is underway through “the timing” of a “war of communications.”

26. Jacobsen: You note “the confrontation one and the other ‘will be killed’.” Why both?

Sorenson: Because I believe President Trump “is wrong,” when he invokes “inside its conscience,” the “lex Talionis” regarding “an aye for an eye,” and “a tooth for… A tooth.” Since his “response,” is being given in an “outside-other register” than the one gave by the Chinese in their “offensive,” and what is worse, that is “out-of-timing.” If this is actually occurring, then is logical to imagine, that if the “escalation of hostilities” continues, President Trump, is going to feel “cornered,” and therefore will react by making a “forceful attack,” wishing to make China “disappear,” either in a “real” or “imaginary” sense. This last, in turn would lead to China to respond, by giving a “final thrust” to the United States.

27. Jacobsen: What have been the dumb hunting traps placed on the road for President Trump by the Chinese?

Sorenson: It should be noted that of all, the first “dumb hunting trap,” was placed by the same President Trump “on himself.” When until recently, he did not “stop flaunting” about his “super-powers,” perhaps as a way of “over-compensating” the “length of his ties.” Indeed, I think that in this case, one of “the principles” fulfilled, is the one that says that “if you tell me of what you presume, I will tell you what you lack.” Other “decoys,” in which he has fallen, were to “minimize” the severity of the epidemic, by adopting a “denialist attitude,” even in relation to the consequences that could affect the United States. To some extent they were expressly consented, since until now its “main concern,” is not to slow down the economy, especially in relation to “sea cruises,” that are businesses in which he has a “stake.” Likewise, his “deafness,” to listen at everyone, but especially to the scientific advisers, who had been warning for two years, about the need to take measures to prevent this incoming pandemic. And the worst of all, I would say “the thorn in its back,” which is the bad habit to “dis-appreciate” the threats of the most dangerous enemies. Not only “not realizing,” that “there is no small enemy” but what is even more serious, by the fact of not being aware that the “worst enemy,” sometimes arrives to be “the smallest of all.”

28. Jacobsen: Is China or is the United States acting in a more irresponsible manner? If both, what way for either?

Sorenson: I think, they are both irresponsible. China, was irresponsible at the beginning, because apart from the “global damage,” caused “intentionally” by them, did not “dimensioned” that it was going to “be greater” than imagined, and that additionally the situation was going to get “out of control.” For its part, the United States was not responsible “before” the beginning, when having all the resources in its hands, “refused” to take “preventive measures,” to avoid the pandemic. And by the way, it is also doing so now, since has “overlapped” economy above everything, including the “lives and rights of its citizens,” and because instead of “resolving” the conflict with China has “increasingly accentuated” it, that in the best of scenarios, will leave us all in a “New Cold War.”

29. Jacobsen: Why are many Russians blinded with a love for Putin?

Sorenson: Because they see in Putin, the image of a “Siberian bear,” who at the same time is “wild” and has “refined tastes.” “Protector” of his country, but “sensitive” and “close” to people. With a “strong temper,” capable of dominating a tiger, only with his “personal charm,” as well as getting the rest of the world to “respect” him, and “think twice” before “wanting” to start any conflict.

30. Jacobsen: Who seems like the greatest leader now? I do not mean power of military, size of economy, and popularity in the polls. I mean character and virtue required for true leadership.

Sorenson: I feel that “Pope Francis I,” especially when it “comes to mind,” his “passion” for soccer, and when I think about the “character” and “virtues,” of the “simpleton priest of my town.”

31. Jacobsen: Are the Americans, the Russians, and the Chinese – their respective ruling and governing elites – willing to continue in an indefinite stalemate?

Sorenson: Maybe now, but “maybe not” after we enter the “Messianic era.”

32. Jacobsen: Will authoritarian or liberal democratic tendencies win out in the end?

Sorenson: I don’t think so, since both are a “failure.” But I also believe, that the “best government,” is going to be the one that arises, after “money has been eliminated” from the world.

33. Jacobsen: What about the looming threats of anthropogenic climate change and nuclear catastrophe?

Sorenson: I believe that currently, there is a “planning” strategy that searches to “eliminate” almost all the world population, and expects to leave at the end, no more than one hundred million inhabitants. This basically would be executed through “biological controls,” exercised by the “progressive introduction” of untreated diseases, poverty and famine. The goal, is to start a “novel civilization,” mainly based on “technological” and “molecular genetics” developments, in order to improve and facilitate the “foundation” of other forms of societies, sustained on new “anthropological” conceptions and “ethical” values.

34. Jacobsen: A lot of the thinking in the world is dichotomous. In that, there is a claim to some binary invisible ordering of our lives. One of the forms in which this arises in the concept of good and evil, god and the devil, angels and demons, and the good people and the bad people. Some of the manifestations of this can take the form of ethnic hatreds. One of those is anti-Semitism. What seems like the earliest recorded moment of anti-Semitism?

Sorenson: One of the most recorded images I have, is the site and massacre of “Masada” by the Romans. I feel that it is not only a demonstration of anti-Semitism, but also the “exhibition,” in its greatest splendor, of what “human cowardice and cruelty” can reach.

35. Jacobsen: How has anti-Semitism developed over time, fractionated into different forms?

Sorenson: I feel that throughout history, “the theme,” has not varied regardless of whether it was the Inquisition, Nazism or the persecution of Egypt. Since, we have always “been envied” for being the chosen people, or for having a greater degree of intelligence, and “strategically control the world since ever.”

36. Jacobsen: Fundamentally, anti-Semitism is a perception of the world as one divided in the manner mentioned before with good people and bad people. Good people are those are non-Semites and the bad people are those who are Semites. Then the rest of a hatred, prejudice, and bigotry follow from this. Have you experienced any of this in personal life?

Sorenson: Indirectly yes, when my wife was once brutally attacked by an Islamic fundamentalist, unfortunately these cases go “unpunished,” as authorities justifies the aggressors as “poor deranged,” who were provoked by the “mere presence” of a Jew. Directly also, since “my sweet childhood,” I guess so. When among other things, my stepfather often reminded me that I was a “Jewish pig.”

37. Jacobsen: How is this form of hatred used as a political tool?

Sorenson: I think they have always been used as a “scape-goat,” and with a “double standard” to divert attention and blame the Jews, due to “the political ineptitude” they have to rule their nations.

38. Jacobsen: What is the nature of the support of some fundamentalist Christian sects for the Jewish people out of some biblical prophecy of the end of days, or some such thing? How is this taken so seriously as to be politically consequential in places like the United States?

Sorenson: I believe that the most “classical and common accusation,” from the religious point of view, is to blame Jews of “having murdered Christ,” and therefore they are obliged to “pay eternally” for that sin. In the United States, the racist idea of ​​thinking that they “transmit genetic defects,” that spoil the purity of a supposed “superior race,” has gained a lot of strength in “white supremacist groups.” And from a political sight, the “Zionist conspiracy theory,” such as the “Andean plan” to appropriate the “world’s freshwater reserves” in the Patagonia of South America, which among others is becoming increasingly popular, since according these, Jews would try to “globally control” through the economy, communications and politics, in order to “seize all the resources,” and “dominate the entire world.”

39. Jacobsen: How is anti-Semitism portrayed in media?

Sorenson: Through the press, showing a “biased” vision of Israel, and in turn associating it with a “Nazi state” that commits “genocidal crimes” against Palestinians. Also by “ridiculing” the Orthodox diaspora communities, through “any type of events and circumstances.” And “hypocritically promoting,” all kinds of means that strengthen the “boycott against Israel.” The aforementioned, is what they currently denominate mainly in Europe, as “anti-Zionism,” which in my opinion, is nothing more than a “cynical excuse” to hide the “real face of the new anti-Semitism.”

40. Jacobsen: What are important ways to combat anti-Semitism?

Sorenson: I feel that first of all, and along with “not being afraid of anti-Semitism,” is to apply what for me is the “golden rule,” this is “we must respect and make ourselves respected.” And secondly, that we “do not have to hide,” quite the contrary, “we must dare to show ourselves,” and “feel proud of our customs and of being Jews.”

41. Jacobsen: Finally, who have been effective authors, speakers, organizations, and movements in culture to reduce the fear, stereotyping, and hatred of Jewish peoples?

Sorenson: From a political point of view I think we have great examples like “Golda Mier.” Culturally speaking Steven Spielberg, has made important contributions regarding the “collective unconscious.” As well, all Jewish community organizations or leagues in diaspora, such as anti-Semitic ones, those of social aid, like Wizo, and Maguen Adom, or with lay- religious purposes, as Chabad and reformists.

42. Jacobsen: What do you mean by “Messianic” and “Messianic Era”?

Sorenson: What will occur when the “diasporic exile” of Jewish people ends, because we all are going to return to Israel. And when all nations, recognize “its anointed,” the God of Israel who will be invested to “rule both,” Jewish people and the rest of humanity, so that “peace and justice reigns.”

43. Jacobsen: What things were done to Jewish peoples in the “Masada massacre”?

Sorenson: In the context of the First Roman Jewish War, the Jews “were besieged” by the troops of the Roman Empire, and when they saw that “defeat was imminent,” they carried out a “collective suicide,” which in my opinion is a “symbol of self-affirmation and resistance” as Jewish people, who prefer death rather than to “bend themselves” or “be slaves again.”

44. Jacobsen: What forms of intelligence seem strongest in Jewish peoples? Is this innate, culture, or both? How so in any case?

Sorenson: I think it’s definitely an “innate, racial and genetic superiority of general intelligence,” inherited from the mother, recognized by many, “likes it who wants to,” and “annoys it to whoever,” equivalent on average, to “one standard deviation” above the general adult population.

45. Jacobsen: How was your wife attacked by an Islamic fundamentalist? Where was this? What were the health consequences?

Sorenson: It happened here in Belgium, once we were walking back home, a guy pulled out a firearm and aimed it at her head, yelling that “she was a Jewish bitch and that the next time, he would put a bullet in her head.” My wife was terrified, and for a long time felt afraid even to go outside. Says that she doesn’t wants to see an Islamic fundamentalist close to her never again in life.

46. Jacobsen: Following from the last question, does this reflect a form of blaming Jewish peoples simply for being Jewish and being in the presence of an anti-Semite?

Sorenson: In my opinion, it “reflects much more” than the pure “simplicity” of that. And in turn, is “much more serious,” since if “hypothetically” someone arrives to eventually “feels that hate” towards Jews, in the silent and “private sphere” of its personal conscience, which in itself is already “something despicable” … Then, nothing has to do with the rest, or with the fact “of believing” that since the aforementioned, there’s something similar to a “kind of right and freedom,” that authorizes someone for “acting-out” those “irrational beliefs,” through “intolerant” and “aggressive behaviors,” that afterwards are justified by “mental distortions” of fanaticism, that judges them as “licitly-good actions,” or that are “passively protected,” by the “blindness” of justice, that “prefers to hide all the grime under the carpet,” pretending to “make believe” that nothing bad has happened, in order “to protect the political image” of the authorities on duty.

47. Jacobsen: Is there any deep meaning to “Jewish pig” or is this simply a bigoted statement of dehumanization, or both?

Sorenson: Taking into consideration that my mother is Jewish by womb, and of Sephardic origin, since comes from one of the oldest families in the Jewish quarter of Barcelona, about the year 1000​​ AD. I feel that “this epithet,” mainly denoted from my stepfather, who in my opinion suffers of “Procusto’s Syndrome” regarding myself , “his impotence” of not being able to find anything more hurtful, with which to insult, mixed besides, with a “feeling of rage,” because in its daily life, he had to “see the man,” that my mother really loved, and the predilection that she has always had for me, over him and the rest of my half brothers, due to the reason that she considers me her “genius and adored child.”

48. Jacobsen: Why do Jewish peoples become a common group rather than others as an outsourcing of blame for political ineptitude?

Sorenson: Since unlike other ethnic groups, “throughout history,” we “have taken the reins of the world” from the most strategic and influential spheres, which has “sown hatred and rage” accumulated after generations, due to the fact that they have never been able to “assume and tolerate,” that a “small bunch,” has always achieved that and much more, despite the “constants persecutions and atrocities” suffered as people. And what “get hives on their skin” even more, because they have never been capable “to digest” so, though they are aware of it. It is the fact, besides that never they will be superior to us, that “we are like reeds,” since when being alone “we bend but never break,” and together “we are even stronger.”

49. Jacobsen: What does chosen people mean in this context?

Sorenson: What means is that is the people with whom God made a “covenant of alliance,” and therefore that’s “protected” by Hashem, and for which Adonay has a “predilection.”

50. Jacobsen: How do Christian theologians justify group bigotry over one person’s act of murder of their claimed Messiah? It was one person; therefore, it’s all Jewish peoples. “Overgeneralization” doesn’t do this leap justice.

Sorenson: Since Christian theologians, believe that the Messiah they claimed, was also the “son of God made man,” and therefore “the act” of Jews and the Sanhedrin at that time, was even more serious because who they killed was nothing less than “the person of God made man on earth.” From my point of view, this generalization is a “theological excuse” to justify the eternal punishment that Jews must suffer, for “being a treacherous race,” and for “having committed” and “continue to commit,” a much deeper sin, that is to “have denied” and “continue to deny,” who they claimed was the “true Messiah.” Which in consequence implies denying in their consciences, the “redemption of the human species,” from the original sin of our first parents, Adam and Eve, and finally with pretending to keep “the doors of paradise closed.”

51. Jacobsen: Any favourite works by Spielberg?

Sorenson: Personally, the film about “Schindler’s List,” and especially regarding the shocking black and white image of a little girl who is first shown “lining up to go to death row,” and then “highlighted in red,” in the middle of a pile of corpses.

52. Jacobsen: Any favourite quotes by Golda?

Sorenson: For her courage and firmness of decision to execute the “Operation Fury of God.”

53. Jacobsen: What do you think of this fundamentalist Christian idea in the United States of hoping for the annihilation of the Jewish peoples for Christ to come back in glory, from their view?

Sorenson: Indeed, that is what Jehovah’s Witnesses “believe,” since for them this would be a “sign of the end times,” before “the final battle of Armageddon.” The basic issue of it, is that even though they actively desire and promote the annihilation of Jews, they forget that what they affirm “is a sign, as long as Jews disappear.” If this does not happen, which in fact not only does not occur, but also is the opposite because the world Jewish population “increases every year.” Then it would be “not a sign of the end times,” nor consequently the “coming of any Christ in glory and majesty.”

