Monday, August 11, 2014

The Demon Haunted World ~ Carl Sagan

I was relieved to find that this book was sectioned through chapters that seem almost like ramblings at times. I quite enjoyed it though, because it became entrapping to simply want to read more.  Usually when a review is asked of students the reading list is of mundane books that couldn't interest a scholar in that field, yet this book is THE scholar as some may say of the truth behind science and pseudoscience. I even took to finding my place in the chapters on the YouTube link below to keep on track when my eyes began to hurt.
Mr. Sagan simply does not write what he feels the world should know at a particular time. As demonstrated in this book he challenges those around him and those who have wrongfully quoted him in the past ( chapter 11 City of grief).  This correlates well with the Textbook we used in classes's chapters 1 and 10.2.  He grasps at those who have quoted him saying things like his statement "on rare occasions seeming to hear the voices of my dead parents  -- what I described as 'a lucid recollection' -- were keynoted by Raymond Moody... as evidence for life after death." as well as another writers concluding that he believes in aliens due to the fact that he worked on the idea of alien life being possible. They grasp at an expert in science's out of context quotes to "prove" their ideals and notions of their beliefs.

My Favorite chapter is without a doubt number 8. As I read I was filled with my own emotions and beliefs of the idea of "visions," deja vu, and of course feelings of unease that lead us to believe a ghost is responsible. I have had many moments that he describes of turning a corner in an unfamiliar town to only be met by a street you swear you recognize.  I have had even moments where I see a movie and feel that I have seen it before as if there was an attempt to remove it from my memory to let me watch it again.
As Mr. Sagan talks more on the subject of abductions (which at times I feel he may be fixated) he reveals noted medical texts and training that states hypnosis is not only unreliable, memories uncovered through such means are likely even more unreliable then memories recalled out of hypnosis.  I remember the text almost as much as Sagan's book goes over the over use and attempts for hypnosis in cases that can be explained by dissociation disorders or schizophrenia. This technique allows the hypnotist to influence the entire recollection process that the client is undergoing and can shape the "memories" even with out their knowing it.

The idea of False memories, something we could all probably go crazy thinking about. I have faced a scenario when a friend remembers something completely different then what the rest of the group that was present remembers through begin reminded of the event and they falsify their own memories by trying to string out the details ad possibilities.  I myself have sworn that I understood what directions I had been given in a class or when I was in the Army, yet I remembered something completely different from what was instructed, with only the written original instructions as proof that I was incorrect.
As interesting as the chapter was I pose another question, If we are capable of falsifying memories without being aware would we not be able to do te same with memories of the taste, feeling, smell, and sound of something as well? In my opinion the answer is clearly, yes. I have found myself remembering the taste of a quesodilla from one of my favorite places to eat, Chicken cooked just right with green and red peppers, red onion and cheddar cheese, balanced out to the perfect taste. Sounds great right? Now add the mozzarella that I completely forgot was in it and actually complained that there was new cheese in it.  The owner/manager that had served me the same thing for almost 3 months on my lunch break 2-3 times a week looked at me in shock and said "it has had the same ingredients since we opened and you've eaten it every time." I once again swore he was wrong, and was forced to accept what seemed to be the truth in that it always did have cheddar and mozzarella.
  Do we then perceive a memory in the form of a smell, like suddenly smelling our significant others perfume or cologne that they frequently wear when we miss them? Ponder this ----->>>

Like the study described in the video ->
Could it simply be that most if not all abduction stories or multiple personality cases like the studies talked about in our text are simply fiction? Did the individuals simply have the starting point and embellish or exaggerate further on the idea?

Since this is a psychology class, I ponder the same question as the video just above with a twist.  How much of your clients memory of a situation is false? I challenge you to write a memory that you have distinctly in your mind, and in  one week, without looking at your previous entry write the memory as you remember it. Did you write less? more? Ask someone who was there about the experience and see if it is congruent with your own account.

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