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Author Topic: Is it possible for a person to fundamentally change based on a book?  (Read 954 times)

Offline thedoc

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Sue Taylor asked the Naked Scientists:
   Hi ... I love the Naked Scientist programmes!  Thanks so much .. here's my question!  I often you hear people say they read something which changes their whole attitude to life etc ... but is this really possible?  eg.  the Paul McKenna books - is it truly possible for people to totally and permanently change their views our outlook by simply reading a book?
What do you think?
« Last Edit: 15/04/2016 04:50:02 by _system »


 

Offline Atomic-S

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There is in fact at least one historical example of exactly this. The man was Martin Luther, and the book was the Bible.
 

Online alancalverd

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Alas, it is true. More people have been killed because they read the wrong book, or didn't read the right book, or read the right book but misinterpreted it, than for any other reason. And all because their killers had read the right book.

Homo sapiens really doesn't merit its self-given name.

Personally, I found Halliday & Resnick "Fundamentals of Physics"; Mellor's Modern Chemistry, Kaye & Laby "Tables of Physical and Chemical Constants"; Gray's Anatomy; and Stringbag "Gliding and Power Flying" to be inspirational in my youth. I have lived by their principles ever since, and never felt inclined to kill anyone (though I certainly know how)  because of what I learned from them. 
 

Offline puppypower

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One book that comes to mind, for me, was a book about Kundalini Yoga. In a nutshell, it about breathing and visualization exercises to develop what was called the seven energy centers.

I was a young scientist, working my first technical job, and wanted to balance out my education. I decided to read all types of things that has not been part of my formal education. I found a book on Kundalini Yoga near the Karate book section in my local bookstore. I decided to do some of the exercises to see what would happen. A good scientist has an open mind.

To make a long story short, after a few weeks of practicing the exercises, some very odd affects began to happen which spooked the heck out of me. I had no rational way to explain what I had experienced. I felt scared because I had no real control over the outcome. It was outside my intellect, will and experience. This induced a quest to learn how the human psyche works.

The most dramatic experience I had, with Kundalini Yoga, was I felt my body inflate like a balloon, as the so called energy centers revved up and were humming. At that point, I felt so light, I thought I could leave my body. This feeling was very unsettling. It was not supposed to happen according to science. As I thought about it, I had no idea how to get back into my body, if I started to leave. I had to work hard to make it stop. That was scary stuff, when your are taught, as a scientist, this type of stuff is hog wash. But I was a trained to observe and the hog wash was happening.

Being a scientist, I was also trained to think in terms of the external world; outside of me. Therefore I initially interpreted leaving my body as an outside affect that would displace me. But in reality, it was all happening inside of me. It was this realization that there are also inside affects, that got me interesting in Psychology. This new focus of study, led to a deep understanding of the collective human psyche. It also led to the scientist in me, using my own brain to run experiments; self observation.

From what I learned, many of the religions of the world, are not about external affects like we often assume. Even Christianity calls the target the inner man. This is why you can't prove the claims of religion using external science. Rather this can be done using internal science. What I learned from my own experience is many things of religion are often connected to command lines for the operating system of the brain.

Kundalini Yoga was my first experience, unknowingly, tweaking the operating system. At the beginning I was like an amateur programmer  trying to change the code in El Capitan but had no idea of the outcome. As time went on, I learned to how to tweak, properly. In the early days, I often screwed up and on several occasions, I triggered a type of system restore process. That was the most interesting observational data. It appears the psyche has a backup copy of the operating system; born again.
 

Offline Atomic-S

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People who monkey with the operating system without understanding the instruction manual may make a serious mess of things.
 

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