54. Jacobsen: Do you support Jung? If so, how, and what parts? If not, why not? Any idea as to the recent repopularization of Jung?

Sorenson: Despite the fact that Jung tries to reach the depths of “unconscious,” through “archetypal images,” and the “collective unconscious,” it seems to me that his “theoretical proposal,” that at first sight may be striking, nevertheless is “weak and superficial,” since lacks of a “coherent and systematic conceptualization” and it is “adorned by plenty of superfluous and figurative images.” Besides in my opinion, has budgets that may be linked to the “Nazi ideology” and the “Aryan race.” Currently, apart of the “nationalist exacerbations” that are “in vogue,” it has regained strength within the “humanistic and transpersonal” currents of psychology, regarding especially to the “Palo Alto School” in California, and with what I consider as “weak thought” in relation to the “New Age” movement.

55. Jacobsen: Any thoughts on Freud? We have talked using some of the relevant terminology.

Sorenson: I think Freud made an important contribution grace to its “original conceptualization” of the “unconscious.” In my opinion, its two fundamental works regarding the main Freudian concepts are “Die Traumdeutung” and “Jenseits des Lustprinzips.” I consider, that perhaps it would be valuable nowadays, to “return to Freud,” to carry out a “re, re-reading,” worth the redundancy, of his work. However, at the same time I think that the “clinical results” of psychoanalysis,” must be “demystified,” since they have a “strong suggestibility” charge.

56. Jacobsen: You mentioned bending and not breaking. What is a cultural strength behind this for the Jewish peoples, apart from innate factors?

Sorenson: Because we are a “suffering people,” who seems to be “under a sign” since ever. Through wars, slaveries, exiles, exterminations and persecutions, has had to go through the “whimsical destinations of history,” stored already “in our retina” with Goliath and King David, and indeed at the same time symbolized in the “Magen” as a “protective shield.” At least one matter for sure, “comes out of our pores” for generations. The fact that “adversity” repeats cyclically for us “over and over again,” even if “actors change but the plot is identical,” and that “our survival” is inextricably linked to it, though we also “bear in mind,” that some “black and terrible” episodes of our history, whatever this implies, “will never happen again.”

57. Jacobsen: Is this standard deviation above the norm in g or in something factorizing into g, i.e., verbal intelligence?

Sorenson: It is in relation to “factor g,” in Wechsler’s Scale of Intelligence for adults, in which one standard deviation, is equivalent to 15 points on IQ.

58. Jacobsen: What can counter this theological excuse?

Sorenson: In my opinion, through “lay thought,” that combats any type of “intolerance and dogmatism,” derived from the “fanaticism” of “salvific religious doctrines.”

59. Jacobsen: What have been the “reins” of the most influential and strategic spheres?

Sorenson: Since the “Middle Age” until now, with finance, philosophy and science, from antiquity, especially in medicine, and among others with the sage of Maimonides. Until the contemporary time, being up to now eighty percent of the “Nobel Prizes,” and passing through art and literature, for arriving till today, with technology, economy, politics and communications. That is, all that encompasses the “intellectual world of ideas,” in other words “with everything.”

60. Jacobsen: Do you believe in a literal protection or more of a metaphorical protection, as the many mass killings of Jewish peoples would probably raise questions in some Jewish people’s minds, “Chosen for what”?

Sorenson: I feel that the “insistent” historical attempt to “exterminate” the Jewish people, precisely demonstrates, regardless of what it means, that are actually “chosen,” since up to now they have never been able to achieve this proposal. Therefore, from this point of view, it shows the opposite of what they may believe, and allows us to affirm that we are “indeed protected,” because is the people that has the “mission to survive.”

61. Jacobsen: Is theology even useful anymore, or is it more of an intellectual exercise (if not an exercise in futility)?

Sorenson: For me it is as “useless and entertaining,” as it can be “to play Loto,” since is similar to believe that “if I pay” to look for the winning number, “I may find it,” and if I succeed, then “I will be a winner” because “I will be able to enter paradise,” and therefore “I became a millionaire.”

62. Jacobsen: Christian theology has a nice story. However, its violent manifestations tell another narrative in the social world. Why the dichotomy? A story of redemption into a culture of violence and bigotry.

Sorenson: What occurs with Christian theology, is that “with one hand they give” while with “the other, they take away,” or “they hide a dagger to bury it at the right moment.” It is rather a “dualism,” since they occupy a “good and charitable face” to evangelize, but because they consider themselves a religion of “divine origin,” and therefore “sacred and unique,” in consequence they feel with the right to show “their bad face,” by “condemning and forcing with violence” to consciences, in case that someone dares to “reject the truth.”

63. Jacobsen: What is the conscious?

Sorenson: From my point of view, it is the “most superficial” part of the “psychic apparatus,” the seat of all emotions, whose principal function is to “relate with reality,” where the “sense of self” as “self-concept,” and personality as well, are formed in an “imaginary and speculate” way, and where all the processes of “formal reasoning” are developed.

64. Jacobsen: What is the unconscious?

Sorenson: I think it is the “deepest” and “darkest” part of “mind,” that is “structured” with “its own language,” that works “through a force” that is like a “vital energy,” and that strongly “determines” the “psychic world” of an individual.

65. Jacobsen: What relates the two points of contact?

Sorenson: Strictly speaking, I believe that actually “nothing connects” or “communicates” them, and that is one of the reasons why it is very difficult to access “someone’s psychological world,” and to understand “one’s own mind.”

66. Jacobsen: Is “weak thinking” simply a synonym for unprincipled thinking based on little evidence?

Sorenson: Not really, what I mean is that it is a proposal that lacks of a “reasonable background,” since when digging deeper you “don’t get to anything.” It’s like “an onion,” that if you peel it expecting to find “the skin,” not only is it not found, but also you end up “running out of onion.”

67. Jacobsen: Cognitive neuroscience is an interesting marriage between the precision of neuroscience and the operations orientation of cognitive science. How might these provide a firmer basis and tighter standard of evidence for psychoanalysis and understanding the unconscious and the conscious, and so Freud and Jung?

Sorenson: The first matter to understand, is that Freud and Jung have almost nothing in common, since the latter soon separated from the former and of psychoanalysis, to develop what afterwards became known as “Jungian psychology,” which took an orientation more closely related to “humanistic psychology of Gestalt,” and with “Bio-Energetic” proposals. Regarding the main question, it is necessary to understand that “psychoanalytic treatment” as such, has always been “very restricted,” not only due to the fact it lacks “scientific basis,” but because it is very little applicable, since it is extraordinarily expensive and prolonged, and also in reason that requires that patients need to have “high personality structures,” that is to say be more or less “mentally healthy.” This situation has derived in the development of “psychoanalytic-oriented therapies,” that are basically divided into those that are of “brief and longer duration.” These, unlike “psychoanalysis,” are accessible to all “types of patients” and “have scientific support” as solid as “cognitive therapies.” And what is more paradoxical, from the “technical” point of view and “their settings,” both models are quite similar. From this perspective, the point of “inflection,” is not between the “two psychological approaches,” but rather with “neurosciences,” since this last discipline advances at “dizzying steps” in its “psycho-pharmacological methods, and it is much more efficient in terms of “results and velocity of achievements” and at a “much lower cost” than any psychological therapy. This does not mean that “psychotherapy,” is not evolving, but comparatively it is falling further behind than “psycho-pharmacology.” Over time, I think that this “psycho- models” will end up “being obsoletes,” because analogically speaking, the correspondence that existed between the two in Freud’s time, or a couple of decades ago, is “diametrically opposed” to what exists today.

68. Jacobsen: Where does all this god talk leave atheists and agnostics politically and socially in societies?

Sorenson: I feel that “leaves them nowhere,” since for this “kind of talk,” there should be “no-space possible” for atheists nor agnostics,” due to the fact that both “represent evil or evilness,” and therefore must “be fought” through “evangelization” and “extirpated” from life. According to my point of view, the “worst atrocities of humanity,” have been committed in “name of god,” and for this reason, this last has historically “stained its hands with blood,” and used “religion” ultimately as its “persecuting executioner,” in order to “corner freedom” until “strangled,” in order “to uproot” the “deepest part” of dignity.

69. Jacobsen: In the world of Academia, who seem like the most intelligent academics alive now?

Sorenson: James Watson, but more than for its studies on the DNA, for his latest comments on “race and intelligence.”

70. Jacobsen: Of the dead academics, who seem like the most influential and politically consequential now?

Sorenson: Charles Darwin, for his search of “the missing link.”

71. Jacobsen: What is the language and vital energy of the unconscious?

Sorenson: Sex and the “language of lack.”

72. Jacobsen: What could break the barrier between the conscious and the unconscious?

Sorenson: In my opinion, “structurally speaking,” the barrier between both, is “not possible to be broken,” not even through the psychoanalytic treatment, since the “conscious,” is subjected to the “formal process of thought,” and therefore works through “univocal meanings,” while the “unconscious” is shaped based on a “symbolic chain” that “operates metaphorically” by the “absence of symbol,” and in consequence does so with the evocation of “equivocal significations.

73. Jacobsen: What marginally breaks the barrier between the conscious and the unconscious?

Sorenson: I think that it would be factible by a “form of pleasure experience,” understood as a “moment,” and therefore as a “sensation,” that at the same time may be lived as “presence and absence” of something

74. Jacobsen: If we integrate with digital computers, what will this do to the sense of self and identity to human beings?

Sorenson: I believe that it would be possible to “integrate” with digital computers, as long as they have “symbolization capacity,” which would imply that actually they are endowed of what I name as “artificial intelligence with high cognitive capacities.” If this were to occur, we “could relate” each other as equals, and in turn they could “intervene” and eventually “modify our minds.”

75. Jacobsen: What would be the next reasonable step in the advancement of psychopharmacology to help deal with various mental disorders and illnesses?

Sorenson: It seems to me, that in the short term it could be possible to advance in a greater “specialization of some drug families,” such as neuroleptics and antidepressants, in order to cover some “clinical syndromes” that are excessively wide. In turn, would be to work more on the line of “deposit drugs for prolonged release,” more based on what I would denominate as “intelligent self-dosage” regarding “active substances.”

76. Jacobsen: What aberrant psychological constellations of traits aren’t considered disorders, now, should be seen as disorders?

Sorenson: I think that the “diagnostic category” of “sexual paraphilias,” should “be deepened conceptually” speaking and “expanded” respectively regarding “pedophilia,” and “incestuous behaviors,” since until now these are “legitimated” in some cultures. The same should be done, with respect to “antisocial conducts,” in relation to those that “exercise violence and serious mistreatment against women,” such as physical mutilations, slavery, and traffic, which by the way like previous ones, are openly and normally practiced in certain regions.

77. Jacobsen: What mental illnesses, syndromes, and disorders are formally psychological issues or psychiatric diagnoses but will likely be removed as the science of the mind advances?

Sorenson: In my opinion those related to certain “types of addictive behaviors,” especially regarding “consumption of drugs,” and “sexual dysmorphic syndromes,” associated with “gender identity disorders.”

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Independent Philosopher.

[2] Individual Publication Date: June 1, 2020: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/sorenson-five; Full Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2020: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

*High range testing (HRT) should be taken with honest skepticism grounded in the limited empirical development of the field at present, even in spite of honest and sincere efforts. If a higher general intelligence score, then the greater the variability in, and margin of error in, the general intelligence scores because of the greater rarity in the population.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. An Interview with Christian Sorenson on Politics, Religion, and Psychology (Part Five) [Online].June 2020; 23(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/sorenson-five.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2020, June 1). An Interview with Christian Sorenson on Politics, Religion, and Psychology (Part Five)Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/sorenson-five.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. An Interview with Christian Sorenson on Politics, Religion, and Psychology (Part Five). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 23.A, June. 2020. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/sorenson-five>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2020. “An Interview with Christian Sorenson on Politics, Religion, and Psychology (Part Five).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 23.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/sorenson-five.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “An Interview with Christian Sorenson on Politics, Religion, and Psychology (Part Five).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 23.A (June 2020). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/sorenson-five.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2020, ‘An Interview with Christian Sorenson on Politics, Religion, and Psychology (Part Five)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 23.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/sorenson-five>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2020, ‘An Interview with Christian Sorenson on Politics, Religion, and Psychology (Part Five)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 23.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/sorenson-five.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “An Interview with Christian Sorenson on Politics, Religion, and Psychology (Part Five).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 23.A (2020):June. 2020. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/sorenson-five>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. An Interview with Christian Sorenson on Politics, Religion, and Psychology (Part Five) [Internet]. (2020, June 23(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/sorenson-five.

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© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 2012-2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  All interviewees co-copyright their interview material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

An Interview with John Collins on The Message, the Peoples Temple, Jim Jones, and William Marrion Branham’s Mental Health (Part Six)

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 23.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (Part Nineteen)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: June 1, 2020

Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2020

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 5,515

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract

John Collins is an author and the Founder of William Branham Historical Research. His new book is entitled Preacher Behind the White Hoods: A Critical Examination of William Branham and His Message. He discusses: the coinciding development of Jim Jones, The Message, and the formation of the Peoples Temple; Jim Jones; things that happened to some of the followers of Jim Jones; the mental health of Branham; psychotic episodes and mental illness of Branham; and the prophecy of the ‘final text’ revival and its interpretation, by some, as a possible resurrection.

Keywords: Joel’s Army, John Collins, Latter Rain, Manifest Son of God, Manifest Sons of God, Manifested Sons of God, mental health, NAR, preacher, New Apostolic Reformation, The Message, visions, white hoods, William Branham Historical Research, William Marrion Branham.

An Interview with John Collins on The Message, the Peoples Temple, Jim Jones, and William Marrion Branham’s Mental Health (Part Six)[A],[B]

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

1. Scott Douglas Jacobsen: Jim Jones joined The Message around the time of the formation of the Peoples Temple. Why is this non-coincidental?

John Collins: This is a subject that can be very difficult to explain, depending upon the audience.  There are those who are familiar with William Branham and his faith healing ministry who are unaware of the “Message” religious cult following that grew with him through various stages of his ministry.  Some of those stages used different stage personas.[1]  There are those who have escaped (or are still a member of) Branham’s cult following who are not aware that their specific version of the cult had previous or later attempts, with different stage personas and (to some extent) different sets of beliefs.  Unfortunately, leaders in the “Message” religious cult that exists today are the ones largely responsible for creating the “historical William Branham”, and the version that has been created bears very little resemblance to the version that documented history records.  These “histories” certainly do not mention the differences between stage personas.

