This post is twinned with No Room at the Inn.
In Secula Seculorum are Latin words that resonate for anyone of a certain age with a Catholic background. Intoned in a sonorous and rhythmic way at ceremonies, they conjured up the sacred and holy. Looked at rather than listened to, they conjure up the opposite – secularism. The words mean forever and ever.
These words and worlds collided on December 8 when Emmanuel Macron attended a Hanukkah candle lighting in the Élysée Palace. A firestorm of criticism followed. Many delighted in saying that for a century secularism has been the national religion of France, and factional religious symbols should not have defiled the Holy of Holies.
Nicolas Sarkozy, eight years earlier, had stood on the steps of the Élysée Palace after 2 brothers burst into the offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and shot 12 people dead after Charlie had published a cartoon of the Prophet. This was a War on Civilization, Sarkozy said.
Sarkozy and Macron appeal to the Enlightenment, the moment in history when we supposedly liberated ourselves from religion and superstition and began to think for ourselves. The moment when we and our States embraced science.
For decades most of my closest colleagues and friends have claimed to be secular and progressive. They hear the words but not the message when I say it seems to me they are as religious as the next person. Many of them are linked to healthcare, which is where in recent years the religious aspect to secularism can be seen most clearly.
If you think of religion as people on their knees praying. or clerics wearing ornate vestments and using thuribles to waft incense over an altar, you might find it hard to spot the similarities between secularism and religion. But this misses a central aspect to religion. Religions are a group matter primarily; individuals occupy a secondary role. From time immemorial, religions have functioned to keep the herd together. Ascetic individuals and even miracle-workers are useful symbols in so far as they help group cohesion; they are not the main thing.
The theocratic stamp to early religions makes this clear – the ruler, the leader of the herd was a God or descended from Gods with a mission to keep the people together. Developing social complexity led to specialization and a separation of clerical and pragmatic classes with the clerics focusing on the connection to the divine, otherworldly holiness, and the pragmatists on this world.
Pragmatism underpinned a development of technologies which organized (note the word) religions endorsed and supported, none more so than Xtianity, as David Noble argued – see Religion and Technology. Religion and Technology was Noble’s last book before his premature death. It has an Old Testament prophetic character to it. Written nearly 3 decades ago, it extraordinarily maps Old and New Testament visions of a human future onto technological developments enabling a chosen elite to ‘fly mother nature’s silver seed to a new home in the sun’ – in a way only a few imagined when it was written but is increasingly plausible now.
Far from being anti-science, organized religion supported science. A few celebrated Galilean episodes marked ecclesiastical concerns to avoid creating a popular panic rather than a hostility to science. The universal church endorsed a hard-headed interpretation of sacred books in the light of current realities and shunned Reformation ‘enthusiasms’ and fundamentalism.
But Luther’s ‘Here I Stand I can do no other’ moment, ultimately led to the formal separation of Church and State that recently landed Macron in trouble. It also put a new premium on individual salvation as against the good of the people.
Holy to Healthy
Shipwreck of the Singular charts a shift over three centuries from the good of the people to public health and from individual holiness to health. Perhaps no surprise, after the cataclysmic events of mid-century, a gradual tectonic shift has gathered pace. Existentialism came to the fore in philosophy. Authenticity became the word of the 1960s. Where the 1960s gave us Children of God, and the Moonies, we now have neurodiversity, gender diversity and other health movements calling on each of us to choose our futures now, and to reject as phobic anyone who calls for reflection.
Less noticed, so far, has been a transition of medicines from poisons to sacraments. Until recently, medicines were hazardous substances out of which human ingenuity and great care could bring some good. Now like sacraments they can only do good and the more we participate the better – See Has HealthCare Gone Mad.
Cautious about allowing people to think for themselves, the Catholic Church had a Magisterium, whose job was to flag certain claims as illegitimate. The role of FDA and EMA now maps onto just this. As once with the Magisterium, the faithful now delegate their narcissism to the regulators of medicines and accept what they are told.
Transubstantiation – the claim that consecration transforms a wafer and wine into the actual body and blood of Christ, not a symbol – was a remarkable Catholic doctrine. The wafer is often called the Host. You might think this means it was Hosting Christ but the Latin that gave rise to Host is Hostia which means a sacrificial victim.
The gluten found in wafers has recently faced the Church with some earthy realities. They’ve had to negotiate very carefully with the wafer makers to reduce the gluten to homeopathic amounts – there apparently has to be a trace amount for whatever reason.
