How Donald Trump Hypnotized The Nation

How Donald Trump Hypnotized The Nation

And when I say "hypnotized," I mean it
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Anyone who read my article from last week (and I’m assuming you all did, since I obviously have so many loyal readers) knows that I love hypnosis. I saw a hypnosis show at the beginning of my freshman year of college, and it fascinated me so much that I began to get training from the performer, read a ton of books on the subject, studied hypnosis through other sources, and practiced like wild until finally putting on my own show near the end of the year. I can now say quite confidently that I am damn good at hypnosis.

Then there’s Donald Trump.

And I thought I was a master of my craft.

I really need to make this clear. When I say, as in the title, that Donald Trump “hypnotized the nation,” I’m not speaking metaphorically. I’m not making some sort of edgy political statement. I’m not trying to be symbolic. I mean that Donald Trump has literally used several of the same methods as a stage hypnotist in order to influence people. Let me be blunt here; compared to Donald Trump, my hypnosis skills are like a buttered-up fish trying to climb a wall made of melting chocolate. In fact, if he wanted to, Trump could probably convince people that it was possible to build a wall of chocolate between the USA and Canada, and make Canada pay for it. When I say he could do this, I am not exaggerating. Have you seen a hypnosis show? You can tell the volunteers that there is a dog on stage, and they actually see a dog where there is nothing. Honestly, Donald Trump could probably tell his supporters that the wall between us and Mexico has already been built and that Mexico paid for it, and many of them would genuinely believe it.

How does hypnosis work? It is a bit complicated, but the basics are this: relaxation, focus, repetition, confidence. To sum up Trump’s campaign, he says the most ridiculous stuff over and over again with so much power and confidence that people actually believe it. Think for one second. Literally one second. Can we build a wall between us and Mexico and make Mexico pay for it? Can Donald Trump personally ensure that that will happen without just annexing Mexico? This is like asking “Do vaccines cause autism?” The answer is no. Allow me to repeat that, because suggestion takes hold by repetition. The answer is no. This isn’t a debate. This isn’t something that we should even have to consider in any way, and yet so many people believe it. The former president of Mexico said, “I’m not going to pay for that f**king wall.” Trump’s response? “The wall just got 10 feet higher!” And guess what? His audiences cheered for that. They cheered as if it is a genuine possibility. There are other, more subtle aspects to Donald’s methods as well, such as repeated changes of tempo in his rallies and the use of suggestive chanting (“Build that wall!”) to create a level of conformity that I, for one, have never before seen. But these extra subtleties would require much more in-depth analysis and explanation that would take a lot more time and space than I have in this article.

Do other politicians use these techniques? Yeah, definitely. However, I would say that it is on a much lower level, and in many cases, unintentional. It is pretty disrespectful to bend the truth or even tell a blatant lie and hope that voters believe it, but Donald Trump has actually managed to invent his own reality and convince people that it is the real world. Regardless of what level of intelligence Trump has, he certainly knows what he is doing. He may not know it as “hypnosis,” but beyond a shadow of a doubt, this is one of the largest acts of mass hypnosis in history.

So, are Trump supporters just stupid? No. That is something that everyone needs to understand. The common belief now at, say, Illinois Wesleyan, the very liberal university that I attend, is that only crazy and stupid people could vote for Trump. This is not accurate. First, not every single Donald supporter favors him due to hypnotic influence. However, for those who have been caught up in this, hypnosis has little, if any, correlation with intelligence. One of the most common misconceptions that I hear all the time about hypnosis is that people who are “weak-minded” can be hypnotized more easily. This isn’t true. Pretty much anyone can be hypnotized. I assure you that there are plenty of very intelligent people who support Donald, and many of them are, essentially, hypnotized.

Now, there is one question left unanswered. If Donald Trump is such a good hypnotist, why is there so much opposition to him? A very large portion of this country is vehemently opposed to the idea of Donald as president. Perhaps the best aspect of hypnosis is that you can not be hypnotized against your will. You need to be open to it and really willing to give it a try. The things that Donald Trump says are, upon first listen, enough to convince half of this country that he is a terrible person. We close our minds to him (and I’m not saying that anti-Trump citizens like me are closed minded; refer to the quote at the bottom of this page next to the wonderful picture of my face), and therefore, it becomes rather difficult for us to fall prey to his influence. However, those who liked him at the beginning -- or even those who didn’t really like him, but who gave him a chance, took his scary opinions seriously, and who have let themselves be sucked into his wild whirlwind of bullcrap are now under his figurative spell.

