You know this thing where you can’t tell the violation from its justification—do we just say that certain things go together – depression and failure to forgive oneself, sin and it’s attendant self-justification, uh, what else? Basically everything where you’d say you do the bad thing and then you justify it by self-deceiving. That’s everything. So rather than one happening first, they both come together somehow and you can’t tell which one comes first. Very confusing. But sometimes the truth isn’t immediately intuitive. Take the theory of relativity and quantum physics. But do we just say they come together? And if so exactly how – is it a necessary relationship? The theory I’ve been putting forward is that it is.
You might say it like this—any time you go against the light you self-deceive. That way you’re not making it a cause and effect thing, as if it were two separate things. Seems like other cause-and-effect stuff is actually like this—not separate things so much in actuality, just in our way of speaking and conceptualizing. I think of my old writing session at BYU where I talked about how words don’t necessarily represent different isolated things, but rather all “objects” are really connected, and the words we use just kind of conceptualize a different element of them. Guitar, guitar strings, wood, steel, whatever. How do you separate the object from the parts of the object, and everything else? It’s an artificial separation. It’s a linguistic thing. It’s a conceptual thing. There’s no such actual thing as “things”.
So cause and effect are not really separate either, everything’s connected. Is that too strong to say? For that matter everything is one big connected blob? It’s just however we want to categorize things for our purposes. You can categorize them however you want in order to understand them and communicate and so forth.
So this cause-and-effect relationship between acting against the light and justifying it is, strictly speaking, not cause-and-effect at all, since nothing is cause-and-effect strictly speaking? Or because just it isn’t cause-and-effect? How do I always run into these things? In any case, it’s not cause-and-effect. The choice you make brings you into the self-deception at the same time any act is committed. Man, this is so central to everything, it would be nice to understand it.
I guess for right now it will have to be sufficient to say that it all happens at the same time. But it also seems like sometimes there is a state of mind/perception/self-deception in the absence of an act that you can track down. This is central, too! Is that possible? A person can be a thief in their heart without actually committing a theft? A person can be a murderer, an adulterer, whatever, without ever committing the act? Or will it always manifest, sooner or later? Isn’t this an important question? And I don’t know.
Tuesday, January 5, 2021
I was listening to Jody Moore’s podcast, Better Than Happy, and she said that she teaches that the thought comes first and the emotion comes after that, or whatever. Well if she can teach that, can I? I mean is that close enough? What about the “soft seat principle”? Where physical things can influence your emotions? Am I confusing stuff too much here? Don’t prophets and apostles teach that, too? I’d need to check that, I guess. But surely I can say that yea, other things influence your feelings and all that, including soft seats and uncomfortable ones, but it’s still your thoughts that influence your feeling of well being, or something like that. Right?? Does this mean I can also say that going against the light, whether in thought or in deed, causes…
What am I getting wrong here? Pushing through a paragraph. Going against the light, whether in thought or in deed, is all in thought. It’s all the same, as far as self-deception goes, no? Or is it different? Say it’s the same. The Ten Commandments don’t necessarily say what to think. But Jesus said what to think – He said it’s the same. Thinking and doing. He that looketh upon a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery already in his heart. What does that mean? We don’t have to talk to our bishop and there isn’t the same moral consequence with the act of adultery and the thought. But as far as self-deception goes they are similar, no? You can see the world in a way that it is justified (because you are just that tempted, or whatever), both ways. Many are murderers in their hearts. Many are adulterers in their hearts. Surely. Ahh, this drives me crazy. Surely I’m overcomplicating things in my mind. But I don’t know. But can we just say that we choose our attitude, or whatever? Yea, there are other factors. But in the end we choose it, no? Then how have I not learned that? Optimistic, hopeful, cheerful, notwithstanding the circumstances. And grateful. That’s how you gotta be. And faithful. Maybe doesn’t mean you gotta enjoy it, in a certain way. I don’t know. Doesn’t have to be pleasant, know what I mean? But you can’t give in to despair, you can’t lose hope, you can’t be ungrateful or give in to fear and everything, or you’re in the wrong. It’s hard. But Jesus never gave into those things, right? Notwithstanding all difficulties? He might not have liked every minute, if you know what I mean, but he was true. He didn’t lose faith. That’s how we should be. And we can. I believe that. We’re not perfect. I know I’m not. But we can. We can.
