Tuesday 16 August 2022

What is the larger and vital issue, of which the "Mandela effect" is supposedly an instance?

I have heard of the Mandela Effect several times; but until yesterday I did not really get what was being proposed - in its full and astonishing scope

Vox Day describes the ME as 'supernatural gaslighting' - meaning a demonic activity. In this particular instance the assertion is that everybody who is informed and competent knows that the Bible talks of the Lion laying down with the Lamb - but when somebody nowadays looks-up this reference in a Bible, he finds that it is the Wolf which lays down with the Lamb. 

The basic idea is that supernatural evil has operated to change the Bibles of the world (this happening at a certain point in recent history), has changed what is written in them; so that now our memory conflicts with the 'evidence'. 

And this was done as a Satanic PSYOP; in order to have a disorientating psychological effect - so that people will no longer trust their memories, or their own judgment, and will easily be manipulated by The System (which is itself controlled by the devil). 

(Aside: This proposed mechanism - of a spirit literally re-writing history - reminds me of an ability of the evil god Ruin in Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn Trilogy. Ruin can affect any writing, unless it is inscribed on certain types of metal.) 

The Mandela Effect is therefore is a specific (asserted) instance of a large and vital issue of these times about which I have blogged many times recently; which is whether to believe our inner memories or 'external evidence', to believe our own experience or external authority, to believe what we have worked-out for ourselves or to accept the interpretations of 'experts' - And, for Christians, whether to build our fundamental faith on The Church; or from our personal knowledge-of and relationship-with God and Jesus Christ. 

The difficulty I have with the Mandela Effect is that I am not very sure of my own memory in any of the famously-cited instances. 

For example - the example which gave the name was that apparently many people remember being told that Nelson Mandela died in jail - before he was released and became President; but I don't have any such memory of him dying in jail. 

So, for me to accept that this was an instance of memory conflicting with 'evidence' - would, in fact, merely be an instance of my preferring one form of external evidence over another. 

And, although I certainly agree that everything I have ever heard was about the Lion laying down with the Lion, and never about a Wolf - I do not have any specific memory of words in the Bible where this was supposedly written in the past; because I think I got all the remembered Lion and Lamb examples secondhand.

One aspect of some instances of the Mandela Effect is that it attributes to the demonic power the ability to affect-remotely and to re-write already existing books from a certain time-point - and indeed ancient manuscripts. But this is something that I do not accept: I do not believe that Satan can physically tamper-with all the Bibles of the world. 

But I do believe that Satan can do something of this kind with electronic media and communications; i.e. that demonic spirits can (in some sense) inhabit and interact with these and with computers; and I believe that fact this lies behind the push to put everything online, and to induce us to live virtually via the internet. 

So much so; that nowadays rewriting electronic media would appear almost exactly the same as having re-written all the Bibles of the world

As small instances; e-books I have in the past purchased through Kindle have periodically been changed - without informing me or asking permission; simply via my reading device being connected to the internet. 

And it is easy to make a program to search for and change specific words, so that when one views the page of an online newspaper, the text has already been modified as instructed.  

All that is needed is to imagine scaling-up this kind of intervention by intelligent spirits with evil purpose that dwelt within the electronic media. 

...Although, if so, then there would almost certainly also be some good spirits, angels, that were able to do something similar but with opposite intent to the demons. 

Yet it may be that (as Rudolf Steiner intuited) the world of electricity is in a profound sense a demonically-created medium or sub-nature; that may therefore be more conducive to evil than good. 

If so, unless I was myself physically to check an old Bible, and communicate my findings verbally and face to face, or by snail mail; then any electronic communication could (in principle) be intercepted and changed. Everything we found on the internet might (theoretically) have been thus tampered-with. 

This would look exactly as-if all the Bibles in the world had been re-written. 

In conclusion, I accept that the Mandela Effect may, in this modified sense, be a Real Thing; and that it represents yet another challenge for spiritual discernment; in which - to pass the test - we need to believe and live-by that which comes from within and from direct knowledge of the divine; instead of being credulously manipulated by external public media - which nowadays includes everything recently-produced, and anything accessed via the internet, computers, or other electronic phenomena. 


Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

In this particular case, the Isaiah passage features several different animals -- the wolf with the lamb, the leopard with the kid, the calf with the lion, and the cow with the bear, if memory serves. The lion with the lamb is just a symbolic shorthand reference to this, choosing the most iconic predator and the most iconic gentle herbivore. It could be a genuine Mandela Effect, but I'm skeptical. While many people have the idea of the lion and lamb lying down together in the Bible, I've never met anyone who had memorized that supposed passage and could recite it word for word.

A Mormon version of this is the "ox in the mire" -- a term commonly used when some special circumstance makes it permissible to break the sabbath. This is supposedly because Jesus said that if your ox fell into the mire on the sabbath day, of course you wouldn't wait until the next day to save it. But what the Bible actually says is "Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day?" (Luke 14:5) The word "mire" is hardly part of most people's everyday vocabulary, and it occurs only once in the New Testament (with reference to the sow that was washed), so where did the "ox in the mire" come from?

Some translations have the ass or ox fall into a well rather than a pit; no translation I know of has "mire." And Mormons have only ever used the King James Version anyway.

Another supposed biblical Mandela Effect is the Lord's Prayer. Most English speakers have memorized "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us," but the KJV actually says "Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors" (Matt 5:12). Two verses later, though, Jesus says, "For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses" (vv. 14-15) -- suggesting that whoever changed v. 12 forgot to change these other verses that reference the original version. In this case, I think the explanation is that the commonly memorized form of the Lord's Prayer comes from the pre-KJV Book of Common Prayer, not directly from the Bible. Tyndale's Bible has "trespasses" in v. 12, as does the Matthew Bible, and I suppose the BCP drew from these earlier English versions.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Wm - I presume that all your quotations and Bible references come *wholly* from memory (without looking them up) or else you have pre-judged the issue!

As I say, I have nothing to contribute to any of the specific examples - and anyway, online discussions are presumably open to demonic tampering (unless, perhaps, angelically protected?)...

But I think the ME - in generic terms - is bang on target with one of the Big Issues of our time.

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

Isaiah from memory, the rest I looked up -- but my point is to compare people think the Bible says with what Bibles (as they exist now) actually say, so of course I have to look up the passages to establish the latter.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Wm - Another interesting angle might be that the orally-transmitted memory might be the truth of what Jesus meant (or closer to it), and the Bible passages relatively in error...

On the basis that there may have been a long term divine influence on what gets repeated and remembered.

That, again, would be something that could be investigated by reflective individual intuition.

No Longer Reading said...

Here's an article that lends support to what Wm was saying (https://www.neverthirsty.org/bible-qa/qa-archives/question/did-isaiah-116-once-say-lion-shall-lie-down-with-lamb/).

I'm not sure what to think of the Mandela effect. I never saw Shazaam and I do remember the pronunciation as Berensteen Bears, but I don't think demons can change all the Bibles in the world, whether physical or electronic. I believe that it would be easier for them to change the electronic than physical, but I think would instead act by influencing people. There's any number of alternative translations floating around at any given time and the Establishment could quietly pick the one they think is most useful (even if it wasn't made with bad intention).

Now, one thing I do think the Establishment has been doing for some time is trying to make people question their memories. For instance many years ago, there was the talk of how experiments had been done that showed people's memories could be unreliable. But the specific example I remember was so specially constructed that it is not applicable to the wider world.

The experiment was of family members collaborating with the experimenter who convinced the subjects (not all subjects at once, but the experiment was done multiple times) that they had been lost in a supermarket as a young child and a kind old woman had helped them find their parents.

After a while, people started to say that they did remember the incident and started making up details.

But, first of all, this is taking advantage of the fact that people have fewer memories as a very young child. Also, since family members were collaborating with the experimenter, this means that the subjects were already speaking to people who they trusted. And lastly, it's a fairly benign incident, something where people would think they might not remember it.

And yet things of this nature were (according to the media) supposed to show that all memories of every kind are unreliable.

On a related topic, I think people prior to the era of media had better memories and one reason that people now are more receptive to the idea of doubting their memories is because so much of people's remembering and knowing is outsourced to the social system.

