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Excersus CXX: What Not Precisely Evil Lurks In the Minds...


I am pretty sure that, once we've got it all figured out a decade or so from now, religion will be revealed to be not substantially different from World of Warcraft, neurochemically speaking. WoW gets you by hitting up three of your four happy chemicals - shots of dopamine every time some little thing levels up, of oxytocin when your guild raid comes together just right, and of serotonin when you are entrusted with leading the new hapless noobs through Scarlet Monastery (if that even still exists - it's been a while since I've played, truth be told). It is an elaborate trick played on your DNA - you get all the happiness juice without actually improving your reproductive prospects, and this is precisely religion. You get serotonin from your feeling of being Elect, oxytocin from being in the community of God's people, and dopamine with every sign that you are doing something that has brought heaven that much closer. Warcraft, Metallica concert, Church revival - they're the same damn thing - only one of them has been elevated far beyond its huckster origins to a class of Otherness that it quite clearly doesn't deserve. The religious mind is pulling a fast one, trying to milk the brain for all of its high-grade Stuff at the incredibly low cost of believing that a book is by and large telling the truth. Is it any wonder that the habit is so hard to beat? I know exactly what my brain is doing when I reach for that extra forkfull of cookie dough - know that it's a sham, and a harmful one, but I reach all the same. How much more difficult to let what you Know Is True guide your actions when those actions tear you away from not one, but three sources of chemical happiness at once. Religion is in every way a high form of chemical addiction caught in a nasty feedback loop, and it will be some time before we've gotten it out of our system and replaced it with something equally illusory, but far less dangerous. But out it will go.

- Count Dolby von Luckner

Hate mail and notes of luscious thanks may be sent to The Count at CountDolby@gmail.com.