I do my best to explain this in my book, Preacher Behind the White Hoods: A Critical Examination of William Branham and His Message.  To fully understand the relationship between Jim Jones, Peoples Temple, William Branham, and the “Message”, one must also understand the histories of each of these entities as well as how and why they intersect.  One must also understand how and why some of those histories have changed, why they were re-written, and the strategy behind the alteration.

William Branham did not simply have one “Message”, whether referring to the group of people or his collection of doctrine.  Most of the history that exists today has been written based upon his claim to have been given the “gift of healing” by an “angel” in May of 1947.[2]  Later versions of his stage persona made this claim, erroneously connecting that date to the formation of the Nation of Israel, which occurred May 14, 1948. [3]  Those familiar with that version of the stage persona are unaware that documentation exists[4] for much earlier “healing revivals”, having different stage personas, supernatural stories, and doctrine.  It should come as no surprise, since the first few seconds of Branham’s earliest audio recording still available for sale starts with the words, “We’re getting some new gadgets for recording”[5], and that his April, 1947 sermon pre-dates his claim to have received the “gift” in May of 1947.

In 1947, William Branham’s healing revivals in Canada became a catalyst for a movement that would later become known as “Latter Rain” and would nearly split modern Pentecostalism in half.  It was during this time that Branham began publishing his “The Voice of Healing” newsletter promoting himself and other “divine healers”, calling for unity among all of the revivalists.  What resulted is a movement that became known as the Latter Rain Revival, Voice of Healing Revival, or simply “Healing Revival”.[6]  Those who leaned towards the Latter Rain movement and its doctrine included William Branham[7] and many of his associates, promoters, campaign team and business partners.  Ministers and evangelists in that camp referred to their specific style of sermon as the “Latter Rain Message”,[8] and eventually the “Message”[9]

Not everyone approved of the Latter Rain movement, however, due to its extreme doctrinal teachings and practices.  When the Assemblies of God sect of Pentecostalism severed ties with many of its own churches[10] and officially declared the movement as Scripturally unsound, those involved with Latter Rain were forced to choose sides.  Men and women who worked closely with William Branham, such as A. W. Rasmussen and Joseph Mattsson-Boze, sided with Latter Rain.  Those opposing this movement viewed those men and women as heretical.  So much so that some churches forced the removal of their pastors over the Latter Rain division, and Rev. Jim Jones was one of those impacted.

After Jones lost his chance at becoming head pastor of the Laurel Street Church in Indianapolis and shortly before Peoples Temple was formed, Joseph Mattson-Boze offered Jim Jones an ordination certificate into the Independent Assemblies of God.  This was one of the “Latter Rain” sects that promoted William Branham, and plans were made for Branham himself to launch Jones’ career as a “faith healer” at the Cadle Tabernacle in Indianapolis in June of 1956.  Though their union would only last for a little over one year and two major events, one in 1956[11] and one in 1957,[12] Jones would continue to defend the “Message”[13] and preach[14] William Branhams[15] “Manifest Sons of God” doctrine well into the 1970s.  This doctrine was the notion that the Son of God would be made manifest physically in the form of a “prophet”, which Branham alleged to be.  It should come as no shock that Jones referred to himself as The Spoken Word[16]after Branham’s death in 1965.

Understanding the timeline of the intersection of these men is critical to understanding the impact it would have on Jim Jones and Peoples Temple.  Starting in 1953, William Branham began attempting to distance himself from the Latter Rain movement[17] while still holding to key elements of the Manifest Sons of God theology it produced.  Specifically, Branham focused upon his own deity claims based upon this theology.  The notion of a “prophet god”[18] was a key element to Branham’s version of this theology, and Branham claimed that he was “God’s Voice” to the people.[19]  Those familiar with Jim Jones and his version of the Manifest Sons of God theology will find it eerily similar, but unfortunately it wasn’t until recently that Branham’s association to the Manifest Sons of God theology has gained national attention.[20]  Interestingly, sermons with the title “Manifested Sons of God” were renamed, apparently to conceal all traces of Branham’s connection to Jim Jones.[21]

2. Jacobsen: Who was Jim Jones?

Collins: When the word “cult” is mentioned, images of Jim Jones and Jonestown immediately begin to surface.  Phrases like, “Don’t drink the Kool-Aid” have become commonplace due to his legacy; almost a thousand people were convinced to willingly commit mass suicide at Jones’ command by drinking cyanide-laced Kool-Aid in November 1978.  It was one of the greatest tragedies in the modern world.

Jim Jones was a Pentecostal minister from Indiana who rose to limited fame in the Post WWII Healing Revival.  With the help of William Branham and Joseph Mattsson-Boze, Jones’ “Brotherhood Healing” campaigns[22] gained him quick recognition in the revival circuits.  Locally in Indianapolis, Jones was recognized for his work supporting impoverished African Americans and advocating for Civil Rights.  Ironically, this conflicted with William Branham’s position and his close ties to white supremacy groups such as the Ku Klux Klan.  Whether because of this or some other reason, Jones migrated Peoples Temple to Redwood Valley, California.

Like William Branham, Jones referred to himself as God’s Voice to the People, referring to his own sermons as the “Spoken Word” [23] or “Living Word”.  William Branham had claimed shortly before his death in 1965 that God would return to earth in the form of a human “prophet”,[24]  and Jones claimed that he, himself was the “Manifested Son of God”[25] from William Branham’s theology.  Also like Branham’s authority over his cult following, this theology gave Jones the ultimate authority over his own cult following.

3. Jacobsen: What happened to some of the followers of Jones?

Collins: In July 1977, the Peoples Temple cult staged a mass exodus from California to Guyana.  This was the same year[26] as one of William Branham’s doomsday predictions,[27] and the prediction that is most remembered.[28]  Peoples Temple members followed Jones, their “prophet leader” to the South American jungle seeking utopia.  On November 18, 1978, over nine hundred people took their own lives in murder/suicide, the vast majority of them by willingly drinking cyanide-laced poison.

4. Jacobsen: Is the claim, by Branham, that he was mentally unstable relevant here? 

Collins: Without a patient to examine, it is difficult to accurately diagnose mental health.  Much speculation has been presented in the case of Jim Jones, however, some of which would seem relevant.  According to Professor Gary Maynard, Jones appeared to suffer from acute Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) during the last stages of his life, and likely suffered from at least eight – if not nine – characteristics of NPD throughout his life.[29]  This disorder would have produced such violent and paranoid delusions and tendencies that when combined with Branham’s dangerous theology, could have been the underlying cause for the Jonestown Massacre.  Had Jones been properly treated with strong medication and intensive therapy, the disaster could likely have been prevented.

William Branham, on the other hand, has not had the same level interest or speculation by mental health experts.  Since Branham died before a similar tragedy within his own cult following occurred, there haven’t been many – if any – studies performed as to his mental stability.  There has, however, been some speculation among former members of his cult following due to the fact that William Branham himself frequently admitted to suffering from mental health issues.  Not to mention the similarities between Branham’s and Jones’ grandiose delusions and deity claims.

According to Branham, he suffered from mental health issues since childhood, and mental health continued to decline with a major event approximately every seven years.

I’ve been a neurotic all my life. As a little boy there was something struck me, that scare me, about every seven years it would happen to me. Brother Jack remembers when I first started, come off the field for a year; something just happened.

Branham, William. 1965, Nov 28. On The Wings Of A Snow White Dove

That being said, we do not have the exact diagnosis or even a patient to examine.  We cannot fully trust that his own description covers the full extent of his suffering, or if those descriptions themselves were the result of an altered state of mind.  It is clear by the examination of his sermon transcripts that delusions of grandeur became progressively worse during the latter part of his life, which would appear to match the decline in mental health for Jim Jones.  Towards the end of his ministry, Branham began to insinuate that he was the return of the prophet “Elijah” from the Old Testament, as did Jones.[30]  Branham also alleged that this “Elijah” (himself) was the “Lord Jesus Christ”.[31]

It is difficult to predict what might have happened had William Branham not died in 1965, but if prominent leaders in his religious cult and campaign team are any example, the path to destruction may not have been so different from Jones.  Branham’s proto commune called “The Park” in Prescott, Arizona, which operated under the rule of Leo Mercer, made national news after it was alleged that physical and sexual abuse resulted in a cult member’s killing spree.

Leo Mercer, a self-proclaimed minister, ran the park.  After Brother Branham’s death in 1965, Mercer gradually became more authoritative, employing various forms of punishment.  He would ostracize people from the community and separate families.  Children were beaten for minor infractions like talking during a march or not tying their shoes. Mercer would punish girls by cutting their hair, and force boys to wear girls’ clothing.  There was also evidence that Mercer sexually abused children.[32]

Similar to the final days leading up to the Jonestown Massacre at the Jonestown compound,[33] the “Message” compound in Prescott, Arizona became militant.  Children were marched around the compound military-style and trained to believe that those outside the commune would be destroyed while those inside suffering abuse would be “saved.”

Education was not valued in the church, and many children dropped out of school.  Boys were expected to marry and have children at age 18.  Children were taught they would either go to heaven or burn forever.  People outside the church were considered “atomic fodder” who would die, while believers would be saved.[34]

5. Jacobsen: What does the description of squirrels running through his stomach – so to speak – in psychotic episodes state about William Marrion Branham? Is mental instability or mental illness – though something to be empathic about – a serious problem, especially in religious leaders of prominence and influence?

Collins: Throughout his ministry, William Branham gave very few descriptions of his battle with mental health.  Other than stating that an episode occurred approximately every seven years, one might assume that he simply struggled with mild depression or anxiety.  Shortly before his death, however, he described one of his “neurotic” episodes in full.[35]

And I remember when I finally thought I had enough money to go to Mayos’ for an examination; they said, “They’ll find what your trouble is.” Wife and I, and Becky back there…Sarah was a little, bitty fellow. I just entered my healing ministry. And we took off to Mayos’.

I went through the clinic. And the night before I’d find…had my finals the next morning, I just woke up and was setting there on the bed looking around. And I looked out in front of me, and there was a little boy, looked just like me, about seven years old; and looked at it, and it was me. And he was standing by an old snag tree. And on that tree…

Any of you squirrel hunters know you can rub a stick up and down on a tree like that, and it’ll scare a squirrel and run him out if he’s in the hollow.  And I was seeing there where that squirrel had been, and I thought, “What kind of squirrel is that?” and I rubbed it. And when I did, I looked over and it was me then about thirty-eight years old, the little boy was gone. So I rubbed that limb, and out of the hollow log, pole, come a little squirrel about that long, dark, almost black, and looked like little currents flying from him; little bitty beady eyes, the wickedest looking thing that I ever seen, looked like a weasel more than a squirrel.

And he looked right at me. And I opened my mouth to say, “Well…” And when I did, he…Before you could’ve batted your eye, he flew right into my mouth, went down into my stomach, and just tearing me to pieces. And as I come out of the vision, with my hands up, looking, I went screaming, “O God, have mercy! It’s killing me!”[36]

This is a serious condition worth considering, especially with regards to the leader of a religious movement.  Cult leaders claiming “prophecy” and “visions” often associate their experience with the supernatural, but very few have admitted having been in the hospital for a “neurotic episode” at the time their “vision” occurred.  It is surprising that Branham’s description of this episode have not been erased from the recordings and transcripts, but even more surprising that so few of Branham’s followers are aware that he even entered hospitals seeking treatment for mental health.

The fact that we are even discussing the question as to whether or not religious leaders of prominence and influence displaying symptoms of mental health instability is concerning is a clear representation of the nature of the problem.  There are those who find the “supernatural” appealing, so much so that they suppress their own critical analysis of the person or persons claiming supernatural powers.  When critical analysis is avoided, the door to disaster is opened.  It should come as no surprise that most of our examples for religious cult leaders are those who left mainstream religion for “independent” or “non-denominational” groups having no accountability.

6. Jacobsen: How might this relate to various claims to prophecies including the ‘prophecy’ about the final tent revival? How did several ministers interpret this, in terms of a resurrection?

Collins: I find William Branham’s “tent prophecy” to be fascinating, no matter which path of study is taken.  For everyone in Branham’s “Message” cult following, it is a “prophecy” that is clearly left unfulfilled, resulting in cognitive dissonance.  Yet each of the many sects and sub-cults within the “Message” have addressed the internal conflict in a variety of different ways.

My grandfather taught his church that the final tent revival William Branham described was a “prophecy”.  William Branham claimed that his “tent prophecy” was the result of a vision,[37] and that it was not his voice making this proclamation – it was “THUS SAITH THE LORD”.[38] After William Branham’s death in 1965, however, this presented a huge problem.  Either William Branham was a false prophet,[39] or he must resurrect to fulfill the “prophecy”.  As a result, grandpa began claiming that William Branham would rise from the dead.[40]  When Branham’s funeral was held at the Branham Tabernacle, this notion continued to spread.[41]  Over the years, this “resurrection” became a theme for Easter meetings held at Branham’s church in Jeffersonville.  Pearry Green, pastor of Branham’s satellite church in Tucson, Arizona, added fuel to the fire by making the same claim.[42]

Though I vividly remember my grandfather, aunts, and uncles discussing the “resurrection” at family events, Grandpa’s public version of his beliefs did not match his private.  Over time, Grandpa denied such a belief to non-members of the cult – especially news reporters[43] – while privately continuing to claim that Branham would resurrect for one final tent revival.  Whether because of this or not, other sects within the “Message” cult did not believe in a physical resurrection.  Both myself and former members of other “Message” sects also heard pastors who claimed that the “tent prophecy” was a “spiritual tent”, while others claimed that the “vision” was merely speculation instead of “prophecy”.

Taking a step back from all of this, it’s difficult to imagine that so many people have held onto this belief of a “tent prophecy” and/or a “resurrection” for so many decades.  Back when William Branham made the claim, and revivalists were gathering large crowds to attend “tent revivals”, this might have seemed probable.  In today’s world, with so many convention centers, sports arenas, and other buildings available to rent, it is highly improbable that a “tent” would be the preferred place of gathering.  Even towards the end of his life, the enthusiasm over the notion of a “tent revival” was dwindling – most people prefer the controlled climate of a properly-ventilated building with a good heating and air system.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[A]  Author; Founder, William Branham Historical Research.

[B] Individual Publication Date: June 1, 2020: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/collins-six; Full Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2020: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

[1] Example: Stage persona used after 1947 claimed that the “gift of healing” was given by an “angel” in May 1947.  Stage persona used in 1945 (as described in “I Was Not Disobedient to the Heavenly Vision” tract) described healing after receiving a vision of “white robed” people.

