Thursday, 8 November 2012

God & the Brain

How God changes your Brain - A Neurotheological approach written by Dr. Walid Sarkis. Further emphasized by Joseph Kaiser. 

Science and religion are not opposed to each other. Christians should not fear trying to understand how the two compliment each other”
Pope Benedict XVI to the Vatican’s doctrinal department
Friday 11th of February 2006

Here is one of Michelangelo's master pieces. God reaching towards Adam to give him a soul. But what's unique about this picture? If you've seen the original pic, the cove or shell God is residing in has a remarkable resemblance to the Human brain. Not many people know that Michelangelo as well as other Philosophers, Scientists and Theologists first hypothesized that the entire concept of God is in the human brain. This picture holds many keys and other trivia but I won't progress further for they are irrelevant. The important part is that you understood that the God and the Brain concept isn't something new - it's been around for quite some time.

When the word 'God' comes up, what do we think? What do we feel? Stirs up more emotion? Causes controversy? Causes more love and hatred? Inundates society at every level?

Ways of approaching the concept of God:

1- Theological

2- Evolutionary

3- Psychological

4- Neuroimaging

Can we prove God's eXistence or non eXistence through scientific inquiry? At this point - No. However, Science can tell us how God - as an image - feeling, thought or fact - is interpreted, reacted to and turned into a perception that feels meaningful and real. We can use Science to determine the effect of God on the brain and body.

Perception and Phenomenology:

If a belief in God provides you with a sense of comfort and security, then God will enhance your life.

But if you perceive God as a vindictive deity, such belief can actually damage your brain as you act out in socially destructive ways.

So, where in the Brain do we 'think' and 'feel' God? Books such as 'The God Neuron' and 'Why God won't go away' use state of the art instruments to locate an area in the Brain responsible for this.

Here is your average favorite citizen. Now take a pen and pinpoint or mark the area between 'Your ad here' and 'TV Time' That point area between your Prefrontal CorteX and Temporal lobe is the God part of the brain.

Here is an fMRI scan of the Brain at Baseline.

Here is an fMRI scan of the Brain while a believer is undergoing prayer.

If you notice the bottom left part that is red is the language area of the brain since you're 'talking' even in thought. But what's the interesting part? Look to the top left area of the brain that's glowing red. That's the God part of the brain activated. This area of the brain releases hormones that makes the person feel 'safe, happy and at peace' as well as make the person feel one with the Universe.

For atheists who were asked to pray, this area remained inactive and turned off. However something interesting to add. You can say there are two types of Atheists, which I'd call Complete Atheist and Unsure Atheist. When a complete Atheist is asked to pray, that area is turned off but when an Unsure Atheist prays, that area has a little glow that's activated. Why? Because a sure Atheist doesn't believe in nothing and nothing at all. The Unsure Atheist may believe in, say - The Big Bang. Now the Big Bang isn't God but the fact they believe in it, the brain recognizes it as a compensation for what it's lacking. You can say that the brain normally wants to believe just like how the stomach wants to eat. Surprisingly, many of these 'Atheists' go through Psychological Defense Mechanisms constantly attacking beliefs and religious concepts. Truth is, all of them are having an unconscious war with their brain that makes them react and transfer these actions socially.

How does the 'Brain' 'think' about God?

Involves the Parietal Lobes
Oneness of God
Oneness of all things
Importance of the concept of God as a unifying force

Willfulness and Surrender

Feelings of willfulness and surrender comes from the frontal lobes and from the prefrontal ones.
What happens when we surrender ourselves to God?
What about speaking in tongues?

As you can see, when we surrender ourselves to God during prayer, this phenomenal activity happens. The brain reaches its own state of 'Nirvana' with all areas fully indulged and activated. Call it a Braingasm.

