Sunday, 10 June 2007

Placebo God

Lately I've come across all manner of magical thinking. From the Psychology student who believes that everything happens for a reason, to the woman who believes what the local medium tells her. For this dubious pleasure she pays £30.00.

I've been amongst people who agree that "there's something to astrology." When I protest they say it's because I'm Virgo.

Just yesterday I said "don't be so bloody daft", to someone studying homeopathy. I made them a coffee by repeatedly diluting a cup full until it was nothing more than hot water. Actually, I just poured them a cup of water from the kettle.

Water with memory, for Pete's sake. I said, "At some point, your coffee could have been dishwater, bathwater, piss or spittle. Do you think it remembers that too?"

Right now there's an advert running on the TV espousing the magical properties of crystals. For £6.99 each week, you can buy the magazine and learn how to harness their powerful healing properties. Over 30 weeks, you will build the ultimate collection of real, beautiful crystals. Not bad for £209.70, eh? Eh?

All of this makes me cross. Not just because it's the stuff of nonsense, but that believing it implies an apathy to life.

If everything happens for a reason, then you have no control over your destiny. Once absolved of this responsibility, one needn't worry ever again about making the right choice or doing the right thing.

If our destinies are written into the stars, then we are as helpless as any cosmic karma follower. How I slept well in my bed, once I knew Reagan consulted his astrologer before making decisions of international significance.

Why bother seeking the support and advice of good friends, sharing your worries and concerns, when a magic lady can give you all the answers you need for thirty quid?

God may well be dead, but it seems there's no shortage of magic left in the world. Meh.

8 comments:

Murph said...

I sympathize. Astrologers have been using "The Placebo Effect" for centuries. When a person's own will to believe the astrologer is disguised as the influence of the cosmos, the person is being swindled in a very dubious manner. The movements of the stars and planets are routine, and it's convenient to use those movements to establish a calender, but the stars and planets, themselves, have no direct influence over the course of human events. The so-called magic in and of astrology is an entirely man-made device. And, of course, everything does happen for a reason, that everything is oriented towards survival. I suppose one could find something nice to eat for 30 quid.

Wanderin' Weeta said...

**I said, "At some point, your coffee could have been dishwater, bathwater, piss or spittle. Do you think it remembers that too?"**

Good point! I'm stealing that, if I may?

jamon said...

It's all yours Weeta.

jamon said...

Murph - indeed we have been swindled in a very dubious manner.

I wonder though, whether this Placebo effect could, or should be put to good use?

Whilst there's no good evidence to suggest placebo has an influence on physical pathology, there's a wealth of evidence that placebo's can help pain. Even emotional pain.

Its been estimated that some 75% of an anti-depressants efficacy is placebo.

Is this right / good? I'm not sure.

stuart said...

I recently saw a report in The Pharmaceautical Journal about a new, very expensive drug. It said......

75% of the triallist treated with "DRUG X" saw an improvement in the symptoms, compared with 40% on a sugar pill.

40% cured by a sugar pill (I cant remember what the disease was, but it wasn't something trivial). The placebo effect is very real, and demonstrates how much the mind can affect the body. This also explains why some people are prepared to fork out hundreds of pounds for a crystal.

The NHS could save an absolute fortune by using placebo's in the first instance for treatment of any ailment.

Anonymous said...

Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you penning this write-up
and the rest of the site is very good.

Also visit my homepage ... cooking help

Anonymous said...

Hey there just wanted to give you a quick heads up.

The words in your post seem to be running off
the screen in Chrome. I'm not sure if this is a format issue or something to do with browser compatibility but I figured I'd
post to let you know. The design look great though!
Hope you get the issue resolved soon. Thanks

My website; how to prevent arthritis

Anonymous said...

Hi! Do you know if they make any plugins to safeguard against hackers?
I'm kinda paranoid about losing everything I've worked hard on.
Any tips?

Also visit my web site ... how to cure arthritis