[2] Branham, William.  1954, Jul 18.  The Great Coming Revival and the Outpouring of the Holy Spirit.  “And a strange thing of that, that you might not know, the very day the Angel of the Lord called me out, May the 6th, 1947, and issued the gift to pray for the sick, was the very same day that Israel become a nation for the first time for twenty-five hundred years. Oh, I believe there’s something in it. I just can’t keep from believing that we’re near the end of time. That’s right.

[3] The State of Israel Is Born. 1948, May 14. The Palestine Post.

[4] Branham, William.  1945.  I Was Not Disobedient to the Heavenly Vision.  “It was in the month of March, 1945, one morning about 3:00 A.M”

[5] Branham, William.  1947, Apr 12.  Faith Is The Substance Rev. William Marrion Branham http://table.branham.org

[6] Crowder, John.  2006.  Miracle Workers, Reformers, and the New Mystics.  “Known simply as the healing revival, Voice of Healing Revival, or Latter Rain Revival”

[7] -The Sharon Orphanage Connection Accessed 2019, May 1 from

http://abc-history.blogspot.com/2008/02/before-i-was-born-my-father-ramon-haas.html  “One of Branham’s teachings was the ability to use the “Spirit of God” to make things move on their own accord. My dad related to me he had tried this, just once, and said that things in the room moved on their own but the air had become cold, dark and heavy. It scared him and he never tried it again. After this he rejected this teaching by Branham but he maintained many other principles taught by Branham and the Latter Rain Movement and incorporated many of the Branham / Latter Rain Movement principles into the fabric of his teachings to the Assembly of the Body of Christ. In this way he carried forward some of these Branham doctrines.”

[8] Latter Rain Message at the Latter Rain Chapel.  1952, Feb 23.  Tampa Bay Times.

[9] Example: Hear the Message of the End Time.  1951, Feb 3.  Arizona Republic.

[10] 1949, Sept 9-14.  Minutes and Constitution with Bylaws: Assemblies of God, the Twenty-third General Council.  “That we disapprove of those extreme teachings and practices, which, being unfounded Scripturally, serve only to break fellowship of like precious faith and tend to confusion and division among the members of the Body of Christ, and be it hereby known that this 23rd General Council disapproves of the so-Called “New Order of the Latter Rain”

[11] 1956, Jun 9.  Peoples Temple Will Be Host to the Great William Branham Brotherhood-Healing Crusade

[12] Peoples Temple.  1957, Jun 1.  Indianapolis Star.

[13] Handwritten Notes of Jim Jones.  Accessed 2020, May 18 from https://jonestown.sdsu.edu/?page_id=13782.  “I know there are things about the Message that you may not see but it is God.”

[14] Jim Jones and he Malachi 4 Elijah Prophecy.  Accessed 2020, May 26 from https://jonestown.sdsu.edu/?page_id=70743

[15] Example: Branham, 65-1127B – Trying To Do God A Service Without It Being God’s Will.  “And Elijah was not…That wasn’t Elijah; That was the Spirit of God on Elijah; Elijah was just a man. Now, we’ve had Elijahs, and Elijahs’ coats, and Elijahs’ mantles, and Elijahs’ everything. But the Elijah of this day is the Lord Jesus Christ. He is to come according to Matthew the seventeen-…Luke 17:30, is, the Son of man is to reveal Himself among His people. Not a man, God! But it’ll come through a Prophet.”

[16] Jones, James.  1974.  Accessed 2020, May 28 from https://jonestown.sdsu.edu/?page_id=28198  “That’s what I am. The Word. The Spoken Word. The Living Word.”

[17] Branham, William.  1953, Jun 14.  I Perceive That Thou Art a Prophet.  “And if you’ll excuse it, and please don’t think I say wrong here, that’s where in the little break-up that come amongst the Pentecostal people recently, called Latter Rain, that’s where they got off the line, right there. For a when a gift of prophecy come to a man, they declared him to be a prophet. Now, that’s wrong. There’s quite a difference between a gift of prophecy and prophet.”

[18] Branham, William. 1965, November 28. God’s Only Provided Place Of Worship.  “No leaven among you, that brings the entire fulness of the godhead bodily among you. Couldn’t do it in Luther’s age, couldn’t do it in Wesley’s age, couldn’t do it in Pentecostal age; but in the day when the Son of man will be manifested, revealed, brought back the Church together with the entire Deity of God amongst His people, showing the same visible signs, manifesting Himself like He did at the beginning when He was manifested on earth in a form of a Prophet-God. Oh! Glory! Promised by Malachi 4, promised by the rest of the Scriptures. Where you worship at? The house of God, seated (in present tense).”

[19] Branham, William.  1951, May 5.  My Commission.  “I am God’s Voice to you. See? I say that again. That time was under inspiration.”

[20] Southern Poverty Law Center, Klanwatch Project, Militia Task Force. 2008. Intelligence Report: A Project of the Southern Poverty Law.  Accessed 2020, May 28 from https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/intelligence-report/2008/todd-bentley%E2%80%99s-militant-joel%E2%80%99s-army-gains-followers-florida.  “Through Cain came all the smart, educated people down to the antediluvian flood — the intellectuals, bible colleges,” Branham wrote in the kind of anti- mainstream religion, anti-intellectual spirit that pervades the Joel’s Army movement ”

[21] Manifested Sons of God.  Accessed 2020, May 28 from https://www.williambranham.com/manifested-sons-of-god-60-0518 “This Message by Brother William Marrion Branham called Manifested Sons Of God was delivered on Wednesday, 18th May 1960 at the Branham Tabernacle in Jeffersonville, Indiana, U.S.A. The tape, number 60-0518, is 2 hours and 5 minutes, and consists of 2 cassettes. This message is available in book format (Adoption).”

[22] 1956, Jun 9.  Peoples Temple Will Be Host to the Great William Branham Brotherhood-Healing Crusade

[23] Jones, Jim. 1972.  Accessed 2020, May 26 from https://jonestown.sdsu.edu/?page_id=27429.  “We’re not in a praying house here, we’re in a speaking house. The Spoken Word is here. The Word is made flesh. We don’t pray and beg anymore, we don’t grovel around on our knees anymore, we can talk to God face-to-face, and we can hear God with our own ears, and with our own understanding.”

[24] Branham, 65-1127B – Trying To Do God A Service Without It Being God’s Will.  “Son of man is to reveal Himself among His people. Not a man, God! But it’ll come through a Prophet.”

[25] Jones, Jim. 1972. Accessed 2020, May 26 from https://jonestown.sdsu.edu/?page_id=85676.  “That’s my desire. I did not come this far by faith, to just end this race as being one manifested son.”

[26] Branham, William.  An Exposition Of The Seven Church Age.  “I still maintain this prediction after thirty years because, Jesus did NOT say no man could know the year, month or week in which His coming was to be completed. So I repeat, I sincerely believe and maintain as a private student of the Word, along with Divine inspiration that 1977 ought to terminate the world systems and usher in the millennium.”

[27] Doomsday Predictions.  Accessed 2020, May 30 from https://william-branham.org/site/topics/doomsday_predictions.  “Years Branham either predicted for the “day of destruction” or claimed to have been “spiritually significant” in the setup for destruction: 1948 (1948 issues of Voice of Healing, William Branham listed as “Publisher”) 1954 (54-0513 #33) 1956 (56-0212 #12) 1962 (62-0518 #112) 1975 (64-0705 #76) 1977 (61-0806 #196) 1983 (63-1229M #219) 1999 (63-1124E #320) 2000 (63-1229M #219)”

[28] Example: Bruce, Alexandra.  2009.  2012: Science or Superstition.  “William M. Branham predicted that the rapture would take place in 1977”

[29] Maynard, Gary.  Jim Jones and Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  Accessed 2020, May 27 from https://jonestown.sdsu.edu/?page_id=29416 “From this brief analysis of Jones’ behavior using the DSM IV-TR diagnostic criteria, it is apparent that he suffered from at least eight – if not all nine – of the characteristics at some point during his life. The question then becomes not whether he was a narcissist, but how severe was his narcissism? By the time he died, it is clear that he was suffering from an acute case of narcissistic personality disorder with violent and paranoid delusions and tendencies. Most psychiatrists would have put him on strong medication combined with intensive therapy. “

[30] Q1023 Transcript.  Accessed 2017, May 30 from http://jonestown.sdsu.edu/?page_id=27309

[31] Branham, William. 1965, Nov 27. Trying To Do God A Service Without It Being God’s Will .  “Son of man is to reveal Himself among His people. Not a man, God! But it’ll come through a Prophet.”

[32] People v. Keith Thomas Loker.  Supreme Court of California Super. Ct. No. SCR-582212

[33] Gardner, Phyllis Ph.D, Williams John Ph.D, Sadri, Mahmoud Ph.D.  Peoples Temple: From Social Movement To Total Institution.  Accessed 2020, May 28 from https://jonestown.sdsu.edu/?page_id=33160.  “For a variety of reasons which will be explored later, Peoples Temple evolved into a militant total institution, complete with weapons, talk of revenge against enemies and threats of revolutionary suicide”

[34] People v. Keith Thomas Loker.  Supreme Court of California Super. Ct. No. SCR-582212

[35] Branham, William.  1965, Nov 28.  On The Wings Of A Snow-White Dove.  “I’ve been a neurotic all my life. As a little boy there was something struck me, that scare me, about every seven years it would happen to me. Brother Jack remembers when I first started, come off the field for a year; something just happened.”

[36] Branham, William.  1965, Nov 28.  On The Wings Of A Snow-White Dove

[37] Branham, William.  1958, Oct 1.  Lifting Him Up Out of History.  “And then some time ago I was in a vision, and I saw a large tent. Oh, it was a mammoth, big affair.”

[38] Branham, William.  1956, Apr 3.  Look.  “One of these days I want to pitch that tent the Lord’s going to give me, right outside of this side of Chicago… those things are not mythical. In contact with the Holy Spirit…when I come under His anointing, and He takes me away and shows me things, I just got perfect confidence that it’s just exactly right, ’cause it’s never failed. And He will never say one thing outside what’s written in this Bible. That’s right. You watch it. Through the years, He’s never said one thing at any time, unless it was absolutely Scripturally based on the Bible, THUS SAITH THE LORD.”

[39] Branham, William.  1953, Nov 6.  Do You Now Believe.  “You can go to my hometown and find it one time, in all the times that It’s ever told anything, that didn’t come to pass just exactly the way It said. Now, you pin a sign on my back as a false prophet, and I’ll walk through your streets.”

[40] Evangelist William Branham.  1966, Apr 14.  The Kane Republication.  “Some remained at Jeffersonville still apparently convinced that the man they called ‘Brother Billy’ and ‘prophet-messenger’ would arise from death … the Rev. Willard Collins, associate pastor at the Branham Tabernacle there, said he was among the believers in the evangelist’s resurrection because Branham ‘had a halo over his head when he was born in a log cabin in Burksville, Ky.’”

[41] Evangelist William Branham.  1966, Apr 14.  “There were similar rumors that ‘Brother Billy’ would rise from the dead when funeral services were conducted at his Branham Tabernacle at Jeffersonville on Dec. 29.”

[42] Dead Prophet Lures Thousands.  1982, Apr 12. The Courier Journal.  “Some of his followers began saying that the services were being delayed because their prophet would rise from the dead Easter day.  The talk swelled when 700 people came to town for Branham’s burial April 11; while in town for the services, the Rev. Pearry Green, pastor of a Tucson, Ariz., tabernacle that was a member of the Braham sect, talked openly of the resurrection belief.

[43] Dead Prophet Lures Thousands.  1982, Apr 12. The Courier Journal.  “All along, local leaders of the Branham sect repeatedly said they didn’t believe any of that, and today Collins says, “It’s just not true at all, regardless of what you have heard.”

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. An Interview with John Collins on The Message, the Peoples Temple, Jim Jones, and William Marrion Branham’s Mental Health (Part Six) [Online].June 2020; 23(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/collins-six.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2020, June 1). An Interview with John Collins on The Message, the Peoples Temple, Jim Jones, and William Marrion Branham’s Mental Health (Part Six)Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/collins-six.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. An Interview with John Collins on The Message, the Peoples Temple, Jim Jones, and William Marrion Branham’s Mental Health (Part Six). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 23.A, June. 2020. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/collins-six>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2020. “An Interview with John Collins on The Message, the Peoples Temple, Jim Jones, and William Marrion Branham’s Mental Health (Part Six).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 23.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/collins-six.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “An Interview with John Collins on The Message, the Peoples Temple, Jim Jones, and William Marrion Branham’s Mental Health (Part Six).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 23.A (June 2020). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/collins-six.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2020, ‘An Interview with John Collins on The Message, the Peoples Temple, Jim Jones, and William Marrion Branham’s Mental Health (Part Six)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 23.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/collins-six>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2020, ‘An Interview with John Collins on The Message, the Peoples Temple, Jim Jones, and William Marrion Branham’s Mental Health (Part Six)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 23.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/collins-six.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “An Interview with John Collins on The Message, the Peoples Temple, Jim Jones, and William Marrion Branham’s Mental Health (Part Six).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 23.A (2020):June. 2020. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/collins-six>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. An Interview with John Collins on The Message, the Peoples Temple, Jim Jones, and William Marrion Branham’s Mental Health (Part Six) [Internet]. (2020, June 23(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/collins-six.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 2012-2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  All interviewees co-copyright their interview material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

An Interview with Anthony Sepulveda on Background and Intelligence (Part One)

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 23.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (Part Nineteen)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: June 1, 2020

Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2020

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 3,116

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract

Anthony Sepulveda scored 174 (S.D.15) on Cosmic and is a member of the World Genius Directory. He discusses: family background; family life; experience with peers in elementary and high school; early gifts; nurtured by guardians/parents, teachers, friends, or community; post-secondary education; memorable or pivotal moments in early life; meaning in life; memories of Christianity in the Pacific Northwest; etymology of the name Sepulveda, or Brown; mother in the daycare and father in the military; consistent uprooting and displacement; mathematical talent indications; college “an almost completely ridiculous institution nowadays”; intellectual interests; men taking upon themselves the defensive posture; Christianity in particular; religion or faith; believe in a god or gods; nature of problems; universally fair IQ test; reframing in a survivor and positive manner; step-father; and other aspects of the university system.

