The term “Halitosis” is widely used in American language nowadays. It is common knowledge that the word refers to an unpleasant smelling breath. But did you also know that it has been in circulation for not even a hundred years and has not been invented in the medical field, but by advertisers?
In the 1920s, people did not worry as much about their body smell as they do today. They did not shower so often, did not use Deodorant, and some body-own smells were not necessarily seen as a social disaster. Listerine, a family-owned company that produced antiseptic products, made sure that this changed and was able to increase its turnover from $ 115,000 to eight million over the course of just seven years.
The beginnings of the Listerine brand date back to the 1880s: among many other applications, it was then sold as a household cleaner, medical antiseptic and to combat gonorrhoea. 40 years later, the company owner and his son had the brilliant idea of looking for a high-pitched Latin word for “bad breath” that sounded like a medical Problem and then marketing it as if it were actually a diagnosable disease that affects the social life of all people.
They designed ads in which wives were told that their Halitosis would make them unattractive to their husbands. Husbands were announced, their Halitosis make sure that the wives did not want to kiss them. Young women were told that they would remain forever unmarried and not desirable if they did not treat their” indefensible " condition with Listerine. The advertisers even went so far as to invite mothers, that even their own children could disgust themselves before their breath.
It worked. People, in their sudden despair, began to spend a lot of money on the product they were supposed to heal from this terrible disease, a disease whose existence they had only recently experienced. The company acquired a fortune by creating demand for its product through artificial shame and fear.
This type of advertising today is quite normal because it works. Mothers are told that if they do not use the detergent X, they may expose their children to unnecessary danger. Fathers are said to neglect their protective function if they do not install the safety system Y in the House. Wives and girlfriends should know that their sexual parts could smell unpleasant if they do not buy the women’s hygiene product Z. Screens, posters and magazine advertisements explain to us in a fort: “did you know that you are completely deficient? Yeah, it’s true! But don’t worry: with the miracle remedy XY you get the handle!“In the US, advertising can be said outright:
Hey, have you ever felt emotionally not quite ok? There is an explanation for this! Ask your doctor if XY is right for you.
Consumers are being manipulated to worry about a problem they didn’t even know of until two seconds ago, and then to buy the solution.
The concept of " sin " has many similarities with Listerine’s marketing trick, with the difference that there is no such thing as sin in contrast to bad breath and that the lucrative nature of this concept is naturally exponentially higher for those who have benefited from his invention and dissemination.
Sin is completely free, because we are actually a bunch of primates with relatively large brains moving around the Earth and experiencing the consequences of these movements, no more and no less.
If you unravel these stories from the power of faith, then the almost ridiculously transparent marketing concept behind them becomes visible.
“Shall we tell you something? Do you know that when you feel like you’re basically fine? No, it doesn’t! Because you’re infected with sin, and only the One True ReligionTM can save you from it! It’s true! You can cut and sniff with it — and keep your soul from the eternal hellfire! Yes, this is the One True ReligionTM! The follow is A True ReligionTM and you will be freed from the burden of sin. Also, you’ll get to the best place you can imagine when you’re dead. Refuse to obey one true Religion, and all this sin will cause the worst that you can imagine, so only after you’re dead, not immediately. Act now, supplies are running out! The basket for tithing now turns out to be, buy yourself into a true Religion today!“
Ridiculous, manipulative bullshit.
Of course, people’s belief in sin is not only nourished by fear. It can also be satisfying for the Ego to believe that the true assholes of our world will spend eternity for their transgressions in a state of perpetual torture. In addition, in a world that is otherwise a completely limitless and open improvisation exercise without ultimate rules or guidelines, it can feel very reassuring to be told what to do or to leave. It is more pleasant to live according to a series of guidelines for which you have no responsibility, but which have been handed over from above by an infallible, omniscient and omnipotent deity which is at the foundation of our reality.
But that’s what it is: you are responsible. You are absolutely responsible for finding out how best to get around in this vast universe. You can’t roll this responsibility off on some idiot with a funny hat or on an imaginary Carpenter’s bomb. Sin and holiness are nothing but free-invented concepts of weakness. This means that the only truly relevant understanding of how to behave in this world is your own.
This responsibility can be scary. But taking it seriously is the first step to turn us into the kind of people who can cope with the great challenges that our species is about to face.
If you lead a responsible life, you cannot rely on the rules of others. You have to be very aware of what is important to you, what kind of world you want to live in and how you want to shape your life. Then we have to take measures to make these ideas a reality. There is no ultimate law and injustice woven into the fabric of reality based on a clear view and what one wants for his environment.
People say we’re all just a bunch of hedonist criminals if we don’t believe there’s absolutely right or wrong behavior. That’s nonsense. If you had the opportunity to shoot a Film that contains all the things you want to see. No, you’d do your best to turn the Film into a work of art. This is also the case in real life: we all try in our way to create a beautiful life and make a contribution to a liveable world. We don’t aim at hurting other people or destroying things. The more clearly we see it, the more skill we will be in shaping our lives as we wish.
Except for this would probably only sociopaths, psychopaths and people with other serious personality disorders. But this blow man has never really believed in sin, because it serves only social Manipulation and manipulative people can not be deceived. For a sociopath, the concept of sin is only relevant in that it uses it to get what it wants. Only emotionally and empathically “normal” people can be manipulated by the construct sin.
The broad distribution of the concept is a consequence of the way we are psychologically wired and how this wiring is manipulated. This is not only the case in religious contexts: also in many other areas, similar mechanisms are rummaged around precisely these wiring. For example, the intimidating behavior of moderate Democrats towards left-wing party members who were not behind Hillary Clinton in the run-up to the US elections in 2016 was similar in many respects to a Horde of church women who would either put down their own because they left the church or want to part with their husband.
The centrists did not speak of an eternal life in hell, but of the fact that an election victory would mean Donald Trumps the end of the world. The Problem was not a sinful behavior towards God, but a disobedience to the unity of the liberal mainstream. However, despite the fact that the vocabulary of the political context is different from that of the Religious, the same kind of Manipulation and bullying that is marked with a flock take place in both areas. The concept of individual sovereign responsibility was vehemently rejected by the Church of the blue donkey.
The concept of sin is used as a tool for social Manipulation, all three whips around the same psychological wires. Since history began, the rich and powerful have used all the means at their disposal to control people’s thinking and actions. When Religion had even more psychological weight, the Elite used it to legitimize book burns, witch burns, and the destruction of all that threatened the ruling order. However, since humanity is in the process of eradicating this plague, Propaganda and advertising now take their place.
But it is always one and the same form of Manipulation, the same disease. The antidote for this is always the same: from a perspective of individual sovereignty, all manipulation attempts from the outside start to be noticed like a black fly on a white sheet of paper. So by standing firmly behind what you think is right, what life you are trying to live and what kind of world you want to help, you create a clear picture of the path you are on.
With this clear picture in front of our eyes, we can all Try to be of his own way, for what they are: unwanted interference Form in which they oppose one; whether as “You’re a sinner, that’s why you need Jesus,” “You’re defective and need this product” or “Trust Big brother, he will do the Right thing for you.” If you are aware of your responsibility and Vision of the world, you can shake off the manipulators and confidently oppose the great results you want to achieve with your actions.