This is the mechanism on that: Any time an individual goes down to the acceptance of, obedience to or belief in–all the same thing–the absolute MEST-enforced1 command of another, he has gone into apathy as far as his own personality is concerned at that moment. That is a static.
Furthermore, he is held on the track at that point. Each one of those statics is an automatic holder. You will find each one of these statics to be an agreement of the individual on what he really ought to be, but it has been forced on him in some fashion or other, and each one is really non survival for him.
All effort is involved with non survival activity or overcoming non survival activity. Of course, his effort to be a good boy hasn’t anything to do with survival activity. It is non survival activity because it had to do, probably, with sitting at the table scared stiff and being told he wasn’t going to have any supper and he wasn’t going to go to bed and he wasn’t going to go to the movies and he wasn’t going to go to this or that unless he proceeded to be a good boy. So he finally said, “All right, I’ll be a good boy,” and at that moment he was done for. He postulated a cause of which he would be the effect. He hadn’t any definition for “a good boy,” but he was going to be one. Being a good boy is doing what somebody else says. Society is full of good boys; so are the insane asylums.
Now, the biggest static that you can give an individual is an enforced, pain-inflicted belief in anything–but particularly God. Any time you start handing out stuff on “Believe in God or we’ll play the devil with you,” you really get a high magnitude of static, because you are asking somebody to believe in something that has been represented as being a magnificent policeman. He is everywhere; you can’t communicate with him but you must communicate with him. He can’t communicate with you, obviously, but he is communicating with you because he is watching you all the time–but you can’t see him. You must love him or he will kill you, but does he love you? You know you love him, though you really hate to tell anybody, but you have to love him because you are in continual agreement with what he says. But nobody has agreed upon what he is supposed to be agreed upon, so naturally you are in agreement on him. This is an odd comment upon organized religion in the United States. Most organized religions don’t conduct themselves this way, so I shouldn’t say “organized religion”; I should say “zealots.” And zealots give churches more trouble than they give anybody else.
To get highly authoritative on this subject, the Minnesota Multiphasic is a test of sanity or insanity which was gathered empirically. Questions by the thousands were taken fromvarious insane asylums and they were all assembled and empirically put together. You find that about 50 percent of the Minnesota Multiphasic applies to religion. There isn’t any accident about it. You get a pain-enforced command on the subject of something as indefinite and as misunderstood as God and you have really got yourself something.
I point this out to you, not because I am trying to unseat the Holy Rollers2–they are entitled to their nickel on the drum, too–but as a beautiful target for Effort Processing, because God is a static, so when somebody comes along and forces an individual to believe in God, the individual is already approaching a static and he doesn’t have to be shoved hard until he is in a static state about it.
You might have an awful time with some little child making him be a good boy, but you won’t have much trouble making him believe in God. You don’t have to push him very far, because you are pushing him straight at a natural static. This is the static of all statics. You shove him toward this static and he will hang up there. And you can go back in any preclear with profit and unfix those statics, if you haven’t got anything better to do. You will get a marked improvement in tone because the individual will now have self-determinism on a static, which is interesting. He has self-determined belief in a static; he will believe in a static because he did believe it in the first place, before somebody came along and gave him an aberration on the subject.
Religion is very easy to use as a control whip and it has been used that way. It aberrates people pretty badly when it is used in that fashion. There are people who are aberrated in the field of religion just as there are in any other field.3