Wednesday, October 14, 2015

"Phantom Vibrations"

Jeremiah 10.8 NAS

“But they are altogether stupid and foolish In their discipline of delusion their idol is wood!

Have you ever believed a lie? I have. I was so sure. I knew I was right... but I wasn’t.

Your brain can play funny tricks on you. If you think it’s true, your brain will convince you it is. You think things are that really aren’t. A misguided thought pattern develops and you quickly grow accustomed to the illusion. With practice, repetition, and the “discipline of delusion”, it becomes easy to believe a lie. You adopt a false position and easily find empirical evidence to prove it... but you’re still wrong. 

As a technology addict, I’ve experienced this phenomenon firsthand. For years I wore pagers and cell phones on my hip. In public places I kept my devices on vibrate mode. Recently, I actually felt the vibration of my mobile phone... but it wasn’t there! It was real. I felt it. I reached for my phone but it was not attached to my body. I knew it buzzed, but it didn’t. The buzzing was in my head. My brain played a trick on me. “Phantom vibrations” are commonly reported among mobile phone junkies.[1] It’s similar to the “phantom limb” phenomenon described by Merriam Webster’s medical dictionary as “an often painful sensation of the presence of a limb that has been amputated.”

Sometimes my brain tricks me in useful ways. I have not set my alarm in years. No matter how much or little sleep I get, my brain snaps me to attention every morning at precisely the time I must arise.

The prophet Jeremiah warned against the “stupid and foolish” practice of worshiping man-made gods. The people of his day believed their own propaganda. Through their personal “discipline of delusion” they became unalterably convinced of what was false. Jeremiah unswervingly exposed the cherished lie. He denounced sacred un-truth… “their idol is wood”!

Jeremiah is not a dusty book buried in a forgotten Bible. The spirit of Jeremiah is alive. He transcends time, pierces my heart, and delivers a directive... ‘Challenge your phantom reality. Don’t be a fool. If your “idol is wood”, burn it.’
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[1] “It’s not your cell phone buzzing; its your brain”, The Oregonian, Business section, p. C 9, October 15, 2007.

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