No such problems for makers of our modern sacraments. Randomization plays the same role here as transubstantiation does during a Mass. It completely eliminates all earthly traces of side effects. These sacraments can only do you good. You’d better believe it – you will be in trouble if you don’t.
Healthy Ghosts write the Good News of Modern Salvation up in Sacred (cannot be questioned) Texts like the New England Journal of Misinformation No one is able to check the integrity of the texts.
Where some organized religions have viewed representations of the Holy as idolatrous, our new Religion doesn’t – it bombards us daily with images of the Sacred Hosts.
Questioning the Salvific News is regarded as blasphemous. The system once tolerated a certain amount of blasphemy, but an increasing pushback led to questioners being branded as pill-shamers or worse.
There is no better symbol of this than Charlie Hebdo’s abject capitulation to the new hegemony. They don’t even have the decency to respond to a polite enquiry about enlightenment values. Where did the War on Civilization go Nic?
France is among the countries leading a desertion Enlightenment values. A decade ago, it was possible to debate the value of psychotropic drugs and describe their side effects – today this is almost impossible. See Qu’ils Mangent des Medicaments.
The advent of Covid Vaccines, and likely all new vaccines, has made it possible to penalize and punish blasphemy and be cheered by society for doing so. Punishing blasphemers is becoming a public spectacle once again. Vaccination with unproven agents is mandatory on pain of losing a job – even if you are a pregnant woman. There is now No Room at the Inn for you if you are not vaccinated.
This is especially the case in those institutions that Macron and Sarkozy view as the homes of the Enlightenment – universities. Along with health, education was once the home of progressives. The guiding vision was that people trained to think for themselves would shun superstition and myth. This view held for two centuries but in the last two decades educational institutions, from preschool to universities, have hired thought police and turned to inquisitors to ensure adherence to approved doctrines,
The fall from grace of our former ecclesiastical leaders has been total. The selective serotonin reuptake inhibiting (SSRIs) drugs can cause miscarriages, voluntary terminations among women, with dramatic reductions in sperm counts in men. These effects combined with a libido killing central mode of action make these drugs, now taken by close to 15% of Western populations, almost certain contributors to declining fertility rates among people formerly called Judeo-Xtian – Pharmageddon and Fertility.
Having as many souls as possible enter Heaven was once the core mission of Judaeo-Xtian religions, and anything that might get in the way of this was amongst the greatest crimes/sins. But it is pointless to draw the effects of our new sacraments to the attention of Cardinals or Popes. They beetle behind the need to keep Church and State separate – their ethic requires them to support publicly the dictates of our new Shepherds.
The Bible paints homicide as the primal sin – disobeying God was just minor stupidity in comparison. Many of our modern sacraments can cause homicide. An increasing number of folk touched by this sacrament induced homicide wonder, especially at news of mass killings like in Prague, whether a sacrament was involved. Where can we find leaders willing to tackle this?
Who can save us from the Winter’s Face? The Pope seems bent on ensuring our Summers are not too hot but is unwilling to countenance a link with falling Life Expectancies, falling Fertility Rates, rising Mass Homicide Rates and Rising Temperatures.
E Pluribus Unum
The execution of Britain’s Charles 1 in 1649 made a separation of Church and State almost inevitable. In 1776, the nascent United States took the first step to do so.
The front of the Great Seal of the new country declares – E Pluribus Unum. One Body from Many. A sentiment close to prior Xtian views about the people of God being one people or the Muslim Ummah. The word Secular appears on the reverse side of the seal (see blog contents page) in this case just meaning forever.
Health and education have been more important and more fought over in the US than anywhere. Health in particular now consumes 20% of US Gross Domestic Product but despite spending more than anywhere else on health. perhaps because of spending much more than anywhere else on health, Life Expectancies and Fertility Rates in the US have been falling for over a decade in parallel with increasing numbers of daily communicants and consumptions of the sacraments – See Pharmageddon and Fertility.
Could something be going wrong with the transubstantiation/randomization miracle?
There is a ghost in the machine and its not a Holy Ghost. Can you imagine how various Popes down the ages would have reacted if rather than the Host hosting or being the actual body of Christ, it was hosting an average of a set of deities?
This is what Randomization does – it creates a non-existent being, an average. No doctor giving a drug transformed by randomization into a sacrament is ever giving something proven to have a salvific or sacramental effect on a known human being.