The eXistentional function:

The brain believes the things it perceives are real
We assign reality based upon the degree to which something seems real
In conjunction with binary operator, we can establish eXistence from non-eXistence
So why do some believe God eXists and others do not?
So as you can see, the Brain is created and programmed to believe in a higher entity. The argument that society created God is completely wrong. Nobody is born an Atheist. The argument that society created religion is true, but not God. When you have a brain that wants to believe in God, it is normal for people to create something called Religion. Just like we have a stomach that's hungry, it's normal for people to create something called kitchen and cooking class. It doesn't need a genius to figure that out. 
  This picture above is another fMRI scan taken during a meditation practice. As you can see, the brain started to become active and more active. The results were: 
Subject had improved in a verbal fluency test
Subject had concentration levels substantially improved
Subject's health, breathing, heart rate etc were also remarkably improved. 
So what does God look like? 
     This was drawn by a boy (age 6) with God as an Old man with a long beard and having a dominating presence and voice. Clearly this boy was lectured by his father or any other male archetype in order to have reached this idea of how God is. So basically, this kid drew a picture of his own father without consciously grasping it. 
Here is another picture of a girl, aged 12. 
You can say this is a more mature drawing. This girl drew symbols of peace, the sun - the source of life and light on the planet - the gender symbols as unity all revolving in a circle of love in the universe. This girl has a healthier idea than the previous picture.

So other results as a summary of what God looks like?

60% drew abstract or nature scenes
20% drew faces
15% were blank
But blank did not always mean “no answer”
Of atheists, 50% left it blank
So what does God feel like? 
  Baylor study (2010)
Four types of God
Is there a fifth type?
Mystical God
The right way to perceive God is Benevolent because you give and receive and sets you in a path of self journey, fulfillment and also helps in achieving the most important thing: Humility. 
So what happens when we have a negative view on God?
1 - Negative views on God can be very detrimental. 
2-In the individual, it can cause stress, anXiety and depression. Studies have shown that Atheists are in a higher severe chance of developing stress, anXiety and depression for reasons far less than they should. 
3-When God is perceived negatively, the scans showed that the brain structures associated with negative emotions are activated to create a stress response.
4- Causes outward destructive behaviors. 
In conclusion, to believe in God doesn't mean you lose your independence. You  can have a relationship with God without being part of the constitution. If you communicate with God in your way, it is healthier than none at all. God is a personal thing not an entity found in Church. The belief of God helps the mind and body as Science has shown us. In the end, all that can be said:
Have Faith! :) 

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Case Study: Miriam KLINK

Hello everyone! First and foremost if you're here because bestiality turns you on then I'm sorry you've come to the wrong place. For those who don't know what bestiality is, well, I'll be happy to ruin your innocent mind. SeXual intercourse between a human being and an animal. In this case, for those who want to see the legendary epic 3antar the Cat dominate Lady Gaga's long lost offspring, stop reading HERE.

Now for the past weeks, besides the music scene officially going to hell in a nicely designed hand basket, the new obsession has been centered around an intriguing figure who goes by the name of Miriam Klink. Being the Psy dude that I am, my friends couldn't stop bothering me to ask what was up with her. I decided to do a bit of research because free time should never be wasted. I hated myself for trying because the horror I dwelt in, I pray the good Lord keeps all of you safe. 

Now nobody here needs a degree in Psychology because I'm going to break it down step by step :) Being a foreigner, I couldn't tell if the song was really about her cat or about her vagina but I was too embarrassed to ask. You know me with Arabic - I was bothered people would go, 'Ew you sick bastard it's an innocent cat!!' But then gladly my favorite Lebanese comedian Nemr Abou Nassar cleared it out for me. 

Okay so let's look at the symptoms :D 

1 - We've got a bimbo that's made a certain plastic surgeon very very rich. 
2- Educational level down the drain. 
3- Matches traits of Histrionic Personality Disorder/Borderline. 
4- Peter Pan Syndrome (Also known as Neverland Syndrome)
5- Possibly Delusional.

