Why would a person believe a lie, I ask again? Cognitive might recognize that the thoughts are unhelpful and negative or whatever (it doesn’t even know they’re false), but it doesn’t know why. It doesn’t know why a person would continue believing something ridiculous. It doesn’t know why it’s sticky. Doesn’t only pride explain that? Let’s think here. Self-justification is great, and it’s wonderful to be self-justified. But wouldn’t we trade it for happiness and peace, if we knew what we were doing? But it’s hard to change, and the reason is pride, is it not? Habit is a hard thing to break, I guess, but we would definitely go in that direction, would we not, naturally, if not for pride? Am I right in this? Evil has chains, good does not. Have you ever heard of the chains of heaven? That’s because there aren’t any. But hell has them.
This professor of abnormal psychology keeps describing these disorders and some student keeps asking, “what causes that?”, and he keeps basically saying we don’t know. We don’t know, we don’t know, we don’t know. We don’t know what causes depression. We don’t know what causes these anxiety disorders. We don’t know what causes OCD. He mentioned how Freud thought it was related to masturbation. Really, that’s all you’ve got?!
What I’m driving at is, of course, that I think self-deception has the power to explain these things better than what we have. How would I explain OCD, for example? What did the person do wrong, or is doing wrong, for example, to have to justify themselves by painting the world in a way that they have to continually check the oven that it’s not on? Sorry if that’s a bad example, but it’s one of the ones you hear. Why do I keep checking that the oven is off? Because I think it’s on all the time, that I forgot to turn it off. Why do you think that–you should know that you hardly ever in reality leave it on, think back or make a chart or something–it’s always off. I know but I think it’s on all the time. It’s crazy, I know, I hate it. It’s stupid. I just can’t stop. Ok, so you realize all that, that it’s unreasonable. Yes, absolutely, totally. Doesn’t matter. I just keep doing it. If I don’t check it I’ll just worry about it and it will drive me crazy until I do. Gotcha.
It’s almost like a person is looking for an excuse to be anxious. It’s not about the oven. It’s about having something to worry about, almost. Isn’t it. Speaking for myself I feel like that’s kind of how my anxiety works. If I’m not worried about one thing I’m worried about another. And if I’m not miserable about one thing I’m miserable about another. If I’m physically sick, I don’t feel anxious and miserable that way. It’s almost a relief, really. I’m not kidding. That’s me, at least, and I don’t think I’m the only one.
Well how would you explain someone with OCD, I ask again? Why would a person do that? I’ll try pushing through a paragraph to see where I can get. Well certainly the person has a view of the world that is such that they likely left the oven on (a view that we’ve already acknowledged is false–it’s not likely at all.) And how did they get that view? Is that what’s so hard to tell and is different for different people and situations? I don’t know for sure. Well it’s simple, really – the person needs something to be anxious about, and so that’s what they found, for whatever reason. The idea that they left the oven on makes them anxious and miserable, and that’s what you need. If their life were different and if circumstances were different they’d find something else to be anxious about. Why would they “need” to find something to be anxious and miserable about? It justifies them. It satisfies their pride. Justifies what? The commandment to be happy and hopeful and confident and peaceful? Something like that, yea. Being a victim justifies sin. Being a victim justifies being a victim. Being miserable and anxious and non-confident justifies us not reaching out to help others and testify of the good things we know. Something like that. Being in a yucky state justifies us in not being helpful and happy. Think of Laman and Lemuel–their whole philosophy and downfall is related to their being victims. Hmm. Not sure how great this paragraph is so far. Why does a person have OCD? Again, that’s just how their anxiety and misery exhibits itself. It’s almost like, why does anybody not have anxiety and depression? How do we ever not? Is it not faith? The world would tell us we need to be miserable, because there’s no hope, nothing good is coming our way, we are worthless…the world has nothing to tell us we shouldn’t be miserable and have a bleak outlook. That’s the world. Only faith in the reality of God and Jesus Christ can really get us any happiness and peace. (Even if we don’t recognize it as such?) But what about the oven? Even the world tells us the oven is probably not on. So why place our anxiety and fear on that? Are we just looking for something – anything – to lay our worries on? It’s not about the oven. It’s about us needing to place our fear on something, right, and maybe we don’t realize that what we really need to worry about is death, and eternal misery. Is it just a matter of misplaced concern? If you were to fix the thing with the oven, would it just crop up again directed at something else? I don’t know. But it seems like it might. And I’m stealing my point here a bit from Jordan Peterson–the question is why don’t we all have constant depression and anxiety (can’t remember exactly how he said it) because death? I don’t know how he answers that but wouldn’t faith be the antidote in general? But that’s too general, I think. Even faithful people in general or in many areas struggle with anxiety and depression. Even though I think faith and anxiety can’t exist at the same time in the same place, or in the same person. Hmm. Hmm, hmm, hmm. We need to learn to exercise faith in all moments, I guess.