Many might be sinners in their hearts, but I for one am grateful that I can check myself and repent. I’m grateful I know right from wrong and can keep on the right path. I’m grateful for the Savior. I know that through His grace I can be made whole and so can others.
Friday, January 8, 2021
What muddies my mind? Something does.
I look forward to when I learn to think with more clarity, and can navigate the pitfalls that so often trip me up currently.
Maybe cause and effect is like this: There are things to act and things to be acted upon. When you act it’s free-will/agency, and everything else is connected through determinism. Time separates things, but they’re really connected. The only thing that separates things is free will. How about that?
Tuesday, January 12, 2021
I need to record a podcast but I don’t know what to say. Listening to these abnormal psychology lectures. It’s fun and interesting. I want to read a little more on Aaron Beck. Does he call thoughts right and wrong, or just positive and negative? But doesn’t positive and negative imply true and false? If true and false is he admitting he believes in truth and error? I should maybe add to my list of axioms that there is truth and error, independent of any person’s imagined moral system, which is based on God’s commands and his will for any given situation.
I want to explore sometime what the difference is between the light of Christ and the Holy Ghost, and what in the scriptures might actually refer to the light of Christ. I’m thinking many things, and that we say “the Spirit” and we don’t necessarily know which one we’re talking about.
Regarding Episode 2 (Religious Self-Justification and Self-Deception), I want to say that a person could at any time say, “Oh but that’s not why I left the Church. That’s not why I persecute the Church. I just persecute the Church because it’s so bad and hurt me so much.” I would say, really? What did the Church do so bad to you? How are you focusing so much on those things in light of everything? Why can’t you leave it alone? What makes you feel the need to slander the Church? Why can’t you leave it alone? Do we not know that you must be in the wrong? Else why would you act as if you have this constant need to justify yourself by slandering the church? That’s not why you left the Church, you say. Ok, well leave it alone, then. If you can leave it alone, maybe I’ll believe that you are in the right. But if you can’t leave it alone, we have to be suspicious of you. We are left with no choice. People who can’t leave something alone are justifying themselves for hating something they shouldn’t. Well I have nothing to justify myself for, I just hate things because they’re bad. Ok. Then leave it alone. Do it, I dare you. You can’t. You can’t because you know inside somewhere that you shouldn’t be hating on that thing, or that person, and so you have to justify yourself in your mind by slandering that thing or that person, and you can’t stop, because no matter how much you slander it inside you know that you’re in the wrong. Else why keep trying to convince yourself and others that that thing or that person is bad, without stopping?
Many people don’t understand that they need to be on the look out for self-justification. It’s an indication that you’re in the wrong on that point. If you find yourself getting angry about a certain topic and you can’t seem to stop, and you have all kinds of reasons that thing is bad and you find yourself wanting to tell others that it’s bad, take a look at yourself. Take a look at that thing and see if you’re not in the wrong about it. You’ll have to swallow some pride. It’s in there, I guarantee it. Think of it this way – the Lord has given us a great way to see that we are in the wrong about stuff. If we start acting like we’re justifying ourselves – if we start coming up with multiple reasons something is bad, and are hating on that thing, it’s a great indication that we are probably in the wrong about that thing.
Now it’s not wrong to be angry about something, I say. Moroni was furious about the king-men, who, after all he had done to protect them and provide for their happiness, spurned their own freedom and that of others and were traitors to the cause of their own country, refusing to fight for their own country and teaming up with the Lamanites to overthrow the freedom of their land. That should make a person angry. If it doesn’t you are traitors like them. But was Moroni justifying himself by getting mad? Was he coming up with reasons the king-men were bad, like multiple reasons? Could he not stop? No, he marched against them and pulled them down. And they proved to cause much destruction in the long term, even though he did that.