So up on front, Miriam or Myriam - whatever - appears to be a dumb air-headed bimbo in her mid 30s that destroyed music along with her accomplice, 3antar. BUT since you're not a psychologist, these symptoms may not be visible. Let's target one by one :) 

1- Miriam is concerned with her self image, which is why she has totaled enough plastic surgeries to the point she's walking plastic and she'll melt close to a candle. Whether she is satisfied or not, she has 'severe' insecurity issues. I doubt she is conscious about it though given the fact she's been raised like a farm princess. What you need to know here is behind that pop star face, she might probably be having Body Dimorphic Disorder. Maybe that solves her love for her cat? Picking the cat up, staring into his eyes and asking, '3antar, you find me pretty, don't you?' Can you imagine that happening? Makes sense now, huh?

2 - Miriam seems only to be concerned about the spot light - HPD - but we'll get to that later. What you need to know is that her cognitive processes aren't up to standards which means she'll interpret things differently. If you follow Anis Tabet on twitter and read his BassYaHabla jokes, she fits those perfectly in terms of cognitive processes. 

3- Alas! Most people think disorders are only psychotic in nature like Schizophrenia, Delusional etc but you're wrong! Personality Disorders eXist and are very very very common! For Miriam, she matches Histrionic Personality Disorder. The easiest way to define this disorder is the love for attention to the point if she doesn't receive it, she'll start faking fainting spells or talking really loud etc All that goes on up there is how to stay in the spot light. Now take what I just said and amplify it by 15. Surely we all have friends we call Drama Queens. You can notice it in her attitude, her writing, her speech etc However, since HPD is in the Cluster B - she might have tendencies of developing into Borderline Personality. This form of personality is seen in people like Britney Spears, Madonna, Lohan, Hilton etc Yes, it is categorized by people who are very unstable that they just get drunk and have intercourse like there's no tomorrow (And of course other things but we don't need to dwell into that). So definitely she matches both traits of this disorder and she is in need of therapy. You guys shouldn't be surprised - the prevalence is around 8% and Miriam turned out to be the severe case.

4- Now the Peter Pan Syndrome (Also known as Neverland Syndrome). Though this has a funny name, it's pretty serious. This syndrome is given to people who have long passed their teenage years yet refuse to grow up. In some cases, some elderly women wear skirts and start putting ketchup down there believing its the time of the month. At first I thought Miriam was just another Bimbo teenager acting stupid but damn she's way beyond college. Besides her Histrionic tendencies, you can see in her writing she wants to be that princess you see in cartoons - she literally writes Hihihihihihi. She IS NOT kidding around - she believes in heart and soul it is cute and it will give her love and rainbows and innocence and probably a Unicorn to sleep with. Eventually she'll turn to more surgeries but the mirror on the wall will start cracking, eXposing her reality. That will lead her to crack because nobody can fight off Father Time. When I mean crack, I mean severe depression and the nucleus of her borderline traits will fully dominate. Just like Britney or Madonna. I could not find a perfect eXample more than that. 

5- Possibly delusional? Possible! I may be going too far with this BUT I'll be honest I'm only assuming out of observation. Miriam posted, 'I would like to thank all the middle eastern countries (SERBIA, United States, Brazil, Australia) etc for their continuous support. Everyone in Lebanon attacked me because of a song! Anyways I'll show them when I become a model at Victoria's secret' It was something like that. Now what's a delusion? An idiosyncratic belief or impression that is firmly maintained despite being contradicted what is generally accepted as reality. This is a symptom of psychosis. Look at Mariam Noor for eXample, she has the belief that aliens are her BFF <3 This is clearly a mystical delusion and if accompanied with hallucinations, develops fully into Schizophrenia. So am I going too far? Well I'm not sure I need more than just observing I think I did pretty okay so far. So what's Miriam's delusion? It doesn't have to be severe as in aliens are her best friends but that doesn't matter because if the delusion is small, it can eventually grow. Miriam may or may not be modeling for victoria's secret she might just believe she is OR she might be lying because she needs attention. If she firmly believes she is yet she isn't then look into that. Maybe her delusion could be the fact that the entire world loves her and worships her and by God that isn't the case. Yet I'm gut sure there might be something bizarre, even so small that has a '?' stamped on it. 

