Blessings and curses

Increase your awareness of the positive and negative messages you send and receive.  The balance determines the emotional atmosphere you create within yourself and for those around you.

1Placebos---shake your rattle

2Blessings and curses

3Do you nourish or poison?

4Don't stuff your negative feelings

5Power Pills---placebos and Pavlov



Shake your rattle

You are hard-wired to find pattern and meaning---wonderful biological gifts that keep you alive, as they did all your ancestors.  Luckily for you, they were great scientists, and used the same hypothesis---test---confirm or dis-confirm approach of modern science.


Mushroom good.  Mushroom bad.

Deer here sun go down.


Maybe their methodology wasn’t quite as elaborate, but the results they obtained were eminently more useful than most of what comes out of our university labs.  But they made mistakes.


Each year at the time of the winter solstice, the shaman gathered the tribe.  Sure enough, when he shook his rattle the days stopped getting shorter and started to get longer and longer.  He stopped the world from plunging into eternal darkness---a very powerful shaman.


Villagers assumed the shaman was responsible because they confused association with causality.  The rattle-shaking shaman was associated with the sun staying longer in the sky but in no way caused the change. 


That was our planet slowly tilting on its axis. But the people back then would have no way know that.  So I wonder what very brave, very foolish chief or shaman stopped the ritual

On the other hand, the shaman’s obvious ability to control the sun gave him and his rattle great power to heal the sick.  When he shook his rattle, the self-healing abilities of the human body were powerfully mobilized---a great example of a positive placebo.


Modern medicine men generally don’t use rattles.  They have pills, surgery, and shiny machinery.





The witch doctor blessed the sick and cursed his enemies.  The positive and negative placebos worked great because they triggered powerful hope and fear in their targets.


Our present day civilization has many, many witch doctors.

Our present day civilization has many, many witch doctors:

  The tests indicate that you have an excellent chance of recovery.

  You need retinal implants or you will go blind in two years.

  The odds are very high for another heart attack without this medication.

  The human body has a massive ability to self-heal!

  I regret having to tell you. You only have about two weeks left.

  Your condition will quickly deteriorate if you do not follow my directions

  We almost always have excellent results with this exercise.


Alexander Pope

Tis not enough your counsel still be true;

Blunt truths more mischief than nice falsehoods do.


A messy mix of beneficial and harmful placebos is found in all governments, businesses, interests groups, and religions.


The Medical Industrial Complex is particularly vulnerable to perverse incentives which favor negative placebos.  I strongly suspect that if practitioners concentrated less on illness and negative placebos and more on health and positive placebos, they would have fewer patients.  Those they have would need fewer drugs and surgeries.  Not so good for the bottom line.


incentives are powerful and influence behavior. 

Wittingly and unwittingly.

There is nothing more dangerous than a surgeon

With an open operating room

And a mortgage to pay

Kevin B. Jones, MD


Negative and positive placebos are also thrown by you and me as we talk to friends and enemies, and especially as we talk to ourselves.


During the next few days watch for placebos.  In the words of long ago some will be uppers, some downers, some good vibes, some bad.  The nonverbal, like a frown, smile, tone of voice, posture, are often more powerful than the verbal.  Pay special attention to those you throw at yourself.


You will easily see, hear and feel the difference.  Yes, that is a placebo and hopefully a blessing.








Watch out for the joy-stealers: gossip, criticism, complaining,

faultfinding, and a negative, judgmental attitude.

Joyce Meyer


Some people do really find fault

like there's a reward for it.

Zig Ziglar


The less you respond to negative people,

the more peaceful your life will become.

The Buddha



Constructive criticism is valuable and appreciated.

Faultfinders criticize to put-down and self-glorify.

If you are honest and courageous---Meta Jump!


Open your eyes, ears and sensitivity to how you effect others, and especially how you effect yourself.  Do your messages enliven or drain?  Do you throw mostly beneficial or harmful placebos?


The emotional atmosphere you create within yourself and for those around you is the result of the balance of positive and negative placebos you throw and catch.  The balance of blessings and curses you give and receive.


People consciously and unconsciously keep tract of negative and positive placebos thrown their way.  The quality of your relationship with others depends upon the balance.  Yes, and most importantly, the quality of the relationship you have with yourself.