Keywords: Anthony Sepulveda, Background, Christian, Christianity, gifts, intelligence, Pacific Northwest.

An Interview with Anthony Sepulveda on Background and Intelligence (Part One)[1],[2]

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

1. Scott Douglas Jacobsen: As always, some background with some family and personal contexts can be helpful for the audience expected now, or others unexpected into the future. What is some family background, e.g., geography, culture, language, and religion or lack thereof?

Anthony Sepulveda: A little over three decades ago, I was born in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. My parents met in college and were practicing Christians. I haven’t spoken with them much about how things were for them during that time, so any picture I could paint for you would have such broad strokes that would likely result in a false impression.

2. Jacobsen: If you reflect on some aspects of family life, family dynamics and upbringing, were the memories warm or cold in general? 

Sepulveda: Both of my parents were bread winners. My father joined the military shortly after my birth and my mother started her own independent daycare for toddlers and newborns that she ran from the various homes we lived in. We moved from place to place quite often during my developing years, usually staying for a few years (three, on average) before we’d pack up and relocate. At the time, it was explained to me that this was caused by my father’s military career. So, the only consistency for me was the family dynamic and the organized chaos of having a half dozen toddlers to help manage.
Like any other lifestyle, this one had it’s pros and cons. While it was more or less warm, I believe that the general inconsistency of my upbringing stymied my social skills during a crucial period. As a result, I haven’t had many personal lasting relationships and I often approach them without any expectation of permanence. It wasn’t until just recently that I started thinking about social intelligence as a something you can actually study and develop. But I’m already feeling optimistic about that even subjective social problems have objective logical solutions.

3. Jacobsen: How was the experience with peers in elementary and high school for you? Was social life active for you? Or did you live a more isolated existence with books and hobbies? Looking at the upbringing in the home, what was the form of parenting? 

Sepulveda: As mentioned above, my social skills didn’t develop at the normal pace. Which resulted in me living a fairly isolated existence and caused me to find solace in books.

4. Jacobsen: When were early gifts discovered for you?

Sepulveda: Beyond a variety of subjective experiences, the only noteworthy event I can recall was during a math class in my early teens. Without warning, we were given a series of calculus problems dealing with simple projectile motion. Long story short, I was the only one to get all the questions right but nothing came of it.

5. Jacobsen: Were these nurtured by guardians/parents, teachers, friends, or community? If so, what were the benefits? If not, why not?

Sepulveda: I was left to my own devices, for the most part. Now that I’m an adult myself, I imagine that my parents were struggling enough just to keep the ship afloat and felt some relief knowing that I was relatively stable in my own little world.

6. Jacobsen: Did you pursue post-secondary education? If so, what were some of the more enjoyable parts of the experience for you? If not, why not?

Sepulveda: I did, but it didn’t last long and I probably won’t be pursuing it further. College is an almost completely ridiculous institution nowadays. And even if I were to successfully slog my way through it and earn a degree, there’s a very high probability that I still won’t make it into the field I was aiming for. Such is the case for about 70% of students worldwide and I can’t reasonably expect any other result for myself given my age and interests. So I’ve elected to carry on educating myself and doing what I can to benefit and entertain myself and anyone else interested in my work.

7. Jacobsen: What are memorable or pivotal moments in early life for you – the good and the bad?

Sepulveda: Two important experiences come to mind – Firstly, at one point during a vacation my father decided that he, I and a couple of others should explore Wind Cave in Bend, Oregon. It’s about 4 kilometres long and littered with large stones that have fallen from its roof a short way in. These stones remain where they fall, forming an unstable mess that completely covers the ground and often forms large walls of debris that you have to climb up and down to continue forward. I was a fat teen during this visit and barely managed to keep pace until we reached the end. This must have tested everyone else’s patience because they left me to fend for myself on the way back. I spent several exhaustive hours working my way through the most complete blackness I’d ever experienced, often losing my sense of direction due to the chaotic nature of my surroundings and my inability to see more than about a meter ahead of me as I only had a small, dull hand light with which to navigate. Eventually, I made it out. But since then I can’t bear to rely on others for anything important. Whatever goes wrong, I’ll do everything in my power to solve it on my own. It’s only after I’ve exhausted all my effort that I’ll ask for help. And even then, I’ll feel guilty about it.
Secondly, when I was in my late teens there was a night during which I simply couldn’t sleep. This wasn’t an uncommon event as I’ve lived with insomnia for most of my life. But on this particular night closed the book I’d usually spend nights reading and placed upon it a sheet of paper. Having never drawn anything before, I simply starred at the blank surface in the dim light of my room. After a while, lines seemed to reveal themselves just beyond the page. And I spent the next few hours tracing them, shading here and there until my first abstract drawing was complete. It wasn’t very good or aesthetically pleasing, but it was my first tentative step towards a place of experimental expression where I’ve developed a long-lasting love of art and potentially the most singularly unique experience of my life.

8. Jacobsen: What gives you meaning in life?

Sepulveda: I don’t know if there is any objective meaning to be gleaned from the evidence life provides. But I do believe that our purpose can be deduced by examining our physiology and, most tellingly, our biopsychology. From these, I’ve concluded that our intention is simply to survive, procreate, explore, have fun and be happy. Beyond that, I don’t know. All other evidence seems too ambiguous to work with.

9. Jacobsen: What are the memories of Christianity in the Pacific Northwest for you?

Sepulveda: My parents had faith in common and wanted to share it with their children. But it wasn’t and still isn’t the belief system for me. I stopped attending regular services during my early adolescence and only look back into the subject during the occasional debate.

10. Jacobsen: What is the etymology of the name Sepulveda, or Brown, depending on personal preference?

Sepulveda: Ah, you’re aware of that recent change. I made that decision to celebrate the ten year anniversary of my mother and step father.

11. Jacobsen: With your mother in the daycare and father in the military, this is quintessentially aligned with the aspects of the roles set forth for men and women in the United States, whether the Pacific Northwest or the Midwest.

Sepulveda: I suppose my parents fit their respective stereotypes well, yes.

12. Jacobsen: Did the consistent uprooting and displacement due to father’s military career carry over into adult life for you? Someone who moves, has to be on the go, and simply someone who wishes to explore the world.

Sepulveda: A bit. I’ve relocated seven times since I started living on my own. But that was primarily caused by personal financial struggles,

13. Jacobsen: With some of the mathematical talent indications, since both came of it, have there been micro-builds on top of it? In that, this is something that may not have paid huge dividends for you, but became useful in those small crucial moments in life.

Sepulveda: It’s been useful for the discovery and appreciation of abstract patterns. But has little practical use in my day to day life.

14. Jacobsen: What makes college “an almost completely ridiculous institution nowadays”?

Sepulveda: Where else can you go to pay copious sums of money to do someone else’s job for them? Aside from the necessary lab classes, most college courses are taken online. During which a professor’s job is limited to judging the quality of work that cannot be graded via automated system (like essays) and occasionally offering advice while everything else has been streamlined into required reading and multiple choice question tests. And given the aforementioned 70% failure rate of students trying to move on to their desired careers, the whole thing seems to be a bad joke.
To put things into perspective, my first college course was a computer class that was taught by an environmental science major. Needless to say, I didn’t learn much.

15. Jacobsen: What are the intellectual interests now? What are some examples of productions by you?

Sepulveda: Most recently, I’ve been studying the nature of problems and the methodologies necessary to solve or resolve them. It’s been interesting to find so many common factors among seemingly disparate subjects.
Previous projects include the development of a universally fair IQ test and a number of original abstract art pieces, photos and puzzles.

16. Jacobsen: Many men take upon themselves the defensive posture with not a single traumatic incident of being left alone to fend for themselves in a seemingly desperate circumstance; they do this in a context of repeated small slights and damages to the ego, their pride, in which this becomes an armoured personality. It comes internally and externally. It creates a lot of issues around the world and manifests in destructive patterns for oneself and for others. I am so sorry you had to go through that experience. Is this something that you would want to change?

Sepulveda: It’s okay. Many people often lose perspective after trauma, often expecting or fearing that similarly bad events will occur in the future. But if you can accept the experience and try to understand it, the payoff is incredible. It’s given me a reason and desire to empathize with others that I may have scoffed off otherwise.

17. Jacobsen: What is Christianity in particular for you, now? 

Sepulveda: The Christian faith has never been a foundation I could stand on. The arguments for it essentially fall down to an over-reliance on faith, hope and the selective interpretation of ambiguous evidence. In my opinion, it’s just a comforting con for those who want a sense of certainty to help them through life.

18. Jacobsen: What is religion or faith to you, now, in general? 

Sepulveda: Religion is a belief system in which you have a relationship with a transcendent being that judges you and your adherence to dogma. These relationships come in many forms and some aren’t as strict as others, but most can be summarized in that way.

19. Jacobsen: Do you believe in a god or gods?

Sepulveda: I haven’t worked out that problem yet. The arguments for or against the proof of God have never been conclusive or satisfactory. But if there is an omniscient being running the show, then free will cannot exist and it wouldn’t be logically consistent for it to care what we do. So, I accept the limitations of my understanding and try to be content with it. I can always reevaluate later if new evidence comes along.

20. Jacobsen: For the “nature of problems,” this reads as if “the fundamentals of problem-solving.” Can you expand on that, please?

Sepulveda: There are many problems that we can work on and examine individually that share many common features that may not be immediately obvious. For example, when one is driving along a freeway, the actions of you and everyone else may seem too emotional to analyze mathematically. But the same equations used to deduce the safest, most efficient speed, width and curvature of those highways came from observing fluid dynamics.

21. Jacobsen: What would comprise a “universally fair IQ test”? What was the outcome of the project?

Sepulveda: Most IQ tests have fundamental flaws the skew the data they gather. Multiple choice problems give someone the chance to boost their scores by guessing and many problems rely on personal experience to understand (especially on verbal tests). Many test designers try to level the field by allowing the use of reference material. But this should not be allowed or required to do well on a valid test. After several relatively long conversations on the subject, I designed one that fit my harsh requirements – X’s and O’s (link provided here).

22. Jacobsen: Are reframing in a survivor and positive manner rarer than one in which an individual can become cynical and take an at-odds with the world stance?

Sepulveda: It’s hard to say. I can’t speak for others, especially those I don’t know. And statistics (which claim that one in two people live with some level of trauma) are only as reliable as the honesty of the reports they’re founded on. Given how many cases go unreported, this ratio is likely steeped out of our favor. And this implies that many of the people we see on a daily basis are living fairly civil lives despite the burden they carry. So it likely isn’t as rare at all.

23. Jacobsen: What is your step-father’s – not father’s – role in your life?

Sepulveda: You could think of us like coworkers with a shared goal of ensuring my mother’s happiness. We don’t spend much one-on-one time together, but we share a mutual respect and know that we can rely on each other in times of need. Which is all I could ask for.

24. Jacobsen: What other aspects of the university system make sense?

Sepulveda: It makes sense to charge someone for the opportunity to learn a practical skill or trade and it comes as no surprise that many colleges focus on medicine, business and criminal justice. Such things cannot be automated and produce much more valuable results than undergoing the same process to study subjects like poetry or music.

25. Jacobsen: What would be a healthy change for the university system?

Sepulveda: I believe that all necessary changes are already occurring naturally. Many people are reevaluating the value they place on secondary education and most are avoiding pointless degrees and most colleges focus.

26. Jacobsen: What is an alternative to the academic system for those who find this does not work for them financially, educationally, or organizationally?

Sepulveda: The best alternative that I’m aware of is Khan University. It’s a free online platform from which one can receive the exact same quality education offered by most colleges.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] World Genius Directory.

[2] Individual Publication Date: June 1, 2020: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/sepulveda-one; Full Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2020: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

*High range testing (HRT) should be taken with honest skepticism grounded in the limited empirical development of the field at present, even in spite of honest and sincere efforts. If a higher general intelligence score, then the greater the variability in, and margin of error in, the general intelligence scores because of the greater rarity in the population.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. An Interview with Anthony Sepulveda on Background and Intelligence (Part One) [Online].June 2020; 23(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/sepulveda-one.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2020, June 1). An Interview with Anthony Sepulveda on Background and Intelligence (Part One)Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/sepulveda-one.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. An Interview with Anthony Sepulveda on Background and Intelligence (Part One). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 23.A, June. 2020. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/sepulveda-one>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2020. “An Interview with Anthony Sepulveda on Background and Intelligence (Part One).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 23.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/sepulveda-one.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “An Interview with Anthony Sepulveda on Background and Intelligence (Part One).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 23.A (June 2020). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/sepulveda-one.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2020, ‘An Interview with Anthony Sepulveda on Background and Intelligence (Part One)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 23.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/sepulveda-one>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2020, ‘An Interview with Anthony Sepulveda on Background and Intelligence (Part One)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 23.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/sepulveda-one.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “An Interview with Anthony Sepulveda on Background and Intelligence (Part One).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 23.A (2020):June. 2020. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/sepulveda-one>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. An Interview with Anthony Sepulveda on Background and Intelligence (Part One) [Internet]. (2020, June 23(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/sepulveda-one.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 2012-2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  All interviewees co-copyright their interview material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

An Interview with Claus Volko, M.D. on Ethics and Critical Rationalism (Part Three)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 23.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (Part Nineteen)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: June 1, 2020

Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2020

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 1,764

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract

Claus Volko is an Austrian computer and medical scientist who has conducted research on the treatment of cancer and severe mental disorders by conversion of stress hormones into immunity hormones. This research gave birth to a new scientific paradigm which he called “symbiont conversion theory”: methods to convert cells exhibiting parasitic behaviour to cells that act as symbionts. In 2013 Volko, obtained an IQ score of 172 on the Equally Normed Numerical Derivation Test. He is also the founder and president of Prudentia High IQ Society, a society for people with an IQ of 140 or higher, preferably academics. He discusses: Philosophy; ethical philosophy; non-religious or without religious affiliation in Austria; religions; Critical Rationalism; principle of Falsifiability; classical liberalism of John Stuart Mill; John Locke, Ludwig von Mises, Friedrick August von Hayek; strengths and weaknesses of classical liberalism, socialism, fascism, and conservatism; liberalism against Marxist socialism and Plato’s totalitarianism; a critical rationalist approaching a problem; John Locke; Ludwig von Mises; Friedrich August von Hayek; me counterexamples to the given existence statements and universal statements; classical liberal ideals; and moving the dial further towards classical liberal ideals.