IAMSpartacus0000 said...

I have followed Vox Day since 2003/4 and have actually talked with others about this verse and others like it. Wm Jas Tychonievich is correct in that "Lion and Lamb" reference is short hand. The verse in question has already be miss represented in VD and your case because it doesn't even say "Wolf lies with the lamb". Depending on the translation it is either "The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb" (KJV) or "live with the lamb" (ISV).

The reference for "lie down" is not until "the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together".

If ME is true, which it maybe, and a demon can change the Word of God then you can not have any hope of knowing what is true regarding God. At that point you are back to Jew or Catholic/Eastern tradition being the only arbiter and Word of God being thrown out for "Muh ME".

In this case we have let song and poem replace scripture and even then we don't reference the scripture accurately for the "failed" verse.

This is not a case of ME. Unless my 1964 KJV handed to me by my grand parents has also been changed, and if it is then God help us because there is no way you can know the truth other than your own consciousness.

Michael Baron said...

For what it's worth, I texted my mother (who is the the most knowledgeful person about scripture I personally know), and she knew the whole passage with the wolf off the top of her head. I think that this is an example of people not knowing their Bibles as well as they ought, and asserting the Mandela Effect is subtly dodging responsibility for it.

Chent said...

This has blown my mind and made me feel unwell. I started looking for verses in all the places. It is the wolf with the lamb every time. I have a paper Bible on my office: the wolf with the lamb. But the lion with the lamb is often referred in sermons, songs, images, hymns in Spanish and English, in Protestant and Catholic denominations. Even with the Mormons. And in the memory of millions of people. Is it possible that it is a Mandela effect or supernatural gaslighting?

A said...

I have had the reverse circumstances happen a couple times, where I'd reread a Bible passage and find something new and quite interesting that I genuinely didn't remember existing there before - giving the impression that the Bible was alive. Of course, that may be me just not paying attention or forgetting.

Serhei said...

I find the 'influence on orally-transmitted memory' hypothesis comforting.

Regarding Vox Day's assertion, I can see why demons would find pleasure in editing a sacred text, by whatever supernatural or mundane means were available to them, but this seems like a self-defeating rather than strategic activity, akin to encouraging destruction for the sake of destruction. People who don't rely on hyper-pedantic exegesis and proof-texting are unlikely to change their behaviour because an edit was made to their copy of KJV -- even a more substantial edit than substituting a wolf for a lion. People who do rely on such things are forced to confront the conflict between intuition and proof-texting, and that conflict could be resolved to the demons' disadvantage.

I could also see how supernatural editing of texts might have become easier in the birdemic era, in a situation where millions of people were trained to disregard their memories and senses from as recently as a couple of months ago. To the extent that consciousness determines reality, such a detrimental state of consciousness could conceivably have effects on the stability of electronic or even written texts.

Ironically, the most intense spiritual oppression I felt came not from the year or two of lockdown and peck-oppression measures, but from the period of time this spring in which a large volume of ordinary people apparently resolved to pretend as if the measures never happened. The strong expressed preference for 'normal' life was certainly welcome, but it was expressed in a way that appears to reject the idea of reflecting on and learning from the experience of the past two years.

No Longer Reading said...

In English, "the lion shall lie down with the lamb" is memorable because it is alliterative. Chent also mentioned Spanish. But is this true in all languages, especially traditions before the dominance of English as a language?

Bruce Charlton said...

Some very interesting comments - thanks.

My main interest is in this *kind of* phenomenon, and regarded in a 'soft and flexible' sense - rather than focusing in on specific claims and details.

It has been even more obvious since 2020 that the Establishment does not need to airbrush and rewrite very diligently to have the desired effect of seeding doubt in the reality of memories and personal experience.

As in so many other areas of life - things have come to a point. More and more, we are faced with a stark choice either of believing ourselves and what we personally have discerned as valid... or else believing whatever the Establishment want us to believe today.

All those intermediate human institutions that used to stand between the individual and the System are enfeebled and disordered, even when they have not been destroyed or assimilated.

