Tag Archives: #immortal

What Religion Gets Wrong About Masturbation (Psychology)

It’s not bad for you. It’s good for you.

The history of the world’s religions is one of significant strife: Protestants and Catholics in deadly battle; Shiites and Sunnis at long-lasting war; Christians and Muslims in constant conflict; Christians and Muslims persecuting Jews; Hindus, Jews, and Buddhists oppressing Muslims; Muslims persecuting Bahais and Copts; and so on.

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And yet, amidst all this discord, there is one thing that the world’s major religions do seem to agree on: masturbation. A large number of major religions have long declared it to be bad, immoral, sinful, and injurious.

Touching yourself to produce sexual pleasure, according to many religious doctrines, is harmful—both spiritually and physically. John Wesley, the founder of Methodist Christianity, preached that masturbation caused nervous disorders and madness. Ellen Gould White, the founder of Seventh Day Adventism, disparaged masturbation as “vice.” The Catholic Church currently castigates masturbation as “an intrinsically and gravely disordered action.” Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that masturbation is a “form of uncleanness” that can be ” mentally corrupting.” Among the Mormons, Jains, Sikhs, Orthodox Jews, Buddhist monks, and most schools of Islam, sexual self-pleasure is strictly forbidden.

While the world’s religions may appear to be of one mind about masturbation, it is likely a dramatically mistaken mind. According to the personal experiences of billions of people, as well as the empirical findings of science, masturbation is actually not bad for you. It is, in fact, rather good for you.

In a recent study conducted by the Department of Medical Psychology at the University Clinic of Essen, Germany, orgasm resulting from masturbation was shown to boost the white blood cells that help fight infection. This study confirms what other researchers at the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction have found, specifically that:

  • Masturbatory orgasms lower stress by producing dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin, which act to counter stress-inducing cortisol levels.
  • Masturbation fosters relaxation, which helps people sleep better, which is extremely important in maintaining health.
  • Masturbation is correlated with bolstering the immune system.

As a recent report from Big Think summarizes, “While there are many things we need to do to keep our immune systems functioning at optimal levels, masturbation (or other means of achieving orgasm) has proven to have positive effects on the immune system as a whole.”

Other researchers have found that self-produced orgasms can reduce pain from migraines. For women, masturbation can decrease menstrual pain, and for men, it is correlated with a lower risk of prostate cancer. Additionally, masturbation is one of the safest ways to experience sexual pleasure, given that the risk of acquiring a sexually transmitted disease is zero.

And yet, despite the manifest harmlessness—and additional physical and psychological benefits of masturbation—some religions continue to wrongly condemn it as both dangerous and shameful.

While it is impossible to know exactly why the various people who created the world’s major religions promulgated such hostility to and stigmatization of masturbation, we do know that they lived in times when superstition reigned and science was in its stumbling infancy. The people who gave us the Torah, the Bible, the Qu’ran, and the Vedas did not know about germs, or dopamine and serotonin, or how communicable diseases spread, or how our immune systems work. Their sexual ethics were tribal, parochial, mythical, patriarchal, fearful, and societally immature. And they were objectively wrong about many things—especially regarding masturbation. It does not cause harm or pain, but rather has multiple benefits. It is, in short, a very sound and healthy practice.

As more and more humans reject the religions of old, they may experience increased well-being—both physically and emotionally—as they satisfy themselves sexually, unencumbered by old ignorance, needless distress, or toxic self-loathing.

References: Haake P, Krueger TH, Goebel MU, Heberling KM, Hartmann U, Schedlowski M. Effects of sexual arousal on lymphocyte subset circulation and cytokine production in man. Neuroimmunomodulation. 2004;11(5):293-8. doi: 10.1159/000079409. PMID: 15316239.

This article is republished here from psychology today under common creative licenses

According To This Quantum Theory, You’re Immortal (Quantum)

The laws of the quantum world are so bizarre that if you follow them to their logical conclusions, you get some very strange results. That’s why quantum physics is so full of thought experiments. You may have heard of Schrödinger’s cat, for example: If you put a cat in a box with a vial of poison that has a 50/50 chance of killing the cat, the cat is both alive and dead — in a superposition of states, you might say — until you open the box. Well, try the quantum suicide thought experiment on for size: In that scenario, you’re the cat — except you never die.

The quantum suicide thought experiment was first posed by Max Tegmark in 1997, and it goes something like this: Imagine a gun is hooked up to a machine that measures the spin of a quantum particle every time the trigger is pulled. If the particle is measured as spinning clockwise, the gun will fire; if it’s spinning counter-clockwise, it won’t. A man points the gun at a sandbag and pulls the trigger 10 times. The gun goes off seemingly at random: “bang-click-bang-bang-bang-click-click-bang-click-click.” Then, the man points the gun at his own head and attempts to pull the trigger 10 more times. What does he hear? “Click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click.” He could keep on pulling the trigger for eternity, and the gun would never fire. How is that possible?

Now let’s go back in time to the first moment he pointed the gun at his head. He pulls the trigger, and the gun fires. The man is dead. How can that happen when we already know the gun never fired? It’s because every time he pulls the trigger, the universe splits into separate timelines: one where the gun fired, one where it didn’t. When he was shooting the sandbag, he existed in the timelines created by that series of bangs and clicks. But when he aimed the gun at himself, the only timelines he could exist in were the ones where he survived — and thus, the ones where the gun didn’t go off.

This way of thinking is known as the many-worlds interpretation of quantum physics, which says that our reality is just one in an infinite web of infinite timelines. It’s controversial but cool to think about nonetheless. With the many-worlds interpretation, every time you do anything, you cause a split in the universe. You’re reading these words, but there’s another timeline where you closed the article. You got out of bed at a certain time this morning, but there’s another timeline where you slept later. You chose one career, but there’s another timeline where you chose something wildly different. In each case, all you know is the timeline you’re in.

In his 1994 paper, Max Tegmark pointed out an ironic twist to the many-worlds interpretation, which he calls the MWI: “Many physicists would undoubtedly rejoice if an omniscient genie appeared at their death bed, and as a reward for life-long curiosity granted them the answer to a physics question of their choice. But would they be as happy if the genie forbade them from telling anybody else? Perhaps the greatest irony of quantum mechanics is that if the MWI is correct, then the situation is quite analogous if once you feel ready to die, you repeatedly attempt quantum suicide: you will experimentally convince yourself that the MWI is correct, but you can never convince anyone else!”


References: (1) https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/8/130812-physics-schrodinger-erwin-google-doodle-cat-paradox-science/ (2) https://science.howstuffworks.com/innovation/science-questions/quantum-suicide.htm (3) https://www.technologyreview.com/2013/01/09/84462/poll-reveals-quantum-physicists-disagreement-about-the-nature-of-reality/