The bottom line is, if you are willing to let Donald influence you, he can, and once he gets his foot in the door, it can be very difficult to turn back. You see, hypnosis is like a chainsaw. It is a tool, and like all tools, it can be used for both good and evil. So, Mr. Trump, if you ever read this article somehow, let me kindly ask you to leave hypnosis to stage performers. It’s a fun thing for a show, but every show must end. You may be able to create an illusion in which you are god-like, but you can not actually change reality, and if you become president, reality will catch up with you.




Cover Image Credit: The New Yorker

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Islam Is Not A Religion Of Peace, But Neither Is Christianity

Let's have in honest converation about the relgious doctrine of Islam

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Islam is not a religion of peace.

Christianity is also not a religion of peace.

But, most people in both religions are generally peaceful.

More specifically, bringing up the doctrine of Christianity is a terrible rebuttal to justify the doctrine of Islam.

That is like saying, "Fascism is not a good political ideology. Well, Communism isn't any good either. So, Fascism is not that bad after all."

One evil does not justify another evil. Christianity's sins do not justify Islam's.

The reason why this article is focused on Islam and not Christianity is the modern prevalence of religious violence in the Islamic world. Christianity is not without its evil but there is far less international terrorist attacks and mass killing perpetrated by Christians today than by those of Islam.

First, let's define "religious killings," which is much more specific than a practicer of a religion committing a murder.

A religious killings are directly correlated with the doctrines of the faith. That is different a human acting on some type of natural impulse killing someone.

For example, an Islamic father honor killing his daughter who was raped is a religious killing. But an Islamic man who catches his wife cheating and kills her on the spot is a murder, not a religious killing. The second man may be Islamic but the doctrine of Islam cannot be rationally held at fault for that killing. Many men with many different religions or experience would make the same heinous mistake of taking a life.

Second, criticizing a doctrine or a religion is not a criticism of everyone that practices the religion.

It is not even a criticism of everyone who make mistake while inspired by the religions. Human are willing to do heinous things when governed by a bad cause. Not every World War 2 Nazis was a homicidal maniac but human nature tells them to act this way in order to survive in their environment. It is hard to fault a person from traits that comes from evolutionary biology and natural selection.

However, commenting on a philosophy, ideology or a religion is not off limits. Every doctrine that inspires human action should be open for review. The religion may be part of a person's identity and it holds a special place in its heart but that does not mean it should be immune to criticism.

Finally, before going into a deconstruction of the myth that Islam is a religion of peace, there needs to be a note about the silencing of talking about Islam.

There is a notion in Western Society that if a person criticizes Islam, then that person hates all Muslims and the person suffers from Islamophobia. That is not the case, a person to criticize religion without becoming Donald Trump. In Western Society criticizing fundamental Christians is never seen as an attack on all Christians because there is a lot of bad ideas in the Bible that Christians act on. Therefore, criticizing Islam should have the same benefit of the doubt because the Quran has many bad ideas in it.

The Quran advocates for war on unbelievers a multitude of times. No these verses are not a misreading or bad interpretation the text. Here are two explicit verses from the Quran that directly tell Followers to engage in violence:

Quran 2: 191-193:

"And kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out. And Al-Fitnah (disbelief or unrest) is worse than killing... but if they desist, then lo! Allah is forgiving and merciful. And fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief and worshipping of others along with Allah) and worship is for Allah alone. But if they cease, let there be no transgression except against Az-Zalimun (the polytheists and wrong-doers)"

Quran 2: 216:

"Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knoweth, and ye know not."

There is no rational way to interrupt these passages in a peaceful way. The whole premise of both passages is to inspire followers that war against the unbeliever is justified.

The first verse advocates for genocide against non-believers for the mere transgression that a society worships a different god or worships another god along with Allah.

The second passage is arguable more dangerous because the first passage just advocate that fighting may be a necessity, while the second passage encourages it. The second passage claims that war on the unbeliever is a good thing under the eyes of Allah.

The reason why these passages are dangerous is because they directly incite religious violence. For most followers of Allah, these passages are ignored or they convince themselves the passages means something they do not. However, for a large numbers of followers that view the text of the Quran as the unedited words of Allah, these texts become extremely dangerous. These passages become all the rational they need to wage war on non-believers.