It’s as if the Seal of the United States read E Pluribus Mediocris – From the Many, An Average/ a Non-Existent Unity. Or perhaps, From the Talents of Many. Mediocrity.
The Stone the Builders Rejected
Psalm 118 captures another strand to Biblical prophecy. No charting here of the fortunes of an elect. The downtrodden, the stone the builders rejected, have become the cornerstone.
Those who are injured by medicines or vaccines, whose very existence is increasingly denied in our day, above all by the corporations busy making modern sacraments, are the stone on which RxISK.org is built. See Has Healthcare gone Mad – for an explanation of why building on those who have been injured is the way to do good Science and create good Healthcare.
See the Cause and Effect forum for examples of the injured who, to quote Leonard Cohen, a man with a prophetic feel to him, are The Crack through which the Light gets In.
Biblical prophesy was not about seeing the future – it was about diagnosing the present. Guys, we have a problem that is not going to get solved continuing to do what we are doing now – it will require something more like this. Not a recipe for a prophet getting honored in their own country or even family.
Luther’s prophetic Here I Stand I Can Do No Other succeeded where many others failed perhaps because the Printing Press put possibly incorrect but genuinely held and well thought out ideas in people’s hands, supporting them to think for themselves. It became possible for us to point out the conflicts between authorities – not everyone agreed with Aquinas’ ideas about transubstantiation. This created a new space in which to agree with and even coalesce around a Luther.
The printing press and internet are now part of the problem. Medical science operates in a Post-Truth era. Even more so than in Luther’s day, the bulk of what is churned out about the sacraments is plain wrong, is churned out precisely for that reason, and like indulgences is linked to making money.
The Here I Stand I Can Do No Other moment for our times involves those who have been injured holding firm to their belief in what has happened to them in the face of doctors and others claiming the Hearsay (usually called Evidence) doesn’t support them.
It also needs a firm belief that in pushing for a consensus about their sacrament-induced injuries, they are doing science and ultimately Science Will Win.
Consensus is key. Science Builds Communities – Religion at its best can do so also but often focuses more on managing the herd.
Science calls for close observation of experiments taking place in front of observers who may be Xtian, Hindu, Muslim, Atheist or Jew. From the restoration of Charles II in 1660, these observers have had to leave their religious authorities outside the room and with sacrament induced injuries today must also leave the New England Journal of Misinformation and The British Medical Journalism Journal outside the room. Observers are constrained to come to a consensus about what they have seen and if possible come to an on-the-balance-of-probabilities best way to explain it.
Assessing a sacrament-induced injury offers a supreme opportunity to do science. The person who consults is the experimental apparatus – an extraordinary apparatus that can communicate and assembles information in multiple dimensions that cannot be reduced to the binary bits ChatGPT or other A.I. systems work on.
There is scope to alter the dose, run tests, invite others in, explore whether others are having similar problems and more. The injured party in addition to being supremely motivated to find answers can research what is known about the drug or the effect to the point where they are increasingly likely to end up educating their doctors. See Medical Triumph.
Explaining what the doctor and patient see in this case is not about pharmacological or physiological details but about coming to a view as to whether the sacrament caused the problem or not. Everything else is secondary to that.
In this new sacramental era, Medicine has become a grim job, with all doctors having books full of heart-sink patients, when they could have so many free research assistants and the gratification of seeing them work out how to let the force be with them.
Philip K Dick was another prophet – his Electric Androids, Minority Report and other work seems to prefigure our dilemmas as we stand on the brink of A.I.? How will we far with some future iteration of ChatGPT poised to intervene in our treatment?
It may well be our Savior. Even with scope to learn and a license to kill a few of us en route, an intelligent computer must operate in a binary fashion. The only binary option it has is to choose between an Evidence Based Mediocrity, which can only offer one robotic outcome, and a doctor-patient dyad with a demonstrable ability to distinguish between when a drug is suiting this patient and not that one and act accordingly.
E Mediocris Sano Populo – a healthy public body from averages – does not compute. The sooner we abandon it the better.
E Pluribus Sano Populo is our only option.
It’s time to Separate Pharma and State.
Do Religious Bodies count enough any more to say we also need to Separate Pharma and Religion (including Secularism)?
Written by Dr. David Healy MD
DH and RxISK traditionally run end of year posts. Some of them are listed below. They typically tackle Religious ideas and people. Xtian Religions are supposed to offer something at this time of the year but instead the contrast between their aspiration and reality can be most apparent.