An example is what Serhei says in his last paragraph: "a large volume of ordinary people apparently resolved to pretend as if the measures never happened". That strikes me as true to an extent that - even a year ago - I would have found unbelievable.

The human capacity, once all-but universal, *to think as a group, and to remember* - seems to have all-but gone.

Jack said...

It's a very interesting hypothesis but I agree that, at least in this case, it's unlikely. The scale of the editing required would include medieval bibles all the way back to the earliest extant manuscripts, as well as the countless pew bibles and hotel bibles and personal study and devotional bibles etc. That is not strictly impossible given that demons are spiritual creatures and therefore, hypothetically, could rearrange ink and computer data in an instant all across the world without effort; though that does assume certain things about spirits and the way they interact with the material world.

Vox Day just put out another post on this calling it quantum editing; it's a plausible hypothesis I suppose. There's a serious question of motive here. Why bother changing it from lion to wolf? Vox Day's original post alludes to the fact that, in the New Testament, the wolf becomes a symbol of spiritual evil in opposition the sheep belonging to Christ's flock; so presumably a reconciliation of wolf and lamb would symbolise some satanic infiltration or mixture in the church between good and evil, and, given that many today (including Vox himself) see the churches as almost universally compromised in this way—the mass corruption of bibles would, what? be a form of demonic gloating over how well they've subverted the church?

Again, it's not entirely implausible but it has to be said that it savours of the unfortunate paranoic element that frequently slips into conspiracy theory/research. It reminds me of Descartes' hypothetical evil daemon which constantly manipulates perceived reality such that you can't trust your own senses and have to retreat into a private world of pure rationality in order to be sure of anything. That is somewhat of a gnostic exercise. If we can't trust our senses, the material world becomes irrelevant and God's creation fades into the realm of mere illusion—close to blasphemy.

I agree with others that it's much more likely a case of collective misremembering based on a popular garbling of the text. After all, a lion is a more visually impressive animal than a wolf and so looks better in paintings and in our imaginations; lion and lamb reminds us of the mystery of the Incarnation as Jesus is referred to both as the Lion of Judah and the Lamb of God; they alliterate, at least in our language; the lion is present in the same verse in Isaiah, just not directly paired with the lamb. And, on the other hand, the original text being wolf and lamb is not absurd, given that in nature these are classical opponents, so that their reconciliation would be a striking image of nature's redemption; and in the Old Testament the wolf hadn't yet taken on the sinister spiritual connotation it later did in the New Testament.

Most of all, I think it's a matter of the trustworthiness of God. Surely He would place a seal of protection over the sacred text in order to preserve it from such corruption. The prophecy of an end times deception makes no explicit mention of the corruption of scripture. Protestants in particular have always argued strongly in favour of divine protection of the veracity and reliability of the scriptures. To à certain extent, our whole faith does rely on the scriptures since they contain the promises God has given to us, so if the scriptures are untrustworthy and therefore God's promises, we are without hope and left to our own devices, thrown back on mere human philosophising bereft of the Gospel and divine revelation.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Jack - As I said above, I think it is a mistake to get too specific and literal in considering this important question. It raises huge issues.

"Most of all, I think it's a matter of the trustworthiness of God. Surely He would place a seal of protection over the sacred text in order to preserve it from such corruption. The prophecy of an end times deception makes no explicit mention of the corruption of scripture. Protestants in particular have always argued strongly in favour of divine protection of the veracity and reliability of the scriptures. "

But surely that has been refuted in practice? Have you recently seen the Bibles *actually in use* in most/ mainstream churches? Corrupt is the word to describe them - and many of these emanate from supposedly prestigious scholars. God does not, and cannot, prevent the corruptions induced by Man's abuse of free will in how he translates, interpret and understands scripture.

I believe that the King James/ Authorized Version was a divinely inspired translation (as were the Septuagint and the Vulgate) but these are hardly known by priests and pastors, hardly used by most self-identified Christians.

But more generally, however it may have been at certain times and places in the past, it seems clear that our faith *cannot* rely on the scriptures in any generic sense. The deliberate usage of bad (i.e. spiritually uninspired, deliberately inaccurate) translations is only one of the problems.