This is dangerous because there are millions of followers of Islam worldwide that believe every statement in the Quran is true.

Therefore, the Quran becomes a direct motivation and cause for its followers to attack non-followers. Rationally one can understand where the Islam follower comes from, if a person truly believes that Allah or God himself wrote these words then why would you not comply.

Especially when there is verses in the Quran that says the Follower who does not fight the infidel is not as worthy of a Follower that does wage war against the non-believer (Quran 4:95). Finally, when male Followers are told that their martyrdom fighting for the faith will be rewarded with an eternity in paradise with 72 virgins for personal pleasure. If a Follower truly believes all of this is the spoken word of Allah then there is more rational why a person would commit these atrocities then why they would not.

Men and women are radicalized by these passages on a daily basis.

No, it is not just the poor kid in Iraq that lost his family to an American bombing run that indiscriminately kills civilians but also the middle classed Saudi Arabian child or some Western white kid that finds the Quran appealing. If radicalization were just poor people, then society would not have much to be worried about. However, Heads of States, college educated people and wealthy Islamic Followers are all being radicalized and the common dominator is the doctrine of Islam.

Osama Bin Laden, one of the most infamous terrorist in history, was not a poor lad that was screwed by the United States military industrial complex. Bin Laden was the son of a billionaire, that received an education through college from great schools. There is no other just cause for Bin Laden to orchestrate such grievous attacks on humanity besides religious inspirations. A person can rationally tie Islam Followers gravitation towards terrorism to a specific verse. Quran 3: 51 tells readers,

"Soon shall we cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers."

Any rational person can tie Islamic passages like this directly to terrorism. It is not a complicated correlation to like Nazism and Jewish persecution to Christianity. The Holy Book of Islam directly encourages the Followers of Islam to inflict terrorism unto the non-believer.

So why do some many people deny these obvious truths about Islam and violence?

Political Correctness and the want to not be viewed as a bigot. The correlations here are as direct as the terrors of the Spanish Inquisitions and Catholicism and no one is afraid to retrospect and say, "Yes Christianity caused the direct murder of thousands of people". A person would not even be controversial if one stated that both World Wars has significant religious undertones. However if anyone states that terrorism and violence has a direct link with Islam then there is an outcry.

Even President Obama refused to use the terms Islam and Muslim when publicly talking about the War on Terrorism. I am a hypocrite also because I used the term Islamic Follower instead of Muslim in an attempt to sound more political correct.

That is a problem when society refuse to use terms that are correct in an attempt to not offend anyone. Imagine if scientist could not report their findings because the underlying politics. Society needs to be able to have open dialogue about this problem or else it will never heal. Society needs to throw away the worrisome about being politically correct and focus on identifying the problems and solving them.

The world of Islam needs to open themselves up to this criticism.

There can no longer be a closing of dialogue where the West cannot speak on the doctrines of Islam because they are not partakers (That applies to all organized religion too, especially the Catholic Church). People who draw Muhammed must no longer be threatened with attacks on their life.

When Islamic women and men speak up about the sins of Islam, they must stop being silenced. If humanity is going to take steps into the future with better technology and more dangerous weaponry, then we need to solve this problem with Islam and gradually to organized religion at all.

If not it will doom us way before we get there…

Thank you for reading and if you enjoyed this article follow my podcast on Twitter @MccrayMassMedia for more likewise discussions.

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https://unsplash.com/photos/JFirQekVo3U

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Finding Empathy in Trump's America

Since when did asking if we should pay taxes for public healthcare become a legitimate question?

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Moving to New York City at the age of 19 to pursue a summer internship in public art was bold. I have never lived alone before. It is my first time having to feed and care for myself without the assistance of college. Although I often hear that moving to new york is never a bad idea, I have found myself in doubt sometimes. This city is expensive. I'm renting a room in Brooklyn that has no closet, AC, and is the size of my bed (a full by the way). I went to get a grilled cheese, and it cost sixteen dollars. But there are benefits.