Now an outside observer could say Moroni was in the wrong, I guess, if they just believed that all anger was wrong. They’d be wrong about that, though. God gets angry. What more do I have to say? God gets angry, and we have so many examples in the scriptures it should be unnecessary to cite any. He was angry with the children of Israel in the wilderness and many of them perished. God can be angry whenever he wants. I know some people who would say something foolish like that God doesn’t get angry. Read the scriptures. If you believe in God, read His scriptures. Nowhere does it say that man can’t be angry, or that all anger is wrong. And if you believe that take a look at yourself. First of all see if you don’t have major psychological issues. Second, see if you can’t stop hating on people who get angry. See if you don’t feel constantly abused by people in your life who get angry. That’s not abuse, that’s a person who is normal. You are not normal. There is such thing as abuse, and unfair treatment, and all that, and it’s real and it is truly bad and terrible. But take a look at yourself and see if others around you aren’t being reasonable and you are actually the unreasonable one. Ok?
I’m sure such a person is considering me emotionally abusive right now. Take a look at yourself, I tell you. You’ve got issues you need to work through yourself still. Who have you not forgiven? Go do that. But stop hating on me for telling you the truth.
That’s definitely not how I intended that first paragraph to go. I was just going to say that a person could say, well that’s not why I’m against the Church, or whatever. And it’s possible they could have some other reason, I guess? But they would have to be wholly unfamiliar with it, having some disinformation that they chose to believe, or very incomplete information, and have been content to base their opinion on that disinformation or incomplete information. It was either John Taylor or Wilford Woodruff who, upon hearing someone speak evil of the Church when they were wholly unfamiliar with it, resolved to go to the meeting because if there were evil excited against it there must be some truth to it. That’s how we need to think. That’s how wise we should be. If people are intent on slandering something, we should pay attention to that thing, knowing that only good can attract persecution like that. People don’t feel a need to persecute evil. The righteous don’t persecute anything. They fight against evil, but not because they can’t stop. They ignore it, or they take action, but they can leave it alone just fine.
Oh, you don’t think such-and-such is a good thing? Ignore it, then. Do what I do. Leave it alone. Go about your life. Be well. Well, why are you standing here? Go. You can’t? Think about that.
I feel like this is so clear to me – I’ve seen so much of it in my life. I don’t know why it isn’t obvious to others.
And now this same self-justification is active in depression and anxiety. But it doesn’t have the moral weight, right? He who doesn’t accept the light is condemned already, because he’s rejected the light (how does the scripture go?) But we’ve been told depression can happen without us being at fault. Or something to that effect.
Self-deception happens at the same time as just being in the wrong. No previous act necessary. The justification needs its own justification. The justification itself requires justification. The justification IS the wrong. More needs to be hashed out with this.
What is the relationship between condemnable self-justification and non-condemnable self-justification? This is central. Is it just the amount of knowledge we reject?
Thursday, January 14, 2021
Quantum physics. That’s what it’s called.
I pray for clarity of mind regarding all these concepts.
It’s like this. You can think the president has faults. But the moment you do something you shouldn’t, like slander him as a person, you cross the line, and from then on you have to see him as deserving of slander (a mischaracterization), and you are under the necessity of justifying your position/your act by continuing to slander him and see him falsely. You are fine as long as you stay in the right. As long as you respect that person properly, even while criticizing certain actions or attributes or whatever, you are fine. But the moment you cross the line and are improper and untruthful in your criticism or whatever, you, well, you cross the line to where you have to justify yourself. It is a characterization of the untruthful way of being and the truthful way of being, where the truthful you don’t have to justify anything, and the untruthful you are constantly justifying yourself. Do you see this difference? Untruthful and truthful. I keep wondering if this is the day and night difference that Mormon described. It’s a fine line, we say, yet it’s day and night, according to Mormon. The same activity (sleeping, eating, being attracted to something…) can go too far, and the difference is day and night. But you get my point about crossing the line, about acting improperly and properly, about being untruthful and truthful? It’s like Terry Warner said, it’s two ways of being. It’s not just a cause-and-effect thing – we’re describing two ways of being. He called it I-It and I-You. I like to call it truthful and untruthful. But it’s the same thing. And there are really only two ways of being. Not three. You are in accordance with the light, the truth, or you’re not. And there’s no in-between. The one way is good, the other way is evil.
Now, how does that work with us on a moment-to-moment basis? I’m not sure I know. I know I have faults and weakness, and that I’m surely wrong about some things and right about others. But if you can only be one way at a time, how does that work? Subject for another day.