In the first place we would need to be far more explicit about the assumptions that lie behind how we read and understand the Bible or any other scripture (eg. the Mormon scriptures) - because the traditional practice was never unified between denominations, has now broken down; and when made explicit, none of the traditional ways of reading the Bible seem intuitively obviously correct (at least not to me, which is what matters for my faith).

I discuss this at the start of my minibook Lazarus Writes - linked in the sidebar.

WanderingGondola said...

We're far enough into conspiratorial territory here, and Vox's quantum editing idea could tie into this. I don't recall experiencing the Mandela Effect myself, but do consider it may be more than an evil psyop or naturally misremembering things.

Earlier this year I came across suggestions that CERN's Large Hadron Collider is used as part of some demonic scheme to tamper with our very timeline. It's difficult to tell how successful it has been, if true. Assuming it is, MEs may be a visible result, an unintended side-effect, or one way for God to counter the scheme as His own long-term plans roll along. All hypothetical, of course. I feel that any demonic control over time would be temporary at best, as God has the ultimate say in that regard.

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

I think where this line of reasoning takes us in the end is to Cartesian doubt. Vox's hypothetical demons capable of editing every Bible in the world are already very close to Descarte's Malin Génie -- and if they are capable of deception on such a colossal scale, whence the confidence that they cannot also tamper with our memories?

In fact, we don't really need anything as extraordinary as the Mandela Effect, or the Malin Génie, to reach the conclusion that the Bible as we have it may be corrupt. We already have various mutually contradictory interpretations and translations, ancient manuscripts that disagree with one another, uncertainty over dating and authorship, and even disagreement over precisely which texts should be considered "part of the Bible."

The Bible as we have it may be unreliable. This is true even if you aren't willing to countenance the "quantum editing hypothesis" or anything like that. Therefore, the Bible cannot be the ultimate authority, and each person must work out for himself what is the ultimate authority.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Wm - My view is that anything containing Quantum is *at best* just a mathematical-conceptual *tool* - but not an explanation of reality. Because it is a tool, the deepest question is 'does it work', for what is being asked of it.

I also feel the same about anything (other than scifi, as entertainment of an exercise) that assumes the past can be changed. That is simply to violate my most fundamental metaphysical (and theological) intuitive assumptions; and therefore (for me) it cannot be true, no matter what so-called 'evidence' is adduced.

It is interesting that the idea the Bible can be tampered with by demons is regarded as a PSYOPS for opposite reasons - on the one hand the Mandela Effect accuses demons of PSYOPS; on the other Bible-Based Christians regard the proposers of the ME as engaged in a PSYOP for the reason you give in the first para.

I regard the ME as a flawed conceptualization and over-materialistic description of a very important phenomenon - this increasing, and deliberately manipulated, mismatch between inner and outer sources (conceptual as well as factual).

If the debate gets hung up on discrete public 'facts' then it will do mostly harm, whatever the 'conclusion' - because 'facts depend on metaphysical assumptions, which are what we ought to be discussing...

But if the debate moves onto discussion of the reality and scope of demons, and the strategic demonic corruption of human institutions and 'knowledge' sources; and targeting of Christian external 'authority' of all sorts - then it could do great good.

Kathleen said...

I was extremely disturbed by the possibility of demons changing the text of the Bible. But after sitting with that idea awhile, I realized that if demons were capable of doing this, they would have done so long ago, or altered passages more relevant to deceiving Christians. I think they have instead planted the idea that they have this power to change or make us believe our lying eyes. If they can sow doubt in any random passage, what's to stop them from sowing doubt in more substantial or important passages? From there, if you can't trust the Word of God, how can you trust in God at all? Very diabolical strategy, as expected.

ben said...

what if the Large Hadron Collider is a tool of the demons?

Bruce Charlton said...

@ben - The LHC is a tool of fake science: jobs and money and status for professional bureaucrats.

Fake science is, admittedly, a tool of the demons; but the LHC probably much less dangerously so than bioscience, medicine, epidemiology etc. Big Science (i.e. the professional research bureaucracy) began with physics (e.g. Manhattan Project) but is overwhelmingly pseudo-biology and -'medicine', nowadays.