To end this, I thank you for reading this far it's always good to learn but I can only hope one thing - if we don't accept something even those who hate us, we should never be quick to judge. I'm not asking that we should all go study psychology to know symptoms and whatever but at least show pity and take into consideration that some people are in need of help. Once again, thanks for reading. If you found this offensive, burn some tires. 

- Joey Kaiser.    

Monday, 6 February 2012

Histrionic Personality Disorder

We all have that one person we call a Drama Queen. And I'm pretty sure you can think up of a few actors and actresses that should earn the Drama Queen award *cough* Paris Hilton annoying bitch *cough* uh! Maybe you've had one of those days where you've woken up and realized the society you live in are full of those? Well, you'd be surprised to know that it is a disorder. Many people believe disorders in Psychology have to do with Psychosis but that's not true at all. In fact, neurotic disorders are even more common than psychotic. We don't meet a schizophrenic everyday but we certainly do know a couple of personality disorders. In this blog, I'll be talking about the Histrionic Personality Disorder and I’ve decided to make it an easy read for everyone so eXcuse the sarcasm and personal opinions for those professionals who read this. And it will be partially focused on the Lebanese society though it eXists everywhere but I wanted YOU readers to relate with clinical ideas.

Found in AXIS II [Cluster B]

In order for this disorder to be diagnosed, it should complete a minimum of these 5 symptoms:
  • is uncomfortable in situations in which he or she is not the center of attention;
  • interaction with others is often characterized by inappropriate sexually seductive or provocative behavior;
  • displays rapidly shifting and shallow expression of emotions;
  • consistently uses physical appearance to draw attention to self;
  • has a style of speech that is excessively impressionistic and lacking in detail;
  • shows self-dramatization, theatricality, and exaggerated expression of emotion;
  • is suggestible, i.e., easily influenced by others or circumstances;
  • considers relationships to be more intimate than they actually are.

    And yes, I do mean 5 and more. So take your time again and re-read those symptoms. Ring any bells?
    So what causes this? Well, using our trusty Bio-Psy-Social model, the psychologists specialized in these disorders gave a few pointers. Biologically, some mentioned that people are predisposed to these traits. But from what I can tell you, it's a social model more than anything. Focusing on Lebanon, we live in a society of competition. Unfortunately, the Lebanese want to live like Royalty. You could be Kurt Cobain but in Lebanon, if you don't park with a Ferrari, suited up, three babes (you know the drill) then getting into those big clubs will be a problem. The Lebanese society is very corrupted - it's a society where money talks way more than it usually should. So why am I mentioning these? It's important to know that desire plays a big role in HPD.  So in a society that breeds competition where everybody wants to be the big shot, you 'adapt' your traits to be socially acceptable. How many Lebanese girls do you know that sing? My God, they are everywhere! They take their voice as a divine object and center their life around it. I might as well wear my black belt to Church. So anyways, I hope you're getting the picture. It's just like the animal kingdom, we adapt to survive and fit in because in the end, we want acceptance. You can say it best starts at childhood when the typical mother is dressing up her little princess with the new shoes and dress and telling her, “These are so beautiful! No other girls in school have these clothes show go show them how pretty you are!” This is something you’ve seen or heard more than once. This programs the little child on a whole new level.

    Two different girls with HPD or at least a few symptoms of it can be quite a show. Never thought of one? Here's an eXample: Ever been in a pub where one girl decides she's so wasted and starts to dance on the tables and all the guys start clapping like monkeys? Yeah besides that, take note that a few minutes later, another chick decides to start dancing on the bar. To you, it's wel3ane! wow great night! To me, the sentence: It's on BITCH is floating around. And they may be puking rainbows at one another, but that's just a bunch of lies - these girls are out to kill one another if given the chance.

