30: If Not for the Light of Christ

(Full Notes)

Friday, October 2, 2020

Depression is hard.  Anxiety is hard.  Schizophrenia I’m sure is hard, and the list goes on.  Again, the thing is, self-deception results from our choices but it also results from not our choices.  And how do you tell the difference?  Who knows the choices a person has made besides that person and God?  Maybe somebody, but probably not.  Period.

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Let’s go on this idea that depression is caused by the idea, the thought, that you are worthless, and everything that flows from that.  The idea is that if you keep thinking it repeatedly it will become a pattern somehow.  And somehow self-deception is tied in with that.  It becomes an excuse.  Or maybe it’s an excuse from the get-go?  I hope it’s ok if I delete all this because it’s messy.  There’s misery to it, same as with anxiety.  There’s misery.  And misery is an excuse, right?  Wow, can’t believe I’m saying this.  Really want to delete it now (because what if it’s not.).  But what if it is?  What if the misery is an excuse?  Somehow it’s an excuse.  It holds you in the pattern of not doing what you need to do.  Well is there something that you need to do that you’re not doing?    I pray for revelation, for strokes of ideas to my mind, for a little help as I strive to understand these things.

What causes depression?  Does it really begin with the lie?  Or can chemistry come first, and the lie come after that?  That doesn’t really make sense.  I can’t really see how that would make sense.  Chemistry first?  Nah, how would that happen?  You feel miserable and then something else happens mentally?  No, the misery only comes as an excuse.  An excuse for what?  Hmm.  An excuse for not doing what you need to do, which is to love yourself and stop making excuses.  The misery doesn’t come from physiology.  It comes from the excuse.  Right?  The misery. . .well there’s a physical aspect to it, though.  But that’s not the misery.  Sure, it’s miserable to feel physically bad, but pain or physical discomfort doesn’t equal the misery that’s felt with depression or anxiety.  No, no no.  That misery comes from the lie.  There’s a mechanism here.  It’s not just one big blob.  Not just a collection of symptoms and so forth.  There’s an essence to it – it’s all connected logically.  Physiologically and mentally.  Spiritually.  It’s all connected, but not as a blob – rather the different parts are connected to each other in different ways, and that’s what we need to discover.  Like a car is all connected, but not all the parts are connected to each other in the same way.  No, no, no.  There’s electrical connections and there’s physical and mechanical connections of different types.  A car is actually kind of complex.  Pray we can understand how things are connected with psychology.  Pray we can understand.  I have this belief that we can.  That’s the belief I have.  If it’s false, I’m wasting a lot of time here.  And getting all excited over nothing.  But I don’t think I’m wrong.  I believe it’s a tough problem, to be sure, but not one that’s beyond a mortal’s ability to comprehend.  Somebody just hasn’t thought of the breakthrough idea yet.  Like Einstein did.  I believe God is willing for us to understand, if we’ll ask, seek, and knock.  That’s what I’m doing.  That’s what I do.  And I intend to keep it up until I can explain this stuff to somebody.

Maybe it’s little more nuanced than that the lie comes first.  Or maybe not.  But let’s say the lie comes first.  Well, maybe the temptation comes first.  What’s the temptation?  The temptation…the temptation is to discount yourself, and that’s what you do.  It’s easier.  We’re lazy, and a little bit rebellious.  It’s pride, though, that moves us to do it.  Not humility.  But it’s confusing a little, right?  Everything’s confusing when you yield to temptation.  It’s only clear when you don’t.  Things must have been clear for the Savior.  Because He never yielded.  That must be what muddies it all up for me and maybe for the rest of us.  Do you think?  How else would things be so confusing? 

Friday, Oct 9, 2020

If we can’t judge whether a person is self-deceived as a result of their choices or not, period, what does that mean?  Well partly maybe that it’s not a matter of reversing past choices in order to escape depression and anxiety, but rather it’s to make new choices that are different and purposeful in the right direction.  Right?  Also that it’s not totally fruitful to judge or condemn, since that very well might not be the issue.  Which did sin – this man or his parents that he was born blind?  That comes to mind.  In that case, neither.  Interesting that whoever asked Jesus that assumed it was one or the other, and of course it was neither.  The question was framed wrong.  It was like all those philosophical questions we’ve discussed, which are framed wrong in the first place, therefore have no answer, or rather have a multiplicity of possible answers, none of which is right.  Such is philosophy.  Well, at least some of philosophy, much of it, unfortunately.  But we can take that pattern and learn from it.  Be aware of it.

So when we run into this kind of pattern in psychology we can be aware of it and look for a possible mis-framing of the question.  Hmm.  How does it apply to the question we just addressed?  I don’t know – in any case maybe it’s not up to us to condemn, well of course it isn’t – ever – right?  We don’t need to build a theory either on condemning or judging a person, right?  How does that work?  Does that pull the rug out from under us?  Theoretically?  Are we judging in this theory?  I don’t think it has to be.  We can acknowledge what happens with self-deception without being condemning, right?  How do we do that?  Just in the kindest way possible?  Or is our theory flawed or mis-focused somehow?  Should we call it something other than self-deception?  Something kinder?  Is there anything?  It sounds so bad.  It sounds condemning a little bit.  It sounds a little too purposeful.  Self-deception.  It sounds idiotic.  It sounds perverse.  It sounds like something only a fool would do.  But it’s all of us.  It’s just part of life inasmuch as we are imperfect.  Have I illustrated that sufficiently?  I don’t feel like I have, but that’s what I say is the case.  It makes perfect sense to me.  But sometimes I doubt it, and wonder if I’m making too big a deal out of something that even the Lord doesn’t see as perverse, necessarily.