Keywords: Claus Volko, Critical Rationalism, ethics, Friedrich Hayek, John Locke, John Stuart Mill, Ludwig von Mises.

An Interview with Claus Volko, M.D. on Ethics and Critical Rationalism: Austrian Computer and Medical Scientist (Part Three)[1],[2]

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

1. Scott Douglas Jacobsen: This week’s session, I want to focus on the ending point of Part Two, which dealt with the metaphysical and philosophical questions important to so many in an informal way and salient to an extreme niche of studious people in a formal manner. To rake the leaves here, some softer questions to start us off: What philosophy makes the most sense to you?

Dr. Claus Volko: My father was a fan of Karl Popper and thought that Popper’s philosophy was the only one worth spending time with. I share a similar preference for Popper over other philosophers. Popper tried to come up with a rational epistemic methodology that follows the laws of logic, and he also applied it to political philosophy.

2. Jacobsen: What ethical philosophy makes the most sense to you?

Volko: I have dealt quite a bit with political philosophy during my student years and I prefer the political philosophy of classical liberalism over others such as socialism, conservatism and fascism. Classical liberalism is about freedom from force enacted by the government. The
government shall be minimal and only take care of the protection of life and property. Karl Popper was also a liberal philosopher. He wrote “The Open Society and Its Enemies” in which he defended liberalism against Marxist socialism and Plato’s totalitarianism.

3. Jacobsen: You are non-religious or without religious affiliation in Austria. Do you believe in a god or gods? If so, why so? If not, why not?

Volko: For me god is a metaphor for laws governing the universe that we know or do not know of. So if I write “Thank God” it is not that I am thinking of a person but it is a phrase to signify that something good happened, perhaps by chance, perhaps by reason.

4. Jacobsen: As a non-religious person, why be non-religious when so many religions offer sustenance for so many in their emotional, ethical, social, and intellectual lives?

Volko: For me religions do not offer anything but restriction in my thinking.

5. Jacobsen: What relates the social, political, economic, and ethical philosophies for you?

Volko: Karl Popper called his philosophy “Critical Rationalism”. I would also say that my approach is a rationalist one. I try to investigate everything analytically and back up my stances with reason.

6. Jacobsen: Your emphasis on Karl Popper is interesting to me. It’s important for a number of reasons. One of those is the principle of Falsifiability. If something can be proposed as a theory about the world, then it should provide a means by which to show a condition under which the theory would fail. What kinds of hypotheses would fall under this? What types of theories would not?

Volko: From a strictly logical point of view only universal statements fall under this, but not existence statements. Existence statements can be proven by providing an example, while it is extremely difficult to disprove them. By contrast, to universal statements Popper’s principle applies. You cannot prove a universal statement, but it is enough to provide a single counterexample to disprove a universal statement. Popper was of the opinion that scientific knowledge is preliminary and therefore science should restrain itself to making only statements that can be falsified if a counterexample is found.

7. Jacobsen: Are we speaking of the classical liberalism of John Stuart Mill? If others, who?

Volko: John Locke, Ludwig von Mises, Friedrick August von Hayek – there are several big names.

8. Jacobsen: What seem like the inherent strengths and weaknesses of classical liberalism, socialism, fascism, and conservatism?

Volko: These ideologies have different goals. Classical liberalism wants to maximize freedom from force by the state, socialism emphasizes equality, fascism tries to create a totalitarian state that controls everything (the opposite of classical liberalism), and conservatism is about stability and keeping up societal hierarchies.

9. Jacobsen: In Popper’s text mentioned, what were some of the defences put forward for liberalism against Marxist socialism and Plato’s totalitarianism?

Volko: The open society welcomes foreigners and integrates them into society. By means of democratic elections the government can be ousted and replaced by a more capable government. Popper essentially criticizes Marx and Plato for being enemies of freedom.

10. Jacobsen: In a Critical Rationalism, what is the mode of thinking there? In that, what is the process of a critical rationalist approaching a problem?

Volko: In general the approach is rational, based on facts and logical thinking rather than sentiments. However, the critical rationalist is also aware that rationalism is limited and that it is itself based on the irrational assumption that rational thinking is superior to emotional feeling.

11. Jacobsen: Naturally, I am lead to ask in succession. Why John Locke?

Volko: He is the author of Two Treatises of Government and generally considered the father of classical liberalism.

12. Jacobsen: Why Ludwig von Mises?

Volko: He is the author of Human Action and very influential in the libertarian community.

13. Jacobsen: Why Friedrich August von Hayek?

Volko: He was a Nobel Prize winning economist who wrote The Road to Serfdom. Like with Mises, many in the libertarian community identify with him.

14. Jacobsen: What some counterexamples to the given existence statements and universal statements, so as to show how this process works?

Volko: A universal statement is: “All ravens are black”. An existential statement is: “There is a white raven”. These two statements contradict each other. By proving the existential statement, the universal statement is disproven, and vice versa, though proving the universal statement and disproving the existential statement is very difficult.

15. Jacobsen: What states best represent classical liberal ideals now?

Volko: This question is difficult to answer, mostly because of my limited experience. Economically, small principalities such as Liechtenstein might come close to classical liberalism. Regarding personal freedom, there are limitations to it all around the world, but of course in the Western democracies people enjoy more personal freedom than in the People’s Republic of China and other dictatorships.

16. Jacobsen: Following from the last question, how could those states move the dial further towards classical liberal ideals of Mill, von Mises, von Hayek, Locke, and others?

Volko: By adopting laws that grant freedom and abolishing laws that limit it.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1]  Austrian Computer and Medical Scientist.

[2] Individual Publication Date: June 1, 2020: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/volko-three; Full Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2020: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

*High range testing (HRT) should be taken with honest skepticism grounded in the limited empirical development of the field at present, even in spite of honest and sincere efforts. If a higher general intelligence score, then the greater the variability in, and margin of error in, the general intelligence scores because of the greater rarity in the population.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. An Interview with Claus Volko, M.D. on Ethics and Critical Rationalism: Austrian Computer and Medical Scientist (Part Three) [Online].June 2020; 23(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/volko-three.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2020, June 1). An Interview with Claus Volko, M.D. on Ethics and Critical Rationalism: Austrian Computer and Medical Scientist (Part Three)Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/volko-three.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. An Interview with Claus Volko, M.D. on Ethics and Critical Rationalism: Austrian Computer and Medical Scientist (Part Three). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 23.A, June. 2020. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/volko-three>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2020. “An Interview with Claus Volko, M.D. on Ethics and Critical Rationalism: Austrian Computer and Medical Scientist (Part Three).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 23.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/volko-three.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “An Interview with Claus Volko, M.D. on Ethics and Critical Rationalism: Austrian Computer and Medical Scientist (Part Three).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 23.A (June 2020). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/volko-three.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2020, ‘An Interview with Claus Volko, M.D. on Ethics and Critical Rationalism: Austrian Computer and Medical Scientist (Part Three)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 23.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/volko-three>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2020, ‘An Interview with Claus Volko, M.D. on Ethics and Critical Rationalism: Austrian Computer and Medical Scientist (Part Three)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 23.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/volko-three.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “An Interview with Claus Volko, M.D. on Ethics and Critical Rationalism: Austrian Computer and Medical Scientist (Part Three).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 23.A (2020):June. 2020. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/volko-three>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. An Interview with Claus Volko, M.D. on Ethics and Critical Rationalism: Austrian Computer and Medical Scientist (Part Three) [Internet]. (2020, June 23(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/volko-three.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 2012-2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  All interviewees co-copyright their interview material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

An Interview with Guillermo Alejandro Escárcega Pliego on Philosophies, Religion, and God (Part Three)

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 23.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (Part Nineteen)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: June 1, 2020

Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2020

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 1,448

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract

Guillermo Alejandro Escárcega Pliego is the Founder of the Hall of Sophia. He discusses: economics; capitalism; monarchy; god; science; God’s law; meaning in life; making sense of the worldview; absolute monarchy; “turbo capitalism”; Matthew 22:37 and Mark 12:31; insufficiency of science for the truth; definition of God; God’s law some more; being in peace with the Creator of the universe; belief in individuals going against God as angry at God; religion as the only way to understand God; all positive religions leading to God; Moses as the one reflecting God’s law; intelligence as disconnected from belief, or not, in a god; and the ease of Facebook as a platform.

Keywords: capitalism, economics, God, Guillermo Alejandro Escárcega Pliego, religion.

An Interview with Guillermo Alejandro Escárcega Pliego on Philosophies, Religion, and God: Founder, Hall of Sophia (Part Three)[1],[2]*

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

1. Scott Douglas Jacobsen: What economic system makes the most sense to you? Why?

Guillermo Alejandro Escarcega Pliego: Capitalism because is the only economic system in which someone can prosper.

2. Jacobsen: What social system makes the most sense to you? Why?

Pliego: Capitalism, since is the only social system in which everyone has the same opportunity to exchange goods.

3. Jacobsen: What political system makes the most sense to you? Why?

Pliego: Monarchy, it’s the only way to get rid of the corruption of democracy.

4. Jacobsen: Do you believe in a God, gods, or not, or remain uncertain about the matter entirely?

Pliego: Yes, I do.

5. Jacobsen: What scientific topic remains the most exciting to you?

Pliego: I don’t find science interesting at all to be honest.

6. Jacobsen: What ethical system makes the most sense to you? Why?

Pliego: I believe in God so I try to follow his law even though I sometimes fail.

7. Jacobsen: What is the meaning of life to you? Or what are the meanings of life to you?

Pliego: Life has several meanings, the most important meaning of all is to be in peace with God.

8. Jacobsen: How do these various points of contact – “makes the most sense” – come together into a knit blanket of worldview? A way to make sense of the world in a way that, to you, “makes the most sense.”

Pliego: I think that it would be hard for the readers of this interview to understand my worldview with the few things I wrote but I will say that it makes sense a lot.

9. Jacobsen: Any particular form of monarchy as a replacement for “the corruption of democracy” that appeals more than others to you?

Pliego: Absolute Monarchy.

10. Jacobsen: What styles or forms of Capitalism make the most sense socially and economically to you, as various flavours have been proposed of it?

Pliego: Turbo Capitalism.

11. Jacobsen: What other meanings of life – well – mean the most to you?

Pliego: “Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’”

Matthew 22:37

And

‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’

Mark 12:31

12. Jacobsen: Why isn’t science interesting to you?

Pliego: Because the paradigm that proposes has nothing to do with the truth.

13. Jacobsen: How do you define God?

Pliego: As the creator of the Universe and everything in it.

14. Jacobsen: How do you – or how does he – define “his law”?

Pliego: Basically his law are the rules he give us to live a good life.

15. Jacobsen: How do you fail to follow God’s law, whether on principle or in practice?

Pliego: It’s simple when you commit a sin – such as gluttony you are failing to follow his law.

16. Jacobsen: Why is “the most important meaning of all… to be in peace with God”?

Pliego: It’s simple if you are in peace with the creator of the universe you are in peace with you and the rest of the world.

17. Jacobsen: Any other principles or premises in its presentation so far to provide for framework or contextualization of it?

Pliego: I believe most people are mad at God because they don’t have the life they want so the only way to live a happy life is to being in peace with what he decided.

18. Jacobsen: Any thoughts on religion?

Pliego: Religion no matter which is the way to understand what God want from us and his plan for us. 

19. Jacobsen: Of the religions on offer, what ones seem most in alignment with the presentation of the belief in God and his law stated before to you?

Pliego: All religions lead to God except for the negative one of course.

20. Jacobsen: Do any particular holy figures, prophets, or religious texts help elucidate the mind and morality of this God for you? (And thank you for sharing personal beliefs, here, by the way.)

Pliego: Moses.

21. Jacobsen: For many within the high-IQ communities, they have a wide array of belief systems from atheism to agnosticism to monotheism, polytheism, and the like. Any speculations on the correlations between different standard segmentations of the high-IQ communities and various forms of religious and non-religious, theistic and non-theistic, beliefs held by them?

Pliego: I don’t think having a higher or lower I.Q. dictates if you are a theist or an atheist. 

I think that being a theist or an atheist depends of the personal experiences one has had in his life.

22. Jacobsen: Facebook can give an easy platform for the communities if one wants to join them, as in the Hall of Sophia – as so many use social media and allowing the shy or introverted smart to more readily engage on these platforms. What makes Hall of Sophia a good platform for easy engagement?

Pliego:  The reason is simple, almost everyone already uses Facebook running the Hall of Sophia through Facebook allows me and allows the rest of the members of the society to interact without any platform problems.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Founder, Hall of Sophia.

[2] Individual Publication Date: June 1, 2020: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/pliego-three; Full Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2020: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

*High range testing (HRT) should be taken with honest skepticism grounded in the limited empirical development of the field at present, even in spite of honest and sincere efforts. If a higher general intelligence score, then the greater the variability in, and margin of error in, the general intelligence scores because of the greater rarity in the population.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. An Interview with Guillermo Alejandro Escárcega Pliego on Philosophies, Religion, and God (Part Three) [Online].June 2020; 23(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/pliego-three.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2020, June 1). An Interview with Guillermo Alejandro Escárcega Pliego on Philosophies, Religion, and God (Part Three). Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/pliego-three.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. An Interview with Guillermo Alejandro Escárcega Pliego on Philosophies, Religion, and God (Part Three). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 23.A, June. 2020. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/pliego-three>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2020. “An Interview with Guillermo Alejandro Escárcega Pliego on Philosophies, Religion, and God (Part Three).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 23.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/pliego-three.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “An Interview with Guillermo Alejandro Escárcega Pliego on Philosophies, Religion, and God (Part Three).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 23.A (June 2020). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/pliego-three.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2020, ‘An Interview with Guillermo Alejandro Escárcega Pliego on Philosophies, Religion, and God (Part Three)‘In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 23.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/pliego-three>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2020, ‘An Interview with Guillermo Alejandro Escárcega Pliego on Philosophies, Religion, and God (Part Three)‘In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 23.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/pliego-three.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “An Interview with Guillermo Alejandro Escárcega Pliego on Philosophies, Religion, and God (Part Three).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 23.A (2020):June. 2020. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/pliego-three>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. An Interview with Guillermo Alejandro Escárcega Pliego on Philosophies, Religion, and God (Part Three) [Internet]. (2020, June 23(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/pliego-three.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 2012-2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  All interviewees co-copyright their interview material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

A Pre-publication review of The Evolved Self: Mapping an understanding of who we are

Author: Lloyd Hawkeye Robertson

Numbering: Issue 23.B, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (Part Nineteen)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: June 1, 2020

Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2020

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 5,644

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract

The Evolved Self (University of Ottawa Press, in press) is an eclectic examination of the self that includes: philosophy and theory, cross-cultural materials, a qualitative study mapping individual selves, and pragmatics aimed at not just improving, but uniting schools of psychotherapy. In providing an academic assessment for the publisher, one anonymous reviewer summarized:

While many of the significant books in the area have been cited as source material—in psychology and philosophy—I have not read a book that has attempted theory development in this manner. It is a very interesting synthesis and its use of qualitative interviews with abstract theory is an excellent one. Finally, the application of the theory to clinical practice introduces a pragmatic element often neglected…

This article reviews the salient aspects of researching the book and places it into its own historical context. Using elemental units of culture, the book maps the selves of individuals who were not in therapy and contrasts those with the self-maps of clients who were in psychotherapy for trauma and suicidality. These qualitative exemplars are embedded within a rich discussion of the concept of the self as presented in philosophy, psychology and cross-cultural literature. Aboriginal, humanist, and selves as modified through participation in sports are examined along with two selves from outside North America. Application of the method of self-mapping to counselling and psychotherapy is explored from the lens of client empowerment. A disciplinary paradigm is proposed uniting major schools of psychotherapy.