Negative messages are more powerful than positive. So if you want to keep your friendship warm with others, and with yourself, you better have 2 or 3 positives ready after you throw a negative.


Sandwich every bit of criticism

between two layers of praise.

Mary Kay Ash


Early on, I dreaded going to parties.  And smacked myself repeatedly with negative placebos.  Sure enough, when I got to the party I had a dreadful time.


Then I was lucky or smart enough to shift the negatives to positives.  I changed the dread into excitement and fun, and smacked myself some more.  Sure enough, my party experiences changed to excitement and fun.


Most importantly.  When you receive a negative placebo, Meta-Jump and evaluate it to find if there might be something that you need to acknowledge and correct.


Attend to those that provide an opportunity for growth.

CANCEL!!  CANCEL!!  those that don't.





Sure I throw them all the time.  But only good ones.  Make people happy.  Give em a boost no matter how much you have to lie.  And I’m lying now.  I throw plenty of curses.  Watched.  And they throw them right back.  Maybe I really will throw more blessings and fewer curses.  But curses are more fun.  Ya, I caught myself throwing some curses at myself.  I undid them with a blessing.  What would happen if somebody threw me a curse, and I threw them a blessing?



I watched.  Funny ways to throw curses.  Very low key.  More subtle than those examples.  More subtle cues like a frown or tone of my voice.  Even the way I sit or stand.  Now can choose better.  Maybe I need to throw more curses.  Too much of a goody, goody.  I put myself down with curses all the time.  No wonder I feel like a little mouse.  Gotta start throwing some wild woman messages at myself.




I learned the hard way that negative feelings held toward others or myself always hurt me.  Holding negativity constricts and depresses.  Notice how you are affected.  Learn the easy way.


As The Buddha put it:

Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal

with the intent of throwing it at someone else;

you are the one who gets burned.


That does not mean you should never have negative feelings, never throw them at yourself or others.  They are a useful signal that you or they did something that was inappropriate or harmful.  It is a healthy and necessary part of normal human interaction.


When you stuff them they constrict and depress.  And, they build up and burst out in unexpected and inappropriate ways.


Discrimination and balance are needed, again.  Who said it was easy to be human.





Placebos and Pavlov

The placebo effect is powerful, so use it to your advantage.  Put sugar pills, pieces of breakfast cereal, or whatever, into a small box.


If you want to reduce shyness label the box


Hold the box full of pills:

See yourself confidently and powerfully flowing out into the world.

Hear yourself talking with confidence and power.

Feel your strong body and mind filled with confidence and power.


You have just cycled through your primary modalities: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic.


Repeat a few times to create strong associations.


Then cycle through the modalities in different places, like in your home, car, super market, church, etc.  You want the associations to generalize throughout your world.









Hold the box and cycle through the three modalities a few times.

See yourself alive and happy.

Hear the sound of your alive, happy voice.

Feel your mind and body alive and happy.









See others listening intently to what you have to say.

Hear your smart, knowledgeable voice.

Feel smartness and knowledge filling your mind and body.








Think of other Power Pills to make your life even more joyful, creative and adventurous.


Hold the box and circle through the modalities.










Take a Power Pill as needed.  Your labeling, desire, expectations, vitality, and a little Classical Conditioning empower them, and your mind-body responds.  An effect well known to medicine men, past and present.

Explore.  Experiment.  Have fun.

After a while you need only imagine taking the pill.

I'm addicted to placebos.

Steven Wright







Fun.  Gave some friends some of the pills I created to make them stronger.  They said they worked great.  Told em it was a big secret where I got them.  Yes I lied, and took advantage, and set them up.  They’re happy, so what’s the problem?  Made some for myself, “open minded and flexible”.  Haven’t taken any yet.  Maybe they’re addictive.



I labeled the box Wild Woman.  Very strange, it worked.  I didn’t really get wild but I would take a pill and then notice that I changed.  I tried out different ways of being the Wild Woman.  Some I like, some didn’t work so good.  People noticed the changes.  Sometime they worked sometimes not.  Need to sort out what I want to become.  Not sure what the alternative is.  Wild Woman is scary and fun.  But a pretty meek wild.  But there is more than that.  I like to think I’m becoming more me.  Whatever that means.

© 2020 by Ernest Kinnie