Just a walk down the street reveals art murals so vast I could inspect them forever. I see everyone from guys with their shorts hanging off their butts to men in suits. I have seen art from the beginning of our species arrival on this planet at the MET. I have seen installations at the Guggenheim that encouraged me to think about how people perceive the roles of wives in China. I have been led blindfolded through a sound installation in City Hall Park that highlighted air pollution and the experiences of those with breathing ailments. I have kissed someone in Central Park on top of the Shakespeare Garden. I have walked around Chinatown and grabbed dinner at a random restaurant. I have tried tiramisu tea at this cute Chinese place and the best salad of my life at Chopt. I have taken the subway in the opposite direction of where I was headed. I have gotten lost in Grand Central Station. I have seen more Starbucks in this city than I have in my whole life. I have been angry at environmental injustice. I have cried because I have also seen so much plight.

Nothing prepared me for the sheer number of homeless people asking for food in the subways and streets of New York City. These people are not trying to fund their drug addiction or anything like that. They are hungry, starving people who are just trying to make it day by day. For the first time in the dozens of subway trips I've taken into Manhatten, I saw someone give a homeless person cash and food. There is a horrid subhumanization of homeless people in this city. Every time I am on a subway with a homeless person, they say a statement that usually goes like this:

"Hello everyone. I want to apologize if I am causing any disturbance to your day. I have been homeless for three years, and usually, I can get a dollar or two for food. Today was a particularly bad day and I don't know what to do because I have nothing to eat. If any of you could find it in your hearts to spare me some food, it would be greatly appreciated. I apologize for any disturbances I have caused. Thank you for being willing to hear me speak. I hope you have a great day and a safe trip home. God bless you."

These are not the statements of the stereotyped homeless, yet I hear this speech so often, with some parts differing. Some have children. Some are veterans. Some have been homeless for a few years, others more. Almost all are elderly and have trouble walking.

It breaks my heart to see these homeless people, yet I have no idea what to do.

On Google Maps, I see homeless shelters. There are several in place. On the subways, I see an advertisement by the city government to help homeless people this winter by texting a specific number which can provide them with shelter and food. Clearly, something is not working if I see at least ten homeless people a day on my commute to East Village, Manhattan from north Brooklyn.

I thought the most significant difficulty I would encounter when moving to New York City would be learning independence, but I was wrong. It is seeing mass suffering face to face on a scale I've never encountered before. I have always known that immense suffering exists globally and that the extent is heartbreaking. And yet, it is different to see these homeless people before my own eyes and know that they are just trying to survive.

What kind of life is that? To strive for survival, and be unsure if you can even make it the night? What about happiness? Love? I see these people, and I can't fathom the thought of not giving more of my taxes to help fund government programs to help them. I can't face this suffering and feel in my heart that I would rather have some extra cash than have this homeless person have a safe bed and warm food for tonight. I just can't.

The other day, someone told me that they believe we shouldn't spend any of our taxes on public healthcare because if they can't afford to treatment because they're too poor, then it's their fault. The individual said that he shouldn't have to pay for others health because it has no relevance to his life. I was shocked and horrified. Sure, I don't know the homeless man or the person who is struggling with illness needing a hospital bed, but I don't have to. I have my humanity. I have empathy, compassion, care for these people because I recognize their suffering, and I feel this need to end it. I feel in my heart that I have to help this person because it is right. I don't know how to explain to someone why we should care about other people.

This day and age scare me. I don't want to live in a world where people don't have homes, and your child dies of cancer because you can't afford treatment. I don't want to live in a world where women don't have access to education and one in every three women is sexually assaulted or raped. I don't want to live in a world where people are forced to work in hazardous conditions below minimum wage. I don't want to live in a world where children are separated from their families because they were born in different countries. I don't want to live in a world where people adopt foster children so they could abuse the kids and spend the government money on themselves. I don't want to live in a world where being gay is a death sentence. I don't want to live in a world where animals die due to global warming and we do nothing about it.

I know you and I may not share the same beliefs or lives, but we are both human beings. We both want love and happiness. We both have cried. We both have experienced heartbreak. It does not matter that we are strangers because we all feel these things.

And that is why I am making a call for empathy. I am asking for us to acknowledge our shared humanity and say, "Enough is enough. I will not tolerate this anymore."

To step up and say, "No more needless suffering."

To say, "I am here for you" to every person suffering needlesly.

To feel your heart, and do what is right.

To hope for something better, and to know it is achievable because together, we can heal this world.

Cover Image Credit: Photo by Min An from Pexels

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