But here’s the thing – sometimes it is definitely a result of our choices.  Even our moral choices.  I say sometimes.  Perhaps some have thought that it’s all the time a result of our choices.  But I say it’s sometimes, and sometimes not.  A current choice being made, it’s said sometimes.  And I think there’s something to that.  But not a moral one, surely.  It’s all moral, yes – or is it?  Hmm.  Now this is hard.  Grr. 

Well any time we’re self-deceived we’re going against the light of Christ, which is none other than the truth, none other than the light which permeates all things, which we all have access to, that we all know intuitively and can’t escape even if we tried.  The only way to escape it is to self-deceive.  Well it happens to all of us, and it happens inasmuch as we are in the wrong in some way, big or small.  A murderer must self-deceive somehow, to make the wrong seem right.  Either they make the person to be a bigger threat than they are, or worse than they are, or – and I’m speculating here – or they…I don’t know – they somehow deny to themselves that they did something they know is wrong, or they deny to themselves that it was unjustified, or something.  Somehow, and a student of murders could tell you the different reasons people give, somehow the truth is denied and the person is left in a state of denial.  Denial of the truth.  But simple contention can put us in a state of denial as well, even if we’re not taught that contention is wrong.  Or, more like me, one could be judgmental without being contentious, and be in the wrong, be in denial of the truth, because the truth is that we shouldn’t judge either.  Not in contention or silently.  Either way we judge and are in the wrong. 

So if we enter denial, enter self-deception all the time according to our weakness and our imperfection, then sometimes it’s bad and sometimes it’s not as bad, but it’s self-deception either way.  It works the same.  If we learned it from the tradition of our fathers or if we originated it, so to speak, it’s the same.  Both ways we can be in the wrong.  I’m in the wrong all the time.  And maybe I am too conscious of that, or am in a way that’s unhelpful or excessive.  I’m sure I am.  I’m sure that’s it’s own temptation of the devil, multiplying judgment upon oneself.  We know that.  I know that.  How do I be conscious that I am in the wrong without adding the layer of wrong-ness that I condemn myself?  Lol. 

Okay, though, let’s look at depression.  I say we’re in the wrong there.  We’re self-deceiving in some way.  It isn’t right to consider ourselves worthless…

Well now it would be, maybe, except for the mercy of God through Jesus Christ!  Right!  We might well be unworthy indeed!  We might be hopeless indeed.  Bad things (anxiety) might be bound to befall us eternally indeed, if not for Jesus Christ.  Is this right?  I mean is it right that it would be proper to be depressed if not for Jesus Christ, and anxious?  Well there wouldn’t be depression or anxiety in the absence of Christ because there would be no light of Christ to go against!  It would all be true hopelessness, true “fear” of bad things happening to us indefinitely.  Fear would not be the same, and depression would not be the same.  It only is deception because Christ did come, to atone for our sins and enable us to be resurrected.  Know what I mean?  Depression and anxiety are made out of self-deception.  They’re self-loathing and fear or whatever in the face of the light of Christ, in the face of the truth that Christ did come.  That truth makes the self-loathing false and the fear false. 

Boy, how do you explain this to the world??  Not gonna get it.  Good luck going on NPR and telling everybody that depression and anxiety are self-deceptions, because of Jesus Christ.  Well if you get it enough yourself at least you can say your bit, do it intelligently and articulately, and let people judge as they will.  By judge I mean they’ll judge for themselves, or they’ll make of it what they will. 

But surely this is the only path to understanding depression and anxiety!  It doesn’t work without the light of Christ and the atonement of Christ.  And I can say that.  And I suppose I could say the next best thing would be to believe in a universal truth that we’re not allowed to go against without impunity. 

Now, I say that that’s what depression is, and what anxiety is, but that’s just the beginning.  Self-mistreatment/self-loathing/self-hate/self-condemnation/whatever, in the face of the light of Christ, is just the beginning.  Depression in it’s fully developed state involves a host of feelings and thoughts and even physiological symptoms.  When fully developed and persisted in for any amount of time the pieces come together and what we know clinically as depression happens.  You feel guilty.  You don’t enjoy doing anything that brings you pleasure.  You feel miserable.  You feel lethargic.  You have thoughts of suicide, possibly.  All these things are connected.  They originate from the lie – the lie that you are worthless.  You can’t believe that lie, you can’t go along with it, you can’t give in to it, without incurring the wrath of the world upon you, or without entering into self-deception.  That’s it.  This is depression. 

And anxiety is akin to it.  Bad things are bound to happen to you.  Misery is your destiny.  Hope is not yours to be had.  Is this it?  I need to hit this nail on the head.  Is that the lie of anxiety?  We have to positively identify it, isolate it.  I think this is it, basically.  We’re close, if not there.  Happiness and peace, happiness and peace.  Depression and anxiety.  Are those the two?  Misery and fear/depression and anxiety.  Anxiety is miserable, though.  It definitely is. 

Sunday, Oct 11, 2020

Yes, so the fear we’re talking about it false fear, and the hopelessness is false.  Because of Christ, bad things are not bound to happen to us forever and we are not worthless.  Well let’s talk about anxiety a second.  Anxiety is not the same as regular fear, because it is false fear.  True fear is ok, and it’s legitimate and it feels different.   Anxiety like we talk about it is not like that, right?  It feels a little different, doesn’t it?  Miserable?  Kind of inescapable?  We’ve been through this, haven’t we?  Didn’t we kind of decide it was made out of the same stuff?  Beware of this paragraph.  Is any fear “real”?  The people on the boat were fearful that they’d die – I’d call that legitimate, in this paragraph.  But not according to the Lord.  He didn’t seem to think their fear was appropriate.  Doubt not, fear not.  One day I’ll understand what that means.

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