Keywords: self, memes, aboriginality, humanism, psychotherapy, identity

A Pre-publication review of The Evolved Self: Mapping an understanding of who we are[A],[B]

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

There is a self-help industry built on the notion of becoming the person you “were meant to be,” but who is the “you” at the core of such striving?  In The Evolved Self I attempt to answer that question by drawing on philosophy, psychology, multicultural tradition, and original research. I develop an argument that the self at the core of who we are is a culturally evolved mental structure that underwent significant change as recently as 3,000 years ago allowing for conscious individual volition, a sense of uniqueness, and the idea that there exists a reality separate from one’s subjective understandings. The evolution of this “modern self” initiated tensions between collectivism and individualism that remain with us to this day. Core to this work are maps of selves of individuals from both individualist and collectivist cultures, some of whom were in psychotherapy at the time of the mapping and some who were not, and they represented three genders from four countries.[1]The Evolved Self begins with a discussion of the case study that prompted this research and it ends with suggested applications to the field of psychology. In-between, it summarizes the self as understood in Western philosophy, in major schools of psychology, and in selected collectivist cultures before reviewing my doctoral research into mapping the self.

Identifying the Issue: A Case Study

Without realizing it, I began writing this book at the turn of the century after accepting a re-referral from another therapist. “Suzie” had previously attempted suicide on five occasions and she was not yet eighteen. Her initial therapist said she had been compliant with treatment but remained “high-risk” after nearly two years of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) coupled with antidepressant medication. I administered a standardized assessment instrument and confirmed that she was still “high risk” for suicide with elevated scores for low self-esteem, anger, suicide ideation and depression. A clinical interview revealed contributing traumatic childhood events coupled with a dysfunctional family culture.

Since CBT has proven efficacy with underlying conditions associated with suicidal behaviour and since the client-therapist relationship contributes to its effectiveness (Warwar & Greenberg, 2000), I decided to start with this therapy even though it had been used by the previous therapist. Despite Suzie’s compliance with “homework assignments” and cognitive reframing of some of her salient experiences, she showed little progress. Borrowing from narrative therapy (Gubrium & Holstein, 1998) I had her retell her “story” with suggested amendments to engender hope and positive possibilities, but her emotional progress was short-lived. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (Devilly & Spence, 1999) was used to deal with specific instances of childhood trauma, but again, she suffered relapse. I was running out of tools in my therapeutic toolkit, and I needed to invent something new. I suggested we co-construct a map of her self to find the blockage to treatment.

The idea that we can map cultural elements that form a self flows from the well-established notion that the self is a cultural construct (Blustein & Noumair, 1996; Mead, 1934/2003; Shotter, 1997). Fortuitously, Dawkins (1976) had named such elemental units “memes,” which he said exhibit attractive and repellent properties on each other. Blackmore (1999) suggested the self consisted of an interlocking collection of such memes. If such a structure existed, it could logically be mapped. We identified units of culture Suzie had internalized as part of her self-definition; explored connotative, affective and behavioural characteristics of such memes that mimicked internal forces of attraction; and, we co-constructed ways of changing aspects of Suzie’s self starting with memes that were most accessible to intervention.

The method used to map Suzie’s self along with maps showing the youth’s progress are detailed in a case study (Robertson, 2011) and they form the basis of the first chapter of my new book (Robertson, 2020). It was not that the mapping process supplanted earlier interventions, but that the visual representations supplemented them allowing for more efficacious processing. Using her map for reference, Suzie was able to expand her worldview to include an emphasis on social justice. She challenged ineffective and obsessive cognitions by routing her thoughts along alternative pathways. She began to see herself as an activating agent capable of dealing with unfortunate circumstances replacing a plot of ineffective victimhood and dependency. I decided more research was needed to understand this self that Suzie was able to effectively change, and the process by which such change may be understood.

Philosophical, Psychological and Cross-cultural Review

The first millennium before the Common Era (BCE) saw the great religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Judaism evolve into being with Christianity and Islam offshoots of Judaism (Jaspers, 1951; Mahoney, 1991).  The Evolved Self sets this development into a psycho-historical context and, in the process, explains what I was intuitively attempting to accomplish with respect to the suicidal youth.

Following his analysis of early Greek literature, Jaynes (1976) concluded that pre-Homeric Greeks were unable to exercise self-agency. After his examination of ancient Egyptian and Greek writing Johnson (2003) concluded, “Beliefs and minds did not begin to exist until…the Greek cultural world invented the notion of objective, constant truth and began using that notion to assess…the truth of statements and actions” (108, 109). Operating like Blackmore’s (1999) “meme machines,” human beings before the first millennium relied on imitating pre-programmed cultural responses to triggering events. In my book, I argue that cultural mutations to the self represented a cognitive program that includes a capacity for objective beliefs, individual volition, and internally consistent thought, and that program is now transmitted to our children in the process of child rearing and education, but with limitations – we do not want them to be too independent. The development of the great religions may be viewed as a similar means to restricting feared excesses of individualism and preserving the collectivity. Thus, much of the philosophical and religious thought flowing from this Axial Age dealt with concepts such as justice, humanity and temperance along with the subjugation of the individual to the collective will.

With the evolved self, Greek philosophy and science flowered based on the idea that there is a reality independent of our perceptions that we can come to know through careful observation and reason. The subsequent Christian view that human reasoning is faulty and true knowledge is divinely inspired led to the subjugation of the self to ecclesiastical authority. The European Enlightenment of the 17th century did not invent the self, it made the individualism already inherent in its structure into a good. This emancipation of the self led directly to the scientific revolution that is still with us today.

This emancipated self is not without its detractors. Religion continues to promote submission and post-modernism disparages our attempts to approximate reality. Heidegger (1962), the leading post-modernist philosopher of the twentieth century, described science and intelligence as degenerate with what passes for truth dependent on contextual interpretation. His answer to the resultant relativism that a few humans are “Dasein” and are equipped to lead the masses because only they have “an understanding of the Being of all entities of a character other than its own” (Heidegger, 1962,  p. 34). This echoes the Jesuit teachings that Heidegger experienced as youth that subjugated the self to God or his proxies.

In The Evolved Self, I argue that the struggle between collectivism and individualism are not so much at the societal level, but occur primarily within each person’s self. Each of us has the capacity, even the necessity, for both. As a spandrel to this evolution we have the capacity for a limited form of free will. We exist at two Vygotskian levels (Vygotsky, 1939, 1986). For the most part we remain the determined beings of our history as a species; however, with hard work and a culturally evolved method with proven efficacy, we have the capacity to rise above our genes and memes. Hard determinists believe that even at this level antecedent factors determine outcome (DiCarlo, 2010).  Despite this difference, I am grateful Dr. DiCarlo saw enough merit in this work to offer the following endorsement:

Lloyd Hawkeye Robertson’s book offers an interesting and insightful new perspective on explorations of the self and the integration of that analysis with the pragmatic intention for psycho-therapeutic use. By examining the contributing factors that define us as ‘selves’, Robertson connects the dots between evolution, culture, the concept of free will, and the goals of counselling and therapy. His use of memetic self-maps in relation to varying psychological perspectives of the self offers unique insights into novel therapeutic approaches.

  • Christopher DiCarlo, author of So You Think You Can Think: Tools for Having Intelligent Conversations and Getting Along, and How To Become A Really Good Pain in the Ass: A Critical Thinker’s Guide to Asking the Right Questions.

Taking a somewhat different view on the subject of free will than fellow philosopher DiCarlo, Dennett (1991) concluded that memes provide “thinking tools” that allow for self-definition and human consciousness. From this perspective, I was teaching Suzie the thinking tools she needed to change her self-definition.

All current major schools of psychology would have endorsed a similar change effort aimed at empowering the client to change her self (Robertson, 2017a).[2] Freud’s project of psychoanalysis involved rescuing the poor ego from the cultural oppression of the superego and the genetic determinism of the id and is compatible with the compatibilist[3] views of Dennett (1995, 1996). Alfred Adler (1927/1957, 1929) recognized that the child is determined in his formative years and that the family constellation, in particular, determines one’s future worldview; however, he held one could change that worldview if one understood the determining inputs and considered alternatives. Rational emotive and cognitive behavioural therapists (David & Szentagotai, 2006; Dryden, Neenan, & Yankura, 2001; Ellis & Harper, 1997) view most mental health problems to be the result of irrational beliefs which can be changed, and that cognitive processing difficulties that lead to unwanted behavioural outcomes can be challenged. This group of psychotherapies takes a realist view – that there is an objective reality which the client must approximate to function well.

There is a second group of psychotherapies that takes a postmodern approach with the implication that a client can become anything to which they aspire. Constructivists would suggest that if a client is unhappy with their self, construct a better one. Taking a somewhat more nuanced view that we both create and are created by culture, social constructionists Martin and Sugarman (2001) suggested that with “appropriation and internalization, and the thinking and understanding they enable, the individual’s mode of being is transformed from one of prereflective activity to one in which reflective, intentional agency is possible” (p. 105). Narrative therapists view the self to be a story we tell with the plot dependent on context and purpose (Ochberg, 1996; White, 1993).

Readers will note that I used therapies from both realist and postmodernist camps in my treatment of the suicidal youth. I believe this eclecticism is possible because our clients possess an innate sense of the objective. We cannot choose just any self, it has to “feel right” otherwise we have the sense we are merely play acting or worse, fooling ourselves. The inherent problem with postmodernism manifests itself more at the societal level than at the level of psychotherapy. When narrative therapist Tom Strong (2002) described science as a “White, male way of knowing” and that “truth” is something arrived at through the “discourse of knowledgeable people” (p. 3), he was supporting a discourse that dissolves society into competing identity groups each with their own “Daseins” whom they authoritatively reference to support and enforce their worldviews. Despite this difference of opinion, Dr. Strong kindly gave my work the following endorsement:

Lloyd Robertson has developed a powerful and useful method for reflecting upon self-understanding. Exploring the concept of memes as developmental resources in self-making, through a creative approach to meme-mapping, he has developed a welcomed resource for counsellors and educators. Readers seeking new ways to join others in exploring identity development and self-making possibilities will especially treasure Robertson’s ideas and approach to mapping the memetic self.

  • Tom Strong is Professor Emeritus University of Calgary and author of Medicalizing counselling: Issues and tensions

The self as defined here is a representational construct (Harre, 1984; Lock, 1981/1990; Mead, 1912/1990) consisting of units of culture (Blackmore, 1999; Donald, 2001; Price, 1999). We need to also consider the possibility that the conceptualization of the self that has been the basis of psychotherapy is ethnocentric having the effect of exporting Euro-American values such as individuality and self-volition to indigenous cultures worldwide (Adair, 2006; Christopher & Hickinbottom, 2008). The self in modern western cultures is often pictured as self-contained, independent, volitional and materialistic while the self in collectivist cultures is described as contextual, interdependent, community orientated and spiritual (Cushman, 1995; Robertson, 2014).

A stable conscious self is considered evidence of a noncorporeal entity or soul inhabiting a material body in much religious belief. The secularization of Euro-American culture resulted in the splitting self from the soul (Taylor, 1989), and it would be this separation of the two that is exported. The Buddhist doctrine of no-self necessitated such a splitting two millennia before the European Enlightenment with the result that the soul that is reincarnated is a non-sentient life force. Buddhism was exported, and in The Evolved Self, I noted that Buddhist missionaries encountered the self in every culture they visited.

My chapter on the self in collectivist societies references studies from Asia, the Middle East, Africa and southern Europe; however, the largest amount of attention involves three nations or peoples that are aboriginal to North America. I take a scientific and materialist approach which will be controversial in some aboriginal communities. Despite this, indigenous psychiatrist Dr. Mehl-Madrona found sufficient merit to offer this endorsement:

Dr. Robertson presents a fascinating exposition on the concept of self in relation to mainstream and indigenous concepts. He reviews concepts from Western philosophy, major schools of psychology, and the cross-cultural experience of the self in both collectivist and individualist cultures. He draws a diverse sample of eleven selves representing three genders whom he maps and analyzes, grouping them into clusters: 1) North American selves built through participation in sports; 2) selves centered on notions of North American aboriginality; 3) selves of individuals following a secular humanist paradigm; and 4) selves from China and Russia. He proposes a hypothesis that a healthy or functional self is composed of fundamental elements including constancy, volition, uniqueness, productivity, intimacy, and social interest. His work is original and inspiring and can lead us to better understanding of how we come to believe in who we are.

  • Lewis Mehl-Madrona is Associate Professor, Family Medicine, University of New England and author of Remapping Your Mind: The Neuroscience of Self-Transformation through Story (with Barbara Mainguy) and Coyote Medicine: Lessons from Native American Healing

Method and Results of this Research into Self-mapping

The practice of psychotherapy is often more of an art than a science, and so it was with the mapping exercise used with the suicidal youth. At the time, it was not possible to say how her initial self-map compares with those not in treatment. The method of qualitative research used in this qualitative sample also used the meme as the fundamental unit of the self. Memes sharing connotative, emotive or behavioural valence were considered to be attracted to each other and a line or edge was drawn connecting the two. Each meme was given a referent word or phrase that was taken to include individualized connotative, emotive and behavioural meaning. Drawing on the experience of mapping the suicidal youth Suzie, themes were represented by rectangles. Readers will recall “Depressed person” was an initial theme in Suzie’s self and we co-constructed and supported a second core theme, “Human rights.” A methodological change was also made in the way memes were identified. Instead of asking the subject to create lists of self-identifiers such as “name ten persons you are” as was used with the youth, I decided to allow these research participants to narrate a personal story of who they were. Participants were given an invitation to explain who they were, and were prompted to elaborate. These narratives were transcribed and each segment was coded using a qualitative software package. Segments with the same referent word were placed in a “bin” to be compared with all other segments with the same coding. Only those referents that satisfied the definition of the meme were included in the participant’s self-map. Those memes that had more codings in their “bin” were taken to be more central to the person’s self.

