The Ultimate Parasite

Peter Williams

The Oxford English Dictionary defines the word ‘Parasite’ as ‘an animal or plant living in or on another’. Biologists have recorded that parasitized plants and animals exhibit behavioural traits that assist the transmission of the invading species from host to host. This is particularly observable among humankind, where people refrain from isolating themselves when suffering from, for instance, the common cold. Current thinking posits that the more virulent and contagious varieties of diseases enable and utilise similar transmission behaviour. I would like to introduce a previously unconsidered candidate for inclusion under the heading ‘Parasite’....Religion! This is not at all fanciful. Are you aware of any society on Earth in which adult members of that society do not contaminate its young soon after birth by that society’s particular cult or religion? The process is precisely that of an invading parasite. All that is required to enable the onward transmission within human culture of a parasite of the nature of religion is something called, within the entertainment industry, a ‘Hook’. A hook is a musical combination of notes from a tune that the human mind extracts, remembers, and compulsively plays repeatedly in the mind. A popular quick selling song will have a combination of words in a particular cadence that, once heard, the human mind has difficulty forgetting or disposing. A very long way back in humankind’s evolution, it was discovered that in numbers there was an element of safety. This eventually consolidated itself as the herding instinct, a habit still utilised by the species today. Nations, Tribes, Social groups, Political affiliations, Unions, Religious enclaves, et al, are all examples of the herding instinct at work. Initially humankind used it to protect the majority of the herd from predation by sacrificing the few. Those individuals that could not benefit the gene pool were, over time, manipulated toward the fringe of the herd where the attendant predators executed the cull. This natural survival attribute occurs in the herds of wild animals living on the plains of Africa today. We call this natural herding instinct among humankind ‘Faith’. It is our evolutionary survival mechanism, and is hard-wired into our psyche. This is particularly noticeable in time of war (and all wars contain a religious element or thrust, but unlike nature, we send the flower of our kind to their death). Faith, therefore, became the prefect Hook. The early unscrupulous promulgators of the multitudinous religious cults inflicted upon humankind over the millennia recognised the existence of this hook. The majority of these cults have been absorbed over the years into the major religions that contaminate humankind today. ‘Modern’ religious leaders wasted no time in exploiting this survival essential by improving upon the ‘attachment’ of their cult or religion to this ‘Hook’.

The Ultimate Parasite

Peter Williams

The connection between Faith and Religion today represents the ubiquitous ‘Leap of Faith’ considered essential to anyone aspiring to become a member of the designated herd. In this way, religion’s hierarchy avoids the explanation of an uncomfortable truth. Religion today enjoys the status of a psychological parasite within humankind civilisation. 15th February 2009 511 words