Friday, March 23, 2018

Is Confession Good for the Soul? Maybe Not.

Although, it's great for the State.

The inscription for War & Grace is:

Not with false guides, nor with false gods—Voltaire
voltaire beliefs, voltaire ideas, the enlightenment philosophers
I chose this quote because among Melia's adversaries are a priest who invests in structural hierarchies and a princess who yearns to be a despot. As leaders in different countries, they could fill the bill of "false guides".

Voltaire came to my attention when I read a fabulous book: Passionate Minds by David Bodanis (which I highly recommend!) while I was writing War & Grace. A literary trickster, Voltaire played a significant role in dismembering the Roman Catholic Church/Bourbon Monarchy oligarchy in France.

Plus, he became an avid gardener!

cultivate garden quote, cultivate garden, cultivate garden candide
"We must cultivate our own garden." — Voltaire

So ... back to my original question. Is confession good for for the soul? Maybe not. Although, it's great for the State. Since the beginning of time, human factions (whether they're nominally religious, nation states, monarchies or political parties) have been in search of information about rival human factions.

1. Sun Tzu (544 - 496 B.C.): The Art of War author touted the strategic advantage of foreknowledge. "Knowledge of the enemy's dispositions can only be obtained from other men." That would be confessions from "(1) Local spies; (2) inward spies; (3) converted spies; (4) doomed spies; (5) surviving spies."

sun tzu art of war, sun tzu strategy

2. The Roman Catholic Church: "It is almost impossible for us nowadays to grasp the sheer power of the Church in medieval Europe. ...Where there was a priest, there was an intelligence agent of Rome ... For over eight-hundred years Rome monitored, checked, steered, and often dictated European policy based on its control of information ... the Church reported everything to Rome. That was what it was for. That was its job. The Catholic Church's intelligence service rested on four pillars: the power of the confessional; a virtual monopoly of literacy and learning; good communications and the Inquisition." — The Puppet Masters by John Huges-Wilson Eww!

roman catholic church middle ages, roman catholic church hierarchy

3. Sigmund Freud: Cultural Dildo and author of (the gothic novel?) The Interpretation of Dreams performed a great service circa WWI and WWII for those concerned with obtaining otherwise private information about other human beings by shifting the confessional from the church to the psychoanalyst's couch, thus removing the religious stigma and easing us into secular-approved -encouraged admissions. Just as icky!

freudian psychology, freudian tools, sigmund freud dreams, anna freud

4. Now we have Social Media where confessions are made voluntarily, publicly, and the mechanisms themselves are financially subsidized (personal computers, smart phones, tablets, etc.) by the confessor. "Businesses that make money by collecting and selling detailed records of private lives were once plainly described as "surveillance companies." Their rebranding as "social media" is the most successful deception since the Department of War became the Department of Defense."—Edward Snowden
facebook surveillance, social media surveillance
So let me reframe the question. Can false guides or false gods exist without the individual's confession?

mind control techniques, mind control technology, mind control device
"If every living creature in the Whole could harmonize minute by minute, day by day"—Anton snorted his contempt—"with the invisible energy permeating the Whole, there would be an evolution in consciousness, a single leap into a new age. I find it difficult to believe you of all people subscribe to such a ludicrous belief."

"I do," Melia said.

An enraged Anton responded: "There must be order and control. Documentation and research. Leadership and discipline." — War & Grace

In a time when the Realm of Faerie and Planet Earth exist in symbiotic union, the epic journey of a young half-faerie woman will transform the future of both worlds ...

My name is Melia Albiana and I stand on the edge of the abyss.
Before I leap, I exhale a breath out of time.
The beauty of the Whole unfurls before me—its intricacy, its complexity, its endurance, its mystery, its majesty.
I am filled with awe.
The universal awareness passes and I am left with the poverty of my personal legacy.
I will die young.
I will die broken.
I will die grief-stricken.
I will die lonely.
And I will die a monster.
I will also die consumed by love.

Whimsical and edgy, Daughter of Light is an epic fantasy with an intriguing cosmology and well-developed characters for readers of all ages.