The sample of eleven volunteers included five men, five women, and one transsexual person who identified as a third gender. The racial composition included seven Caucasians, two people of North American aboriginal ancestry, one Chinese, and one person whose mother was aboriginal and father was “white” who identified herself as simply “Canadian.” The self-maps were co-constructed in three sessions per participant over a nine month period.

One to two self-maps are presented for each of these participants in The Evolved Self along with an edited version of each person’s narrative. A majority (7) of the participants said their maps reflected accurately who they were on viewing the first attempt. At the end of the process all but one reported such resonance.

All eleven self-maps evidenced volition, constancy, distinctness, productivity, intimacy, social interest and feeling. The feeling component, beyond the emotive element included in the definition of the meme, was unanticipated. As a result of this development, the structure of the mapped selves was revised to include an emotive and psychological characteristics component at the base of self-maps that could trigger various aspects of the self represented by meme clusters. This meant there were two routes to triggering a particular presentation of the self, 1) the long reflective route of proceeding meme by meme to a location within the self, and 2) the almost instantaneous triggering of the same location through emotion. In The Evolved Self, I describe this system as a small world network as has been developed in Graph Theory (Robertson & McFadden, 2018; Watts & Strogatz, 1998).

The three people from collectivist cultures in this sample had the same basic structure to their self-maps as those from individualist North American cultures. A possible cultural difference involving emphasis surfaced with respect to one participant from China.

“Maomao” described herself as a “robot” awaiting the command of others, most often her parents. Her self-map illustrated a volitional-active cluster and a deferent-family cluster with the deferent cluster more highly developed. She experimented with making her own decisions concluding that it takes too much time and energy to adequately research possible choices. She decided being a robot was a preferred way to live. Maomao’s volitional-active cluster still functioned to the degree that she had to choose the authorities to which she would defer, and she felt resentment when they made decisions for her she did not like. Maomao may not be representative of her culture. A recent study of 2,299 Chinese adolescents revealed that 85% associated free will with their own subjective well-being (Li, Wang, Zhao, Kong, & Li, 2016).

Discussion

The example of Maomao, who was raised to deny a volitional self, belies the relativistic notion that self-attributes like volition and uniqueness are culturally dependent. While she preferred to not act volitionally, she continued to have that capacity, supporting a hypothesis that feelings of volition, uniqueness and constancy are consequences of having a self, and that while cultures and religions may attempt to repress these attributes, they cannot be eliminated entirely.

All of the participants in this study recalled transitions leading to self-change that were evolutionary in nature. If the self is malleable, and if clients recognize the reality of self-change, then planned transitions are possible.

As a result of this research the mapping process was amended to include emotional triggers and psychological characteristics in addition to the meme structure thus extending the model.  The research participants  supported the view of Quinn (2006) who argued that a purely cognitive self was insufficient and that a comprehensive view of the self would include physical, biological, psychological, social, and cultural characteristics. A case study of the use of this improved memetic self-map to treat a client with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is included in The Evolved Self.

If a therapist can successfully introduce new memes to the self of a client in the course of treatment, then it is conceivable that outside memes may be introduced to the self unbidden and those memes could thereby act in a viral fashion. The concept of the mind virus has been introduced elsewhere (Berman, 2006; Dawkins, 2006; Ray, 2009; Robertson, 2017b), and therapists should be aware of the possibility. This concept is explored further in the final chapter of The Evolved Self.

As discussed earlier, this method of mapping the self has been demonstrated compatibility with CBT, Adlerian psychotherapy and narrative therapy. I believe that the evolutionary model of the self outlined here has led to a common paradigm across schools of psychology and that paradigm is elaborated in my book. As a result of that paradigm, we all attempt to teach clients to have volitional and meaningful selves with a sense of uniqueness and constancy as first suggested by William James (1890, 1892/2003). If this is correct, then the method of mapping described here should be compatible with all schools of psychotherapy. Two methods of generating the memes needed in self-mapping are described in The Evolved Self. As a second anonymous reviewer of this work kindly said:

Readers generally will be interested in how language shapes and limits our self-definitions.  Psychotherapists will be interested in applying memetic self-mapping to counselling and therapy helping their clients become the author of their own transformative change.

The mapping technique developed lends itself to the practice of psychotherapy, but The Evolved Self is primarily a theoretical text with general application to applied psychology. Teela Joanne Robertson, a psychotherapist who has used memetic self-mapping in her practise (and who is also my daughter), and I are co-authoring a companion manual that will give practical guidance in assisting professionals who wish to use this method in their work.

Memetic self-mapping has application to all fields interested in the structure of the self. As has been demonstrated, the method owes much of its development to philosophy. It would also be of interest to social workers who are doing counselling, indeed, it can be seen as an elaboration of the social work technique of eco-mapping (Hartman, 1995; Vodde & Giddings, 2000). The method will also be of interest to fields that regularly research some aspects of the self such as sociology, anthropology, cross-cultural studies, and gender studies. I have co-authored a book chapter applying the concepts discussed here to adult education (Robertson & Conrad, 2016). My co-author has kindly offered the following endorsement:

Bridging several cultural and educational worlds, Robertson’s work thoroughly and movingly explores the concepts of self and identity from his insightful perspective as a counselling psychologist. Educators as well as practicing psychologists will benefit from his experience and insight. Detailed case studies enliven foundational tenets of counselling and psychotherapy and highlight issues of empowerment, individuality, community, and intimacy.

  • Dianne Conrad is the author of Assessment Strategies for Online Learning: Engagement and Authenticity and co-editor of Open(ing) Education: Theory and Practice

The Evolved Self: Mapping an understanding of who we are will be published by University of Ottawa Press September 15, 2020.  Pre-orders are available through the U of O Press website at: https://press.uottawa.ca/catalogsearch/result/?q=Lloyd+Hawkeye+Robertson

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Robertson, L. H. (2020). The Evolved Self: Mapping an understanding of who we are. Ottawa, ON: University of Ottawa Press.

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Appendix I: Footnotes

[A] Lead Psychologist, Collaborative Centre for Justice and Safety University of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.

[B] Individual Publication Date: June 1, 2020: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hawkeye-self; Full Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2020: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

[1] All of the self-maps were prepared while the participants resided in Canada

[2] Classical behaviourists of the mid-twentieth century (Chambless & Goldstein, 1979; Skinner, 1974) were “hard determinists;” however,  modern practitioners of behaviour therapy (Wilson, 2014) are virtually indistinguishable from cognitive behaviourists. For a fuller discussion of this see (Robertson, 2017a).

[3]Compatiblism in philosophy is the view that determinism and free will are not mutually exclusive but may co-exist.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Robertson L. A Pre-publication review of The Evolved Self: Mapping an understanding of who we are [Online].June 2020; 23(B). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hawkeye-self.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Robertson, L.H. (2020, June 1). A Pre-publication review of The Evolved Self: Mapping an understanding of who we areRetrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hawkeye-self.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): ROBERTSON, L. A Pre-publication review of The Evolved Self: Mapping an understanding of who we are. In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 23.B, June. 2020. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hawkeye-self>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Robertson, Lloyd. 2020. “A Pre-publication review of The Evolved Self: Mapping an understanding of who we are.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 23.B. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hawkeye-self.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Robertson, Lloyd “A Pre-publication review of The Evolved Self: Mapping an understanding of who we are.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 23.B (June 2020). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hawkeye-self.

Harvard: Robertson, L. 2020, ‘A Pre-publication review of The Evolved Self: Mapping an understanding of who we areIn-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 23.B. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hawkeye-self>.

Harvard, Australian: Robertson, L. 2020, ‘A Pre-publication review of The Evolved Self: Mapping an understanding of who we areIn-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 23.B., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hawkeye-self.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Lloyd H. Robertson. “A Pre-publication review of The Evolved Self: Mapping an understanding of who we are.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 23.B (2020):June. 2020. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hawkeye-self>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Robertson L. A Pre-publication review of The Evolved Self: Mapping an understanding of who we are [Internet]. (2020, June 23(B). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hawkeye-self.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 2012-2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  All interviewees co-copyright their interview material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

Mubarak Bala: Facebook Posts and Limits of Religious Freedom

Author: Dr. Leo Igwe

Numbering: Issue 1.B, Idea: African Freethinking

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: African Freethinker

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: June 1, 2020

Issue Publication Date: TBD

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 1,068

Keywords: Islam, Leo Igwe, Mubarak Bala, Nigeria, religious freedom.

Mubarak Bala: Facebook Posts and Limits of Religious Freedom[1],[2]

While waiting for the police to formally charge or release Mubarak Bala, it is important to critically examine a key proposition in the complaint filed against him at the Kano State Police Command. This is necessary to understand the intent and motivation of the petitioners as well as implications for religious freedom in the country. The complainants claimed that Mubarak Bala made comments on Facebook that were “provoking” and “annoying” to Muslims. Meanwhile, Nigeria is not a Muslim country. Nigeria is a nation of Muslims and non-Muslims.

The petitioners alluded to posts where Mr. Bala allegedly called the prophet of Islam “denigrating names” such as “pedophile” and “terrorist”. They suggested that these comments could make Muslims take laws into their hands or react in a way that would lead to public disturbance or a breach of public peace. The petitioners alluded to sections 38 of the Nigerian Constitution 1999 as amended, which guarantees the right to freedom of religion and conscience. However, they noted that the right to freedom of religion or conscience was not absolute and drew attention to section 45 of the constitution that potentially limits the exercise and expression of the right to freedom of religion on grounds of public safety and order. The petitioners made it clear that the said posts contravened section 210 of the Penal Code of Kano State which prohibits publicly insulting or seeking to incite contempt of any religion, in this case, Islam.

Given that the petitioners are lawyers, the tendency is to assume that the petition is legally sound and contains grounds to prosecute and convict Mr. Bala. Unfortunately it is not. In this piece, I argue that the said Facebook posts constitute a legitimate exercise of freedom of religion and conscience as guaranteed in the Nigerian constitution. I am of the view that the posts are not expressions in contempt of the Islamic religion as the petitioners imputed. While I understand clearly that the alleged Facebook posts infuriated the petitioners and some other Muslims. And based on this, they would want Bala imprisoned or killed, I submit that those comments that he made do not exceed the bounds of freedom of conscience. The statements are innocuous and could not lead to any breach of public peace and order except in a society characterized by Islamic jungle justice. Why do I say so? 

First of all, let us take a look at the constitutional provision on religious freedom. Section 38(1) of the Nigerian constitution states: “Every person shall be entitled to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion, including the freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom (either alone or in community with others, and in public or in private) to manifest and propagate his religion or belief in worship, teaching, practice, and observance”.

Now as the complaints rightly noted in their petition, Bala has the constitutional right to freedom of religion or belief. But they missed the point in thinking that the alleged Facebook posts were not an exercise in freedom of religion or belief but actions in contempt of religion. 

Look as the petitioners noted, Mubarak Bala was born into a Muslim family but later he changed his religion and became an atheist. In other words, Mr. Bala is not a Muslim. He exercised his right to change his religion and belief. Unfortunately, the petitioners could have clearly understood that Bala’s change of religion -his becoming an atheist- has implications on how he thinks about religions including Islam. Just as a change from atheism to Islam would change how one’s perceives atheism and unbelief.

The complainants should have realized that Bala’s renunciation of Islam has implications, and marks a shift in his perception of Islam including his understanding of Islamic teachings and practices. Bala’s change of religion and his embrace of atheism entails a change in the way he views the prophet of Islam, the way he thinks about the Qur’an. So holding a different view of the prophet of Islam is Bala’s right and entitlement. The petitioners and other Muslims should respect this. if the petitioners acknowledged Bala’s right to change religion and adopt a different view of Islam and the prophet, then how does the said comment fall outside the bounds of religious freedom as provided in the constitution. 

I can imagine that the complainants overlooked or discounted the part of section 38(1) which states that everybody is entitled to “freedom (either alone or in community with others, and in public or in private) to manifest and propagate his religion or belief in worship, teaching, practice, and observance”. If they had considered it, they would not have filed this petition. The alleged Facebook posts are public manifestations of Bala’s changed religious views and perspectives. His comments are public expressions and propagation of his different thoughts about the prophet of Islam. They are consistent with an unbeliever’s outlook of the prophet. Muhammad is a prophet as well as a historical figure, who existed in time and space. So Muhammad could be seen from different -prophetic and non prophetic perspectives by muslims and non muslims.

The petitioners have a flawed understanding of section 38(1) of the Nigerian constitution because while they agreed that Bala has the right to freedom of thought conscience and religion, and is entitled to change his religion or belief, they refused to acknowledge the fact that Bala has, as contained in that section, the right to propagate in private or public, different or other views of the prophet or Islam. This is where their thesis that freedom of thought conscience and religion is not absolute, which the complainants used to build their case against Bala, literally collapsed.

To propose that the said posts could result in public disturbance and breach of public peace is mistaken because such a proposition views public order strictly in relation to Muslims-some muslims- who do not respect the constitution, human rights and the rule of law. Such a position regards public peace in connection with those who view Muhammad as a prophet, while excluding others who hold different notions of the prophet and of Islam. To locate the alleged Facebook posts beyond the limits of religious freedom, and to consider them criminal and as comments that insult or incite contempt of Islamic religion shows poor judgment and understanding of religious diversity and the constitutional provision on freedom of religion or belief.

Free Mubarak Bala.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Founder, Humanist Association of Nigeria; Founder & CEO, Advocacy for Alleged Witches; Convener, Decade of Activism against Witch Persecution in Africa: 2020-2030.

[2] Individual Publication Date: June 1, 2020: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/mubarak-bala-facebook-posts-and-limits-of-religious-freedom.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing and African Freethinker by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and African Freethinker 2012-2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and African Freethinker with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  All interviewees co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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