Only a medical professional should deliberately give you a placebo.  And even that is up for debate.  A lie is never good and it infantilises the patient.  It asks their loving family to be accessories in the lie.  Also a placebo does not directly improve health.  It makes you feel you are improving and improved and should be meant to prompt you to take more action based on that feeling to be really much better. True medicine not just dud medicine causes a placebo response too.  The danger in this is how the placebo can make it harder to assess the effectiveness of a new drug, it can harm trials.  It's reverse, the no-cebo is as bad.

A placebo involves lies and will stop a person seeing what is wrong with them to some degree. Human nature already has a placebo in that tries to find ways to stop being affected by the full horror of some evil.  It stops those who see their neighbours being dragged off to concentration camps from being so horrified that their own lives are not worth tolerating.  Religion is parasitic on that.

The placebo works on an existential problem and on a problem with adjusting to fears and traumas and health issues. It soothes an existential symptom not just a health symptom.  If you suffer you fear you will end up with the agony of thinking and feeling that your life is a burden to you and others.  You clutch at whatever you think will give you enough hope to keep going.  In that sense, a placebo is not just a medical issue but a religious/philosophical one.  It is no surprise then when religion becomes a placebo.  It turns prayers into placebos.  It turns the presence of holy objects and the clergy into placebos.  It turns doctrines into placebos.  And sacraments too.  For example, you go to a priest to deal with your urge to kill innocents and you come out feeling you are healed.  That is fine until it wears off and a victim is laying dead in the street.

Religion adds in new placebos to do this as if the problem is not bad enough. A placebo should only be given as a last resort and as a temporary measure and be carefully monitored. Religion is totally irresponsible. Faith in divine care and that despite all appearances it knows what it is doing is a placebo. A placebo is deceit and so it can get vicious or passive aggressive when it is challenged. It stops you seeing many dangers and how terrible some dangerous thing is. An abhorrent thing may be reduced to a bad thing. Yet a serious evil is one thing and a heinous one is another. The placebo is a spectrum. Religion needs to admit these things. Failing to see the horror of some ways of dying accurately leads to trying to force unnecessary suffering on people. You may talk about protecting life and saving people from euthanasia but the real problem is that the placebo is blocking you from seeing the true darkness of the suffering the person endures. Every placebo leads to false hope and this false hope must not be forced on others.

People who say we should not undermine religion for people need it for comfort are saying it is a placebo. Yet why do they only reserve this protection for religious placebos? Why do they tell you your vitamin pills are probably doing little or nothing and may even harm you? It is lazy to hope that religious people get comfort so that you can feel good about not informing yourself and doing the work to guide others to finding the truth for themselves.

The placebo works on preference for truth to be what you want it to be. As we know truth will hit back, this truth is often not very different from the real truth. We protect it from falling apart that way. We have confidence in the lie. There is that pain we seek to avoid, the pain that comes from things not being about you. It an existential matter. That pain gets tough when you are sick.

Placebo is a recognition of the role perception can play in making you feel psychologically ill or physically ill. An illness can be all in your mind.  An illness can be made to feel worse by a perception problem.  Perception alone can cause pain so it is hard to know when it is harming the person who is sick and to what extent. We wonder if it is the illness is doing it or not and if so why and how and when.

It is a worry that if a placebo gives you the insight that your perception is so potent that this could affirm and validate and strengthen it so it reaches to new heights or lows.  In other words, if you believe your feelings and thoughts alone can make you ill they will.

That is why religion has to go.  It is not offering a placebo that is to any degree necessary or safe.  And who benefits?  The clergy and the faith-mongers.


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