Well I tried. That last paragraph seems like this whole podcast – a valiant effort, some great things, maybe, some wrong things maybe but hopefully not too bad, and some stuck moments of uncertainty and wandering in the dark. I’m still proud of it.
I was thinking of agency the other day, or “free will”, as philosophers call it. There’s freedom to act, to move, etc., and we have it and all living things have it, inasmuch as they have knowledge and the ability to move and act. I was walking and looking at some grass. Does grass have the ability to move, to act? Yes it does. So if you define free will that way grass has free will. Or if you define agency that way a grass plant has agency. I say. But it doesn’t have a knowledge of good and evil, and therefore doesn’t have moral agency. We do. Every person has moral agency, because we know good from evil. What about little children? I guess I have to say no, since inasmuch as they don’t have a knowledge of good and evil they don’t have moral agency. Hmm. I always have to push myself into these hard spots. In any case, a little child is not accountable before God for his or her moral actions. Whatever they do that is contrary to the will of God is forgiven, through the atonement of Jesus Christ. I say forgiven, but I might misspeak–they’re not forgiven because they don’t sin. They don’t have power to sin because they don’t know good from evil. The devil doesn’t have power to tempt little children because they don’t know good from evil yet. That’s how he doesn’t have power. They’re not capable of sinning. (I just read Moroni 8.) But this is the whole point, that you can’t sin if you don’t know good from evil, and that’s how we sin – we know good from evil and we do evil. Get it? It’s a knowledge thing. But we all have the light of Christ, from little child up to old person. And it seems to me the light of Christ extends to animals. Am I wrong on that? Seems they exhibit self-deception, such as when a dog gets all mad when you go by, or bites you viciously, or exhibits signs of abuse like cowering. Hmm. Have to think about that some more, but that’s what it seems to me. (Unless it’s all behaviorally conditioned…? But it’s maladaptive…) But
Saturday, December 19, 2020
What if we forgave all men, including ourselves, and were at perfect peace with the world in that way? Would we have occasion to be depressed? Well no, right, because depression is a failure to forgive ourselves. How is that tied to forgiving others? Surely if we don’t forgive others we are liable to not forgive ourselves, and vice versa. Am I in a state of perfect forgiveness of myself? Then why do I keep remembering my mistakes? Hmm. What can I do to be at more peace with myself? I pray that I can forgive myself fully, through the merits of Jesus Christ.
A failure to forgive others can make us sick, and failure to forgive others can make us sick.
It’s a trap. Traps hold you in even when you don’t want to be there. Traps make it so you can’t see the way out, even though you really want to get out. The nature of self-deception, of the adversary’s lies are that as soon as you’re in you can’t see the way out. That’s a trap.
Sunday, Dec 20, 2020
Alright, don’t have a pre-plan, just going to write for a minute and try to move forward. I want to package this stuff better, have a clearer picture of how it all works together. Right now it feels like the gospel – hard to describe fully in a few sentences. Maybe. But it’s still too scattered in my mind. So here we go–it’s simple. It’s those theses I wrote in “Founding Principles” Several principles from which others flow. We have a few originals. The constant light to which we are privy. The law that going against that requires self-deception. That depression in essence is a mistreatment of the self, and involves the lie that we are worthless (the two go together), and is, of course contrary to the light of truth. That anxiety involves a lie that we are doomed somehow, and is also contrary to the truth. (Not all anxiety, but all excessive anxiety.) I’m not sure whether we need to say this, but misery and doom would be justified except for the atonement of Christ, but because of it, they’re not, and involve lies. Overcoming the trap of these lies requires the atonement of Jesus Christ, whether we know it or not.
Those are good. That’s a good start. That’s big. So basically depression and anxiety are not justified.
Thursday, Dec 24, 2020 (Christmas Eve)
I have a question. You know how depression and anxiety are lies because of Jesus Christ, since we are redeemed from death and hell, and we thus have reason to rejoice and have hope? Well what about if we’re wicked, and live our lives in such a way that the atonement of Christ is “of none effect”? We’ll be resurrected, albeit not necessarily unto glory. But some of us will suffer in hell, at least for a time. What about that? The prophet says ye ought to fear, and tremble. Does this mean despair and misery aren’t a lie for some people, but it is for others, namely those who are living their lives more right? Hmm, I don’t know. The righteous ought to break forth into joy and sing together, and the wicked ought to fear and tremble, for wo unto them if they do not repent. But don’t wicked people get depressed and anxious too? Surely it’s not just the righteous. Hmm, I don’t know. But you see my question?
Christ is a light that is endless, that can never be darkened. That’s what Abinadi said. You might ask, what is the light of Christ, actually? Is it an essence, what is it? High-frequency electromagnetic radiation, what? But don’t the scriptures say that Christ is that light? At least he’s the source? It comes directly from God and fills the immensity of space, in all and through all things. Maybe we can’t understand it, and that’s fine. For me it’s enough to know that much, I guess for my present purposes.