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Psychology of the curse

Updated on March 27, 2013
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I am not talking about taboo swear words in this essay, I want to talk about the magic curse; the kind a Voodoo practitioner might conjure. How do they work? Can they do real damage? Certainly, believers think so.

It is common for ancient secrets to be protected by a curse. Some Egyptian tombs were said to have Baste (a very frightening cat goddess) protecting them. Even the bible tells us at the end that it is not to be altered under penalty of divine retribution.

In fact many secret scripts are said to be cursed. But what struck me as strange was that a modern religion/world view would engage in such tactics.

I read a story called the Xenu recently. It’s the genesis story reserved for only the high levels of Scientology. It’s a science fiction story about how a ruler from a far off planet brought billions of his people to earth in a DC8, killed them, and trapped their souls here and made them forget their traumatic experiences and their origin so they could never go back to the their planet.

We are those souls reincarnated, and the human condition of suffering is due to the false knowledge that was implanted in us to suppress our true nature.

It is said that if you read this text before you are ready, and before you are cleared to do so by the church, (after paying a fortune for the privilege) you will suffer pneumonia.

Well I read it just as soon as I could get my hands on it, and of course, I didn’t contract pneumonia. Don’t worry, you won’t get it just by reading this. Only reading the actual text is cursed.

It seems obvious why this particular document is cursed. Scientology swears their members to secrecy before they are given the document. After all, how could Scientology charge for the information if the first person who gets it posts it on the internet or gives it away to anyone that asks?

But a curse has that “what if” factor. Don’t tempt fate. Even non-believers get that niggling uncertainty. It’s one thing to know intellectually that there is no power in a curse, and really knowing for a fact that there is no power in the curse.

Very few of us have stood on a hill top and cursed god to the lowest, inviting him to strike us down if he really existed, knowing that he wouldn’t because no one is there to strike us down or be offended by our taunting. But for those who have, the experiment is liberating. After all, one must do experiments in order to verify or falsify a claim.

But the exorcize serves more than one purpose. Even though intellectually that a curse can’t harm you, there is a part inside that doubts and wonders and is a little frightened. The only way to rid yourself of all doubt is to tempt fate and keep doing so until all doubt is erased. If you can do that, you become bullet proof.

One telling point about any religion is that you must believe for things to happen. Same goes for magic and curses. The reason it is telling is because if you do not believe, the good things promised or the curse cast have no effect.

Why is that? One of the ways we as human beings know something is real is by the fact that it exists whether we believe it or not. Real things have real effects whether we believe in those things or not. We certainly can’t see atoms, but we know they exist through a vast amount of evidence.

But most religions tell us to believe and to have faith. Buddhism is one religion that breaks that trend. It tells its adherents not to believe just because they are being told something by a master, but to look in to the information and to satisfy themselves of its validity.

And while the bible says to knock and the door will be opened, meaning seek and you will find answers, some Christians take a dim view of science and knowledge other than their particular brand. That being not worldly knowledge, but other worldly knowledge. Listening to the heart instead of the logical mind is thought valuable.

In other words, it’s all in the mind, not outside the mind. If one believes, then the person will often trigger a negative response themselves, or put themselves in a frame of mind where they experience what they want to experience, or what they fully expect to experience.

The mind is a very powerful thing, and it is prone to creating its own reality. To guard against that one has to guard against belief. But one also has to guard against fear and irrational doubt. Fear can make you see and experience things that are not real, but that seem justify the fear.

Confirmation bias is a very real problem for human beings.

Now to you and me the story of Xenu may sound farfetched and like a bad sci-fi novel. And it probably would to the uninitiated as well if that was the first thing they were told. Instead Scientology claims to be able to make people understand their true nature, making it possible for them to be all that they can be, as well as being at peace with themselves in their own skin.

Well who doesn’t want that? The trouble is that they accomplish those feelings by a kind of hypnosis which is illegal in some places and outlawed within the psychiatric and psychology professions. It’s a type of hypnosis in which the person doing the hypnotizing takes full control of the state. This is part of their auditing process.

Then there is the fact that each level costs a lot of money to achieve. By the time a person is at the level where they are told about Xenu, they are committed to the religion, fully invested, and will buy it all hook line and curse.

Now it can be argued, and has been by some scientologists, that like the OT where magic happens all the time, Xenu is metaphorical. There is something in it which only those ready to accept the knowledge will understand. To everyone else it is a fairy tale.

They also say that it is not a central core belief, after all, it comes only at the highest levels. The average scientologist doesn’t even know about it. That is they didn’t until it was leaked.

But one of their core beliefs is that they have been reincarnated many times and that some of those incarnations have been on other planets.

Sounds to me like they are just laying the ground work early on; the curse just an add-on, in case the signed document of nondisclosure isn’t enough. The motivations of the religion seem clear enough.

The point is, of course, that a curse has no more power than those who believe in it give it. Test that for yourselves by all means. Curse out the gods, read Xenu, open a tomb, laugh in the face of a voodoo curse; and know for a fact that nothing negative is going to come from it by supernatural means. Then you will be free. Well at least you will be free from superstition and those pesky curses.

No it isn’t rude. No it isn’t dangerous. It’s liberating.

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    • christopheranton profile image

      Christopher Antony Meade 5 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

      I've got a slight cold. I hope I haven't made it worse by reading your article.

    • Rhonda D Johnson profile image

      Rhonda D Johnson 5 years ago from Somewhere over the rainbow

      ya shmaht.

    • Slarty O'Brian profile image
      Author

      Ron Hooft 5 years ago from Ottawa

      I don't think you can buy it except through the church. I read it, but I didn't buy it. ;)

    • Rhonda D Johnson profile image

      Rhonda D Johnson 5 years ago from Somewhere over the rainbow

      In the case of the Xenu, maybe he curse is actually a sales gimmick. Think about it, would you have bought the book if there were no curse?

      So they don't want folks to read it unless they're sure they will accept it? In other words, they don't want people to know how cooky they are unless they're sure that person is just as cooky.

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