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The Happiness Issue

No More War

A brilliant neuroscientist in Canada has invented a helmet that delivers the divine bliss of religious epiphany.
Κείμενο Quinn Morrison

A brilliant neuroscientist in Canada has invented a helmet that delivers the divine bliss of religious epiphany using not God, but magnets that stimulate the frontal lobe of your brain. No kidding, test subjects have reported everything from LSD-like color plays all the way up to incredibly real visitations from deceased relatives. The most common occurrence, though, is the “sensed presence,” like someone or something is standing near you. Something unexplainable but, you know, there; something like a guy in a robe with a beard who’s powerful but nice. Dr. Michael Persinger is the father of the God Helmet. “Our major thrust has been to understand creativity,” Persinger says from his office in the neuroscience department of Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario. “Many of the great thinkers—be they religious or scientific—often had these inspirations and didn’t know how or why they’d obtained them.” By sending magnetic patterns that mimic certain brain states through his helmet and into your head, Persinger hopes to uncover the processes that historically have been attributed to divine intervention or ghostly inspiration. “Religious people try the helmet and get all the same results as an atheist: sensed presence, detachment from their body, cosmic significance, and both groups always chalk it up to God, or a dead person,” explains Dr. Persinger, “The point is that these things that you think are God are really coming from inside.” Holy shit, I’m God. How about that? Still, some people can’t get it through their heads. “We’ve had many people come in, knowing they’re in a laboratory wearing a helmet that is magnetically stimulating their brain, but they still believe they’re being visited by the supernatural.” Dr. Persinger is not mad at God or anything, but he does have one very practical and compelling reason to prove that the old man is just not there. “The God experience in the history of the human being is a trivial phenomenon. Right now, when people have an experience and they attribute it to God, depending upon their culture, they may often use it as an excuse to kill others.” So what happens if zealots can be shown that God is really an electrical impulse in their brain? “That will mean two things,” Persinger explains. “One, don’t take everything you think of as God as valid. And two, we can begin to explore ourselves. The most fundamental and profound spirituality for anybody would be finding out how their own brain is organized.” When someone really understands themselves, they won’t want to put their lives at risk over some bullshit about whose despot has a bigger dick. This means that if we can get a God helmet in every home and office around the world, we will all be strutting around, fully self-actualized, hugging each other like Richard Harris and Peter O’Toole, totally forgetting about holy war and religious snobbery. We’ll be the best planet ever because we’ll all be God. Let’s do it! QUINN MORRISON