The placebo is not ideal and has dangers

A placebo like medicine is NEVER all good.  There will be another side.  While your back pain feels better you may feel you have a side effect of headaches.  With medicine you expect to feel better but not perfect and you will expect side-effects.  Some of these side-effects may make you seek a new placebo and even be a no-cebo - the harmful opposite of placebo. A placebo helps but is not a treatment or a cure.

Placeboes do not work for everybody. A significant minority will get no benefit from the placebo. Also, in medicine you give a group the real drug and another group the fake one. But you need the group which gets neither so that you can measure the placebo as well. The minority could be better off not knowing they are immune to placeboes. Believing the placebo is not for them closes them off from all future placeboes that are offered to them.

The person attached to a placebo will ignore or dismiss or avoid any evidence that disconfirms his placebo.

Obviously it will not do to depend on the effect too much or to give it as a treatment too often.

Like all lies, the placebo lie will be found out. And the person giving the placebo does have a duty to wean you off it and that involves kindly admitting the truth. When any placebo will do and people all have different  placeboes that they think they believe in for different reasons surely the truth has to out that they are being led to kid themselves?

Giving a person a placebo that helps them, risks judging them as stupid people or people who care about what they want to think and not the truth.

I would add that having a placebo creates a need for new  placeboes that seem to validate it and creates an unhealthy fondness for  placeboes and fantasy based thinking.

So we see that placeboes though sometimes needed are only short-term helps. They are not to be celebrated but seen as necessary evils.

A good doctor will try to wean you off placeboes. They are only for short-term immediate and important help. They are given to be outgrown. Faith healing is cruel for it wants to keep you on them.

If you are making yourself ill from trying too hard to be healthy or to get rid of sickness or from worrying too much about getting ill, then a placebo may help. But it is not much of a help. It is not a real help. What you need is for the doctor or whoever to tell you to go out and think about the wellbeing of others and do something to make them much better. It will keep your mind occupied and rescue you from thinking too much about yourself. You are still indirectly thinking of yourself but in the proper way. Also, what relieves you is that you are telling yourself that others have to worry about their health not you and that comforts you because it is them not you that will have to suffer should anything happen.

Happiness is impossible if you are an island. When you are happy you are happy with others. Happiness is collective. Collective happiness is what people really need not  placeboes.  Placeboes are too focused on insular happiness.

Do not force yourself to think positive. You need to think about and plan situations where positive thinking will emerge naturally. That means finding joyful people who are full of life.

It goes without saying that most placebo schemes do not even think of themselves as placeboes.  Religion is an example of that.  Remarkably, even members of very frightening and threatening religions that warn of severe divine retribution for "sin" use prayer and religion and scripture reading seem to think it is only everybody else who has to worry about that.  If a person is unhappy or in a bad mood they pray and they feel better.  Prayer may be seen as powerful.  But the real power is the placebo.  Placebo effect works with mood problems as well as health problems.  This is greatly to religion's advantage.  Plus the mood is going to improve anyway.  The lies are not just your own business.  You don't resort to prayer just by yourself.  You use it for others influence you to.  You influence them too.


ARGUMENT: A placebo works even if you are not lied to that it works. It can work though you are told it will not.

ANSWER:  It cannot just work.  Maybe you are recovering anyway. Maybe you are so assured by placebo lies in the past that you are programmed to respond to what you know is not a real cure.  Maybe you are still telling yourself that it works and pretending to think it has no power.  A placebo where you know it is a placebo is still working through lies. The lies work.

A placebo for a disturbed conscience would be vile if it is that shameless about being a lie.  It is a total insult to the victim - the person you hurt.


Those who get placebos often pray.  The relationship between prayer and placebo from a doctor needs exploring.  If prayer bolsters the power of the lie that says it all. 

We are afraid of being successful in life. We end up being afraid of trying or trying hard. We are afraid to have the high flyer job and the perfect family in case we lose them. We also fear that we will cease to appreciate them and so we will not enjoy them much or maybe hate them.
You must try to think and feel that if you fail, then things can only get better. Nothing can stay at rock-bottom forever. And failure does not exist. What is called failure is an opportunity for change. Being conscious of that takes away the fear.

Now what happens is prayer for success has a hidden side.  It is blinding yourself to the sourness and sadness of the fear that is within you.  It does not really think success is a great thing.  It fears good things coming even as it asks for them.  If God only regards sincere prayer as prayer this is not prayer.  It is a placebo of some kind mixed with a no-cebo.

We all know there is no real good in the world so you can only try to discern the least damaging evil and carry it out.  In that light prayer is asking for harm.  It is lying to say any different and to glorify it as a good decent thing.  To ask for harms to come to a person instead of acting to give them the least possible harm is horrible.  At least with the latter you will have to take responsibility.


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