    So now we'll review the symptoms! The first one is the Histrionic is uncomfortable where he or she (it's mostly a she btw so I’ll stick to she eXamples) isn't the center of attention. I mean it isn't like they're just feeling irritated. As a Psychologist, take note of body language. As a normal but special person, watch out for certain things. For eXample, she might just make up a story for you to have full attention. She's pretty good with her eyes and her movement in order to keep you going with the flow. She might as well go as far as pretending to faint. Remember, when she enters the room, she takes note of her surroundings. She isn't the type to fall one and risk losing an eye, she plans it carefully. If that happens, ignore her.

    By the way, take note that intelligence doesn't have much to weigh here. You can find HPD with low intelligence and they react eXplosively and you can find HPD with high intelligence and they can lead you on.

    Interactions with others are usually associated provocative and seXually seductive. Yes, they could meet you for the first time and could make you believe you've got a chance. That's their way of introducing themselves. The best weapon is to be dry.

    They use a style of speech that spells out denial. The proper eXample are those Like oh my God cheerleaders you see in movies. And they also make their voice be heard while stressing on the words.

    The drama queen eXaggerates emotions to a level that might look ridiculous. The usual spoiled teens with the girl that finds out her boyfriend commented on a girl's picture and they set up a huge comeback for that 'like' and thanks comment. They make love look like it's magic. Or if you're the type that believes it's magical, well, they make it more magical than it already is :p In this case, they make relationships or try to make their relationships be just like the fairytale books. Now though this may sound absurd to you, a smart one can shape it to a fairytale of the modern century. Not all girls are dumb enough to want the Twilight love. Some just prefer classic MeXican Love Stories.

    So if you have 5 or more of these symptoms, congratulations! If you have a few of these, you're listed as 'other' with tendencies and good potential. Now don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with these - it's not your fault entirely. Personally, this pisses me off and I encourage personality counseling.

    Now let's take a few notes of the type of people who have these attributes. From facebook, look out for the girl who is constantly changing her profile picture. It doesn't matter what she looks like in profile picture but what really matters is that she has a continuous need to eXpose herself.  Yeah so tell the girl with the bikini profile picture during the middle of icy February that she isn't the likes she gets. 
    Also, they have this celebrity thing of look what I'm doing - they love to upload their pictures from mobile every single day. I mean, we see these girls go clubbing but calculate the amount of time spent there and the seconds they took pictures - what part of fun did you have in the end? O wow I'm taking 1000 pictures in the club I've been at 20 times in one month.

    Also, still on facebook, watch their reaction if they're having boyfriend problems. They usually try to eXalt themselves to show who they are. They don't know a bit of poetry but as soon as they encounter a relationship problem, they suddenly become Poet, Feminist and Girl Gone Wild. Now this behavior is quite typical with all human beings as a defense mechanism to feeling better but there is a strong correlation with HPD and this certain reaction.

    A good eXample of a HPD on youtube is that annoying bitch I can’t stand: Jenna Marbles or Jennifer Marbles – something like that. Have you ever seen her videos? It’s quite sad, really – it’s the drama queen gone psychologist/comedian. One way or another, she goes ‘I bought some new swim suits and then proceeds to show skin’. Another vid she’s talking about guys who aren’t loyal or whatever relationship problems. So how do you possibly give advice if you’re acting like a stripper?

    Besides internet, I’ve mentioned above where you usually find these people – that’s right, pubs and clubs. Their favorite past time is dancing, clubbing and pubbing. That’s not so hard to realize why since it’s the main place to get the spotlight.

    So what's the best weapon against these people? Ignorance is Bliss. These people are annoying and I ignore them til they go away or til their skin sheds. But if you want to enjoy the ride, drama, etc. then go ahead nothing is stopping you. Like I said, there's nothing wrong. It's only called a disorder because it passes the threshold of social ethics. A pretty peacock on fire can become dangerous in society.

    So, I guess that rounds up a good summary to this disorder. There's more to come! I'll take in any questions! Cheers!