33: Pride and Maladaptive Behavior

Should Be Known
33: Pride and Maladaptive Behavior
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(Full Notes)

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Sometime talk about Freud’s subconscious and self-deception.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Without looking up what Freud said about the subconscious (it’s been a long time), one thing I think that plunges certain things at least into our subconscious is self-deception.  Like when we do perverse things to ourselves and others, it’s not the same as some automatic action like blinking or breathing.  No, there’s self-deception involved.  It seems to me like self-deception drives stuff like that into our subconscious. 

The author of my psychology book makes it all sound so innocent, giving as examples of the subconscious times he makes a bad pass in basketball even though he realizes at the last minute it’s a bad pass.  Not sure what to make of that.  Or how he acts when he is put under at the dentist’s.  I don’t know about that, either.  And that’s interesting and everything.  But when we do subversive things to ourselves it seems to me it’s more perverse than that.  We do it for a reason.  We are looking for an excuse.  I’m not saying it’s all conscious.  But you know that’s an interesting subject, because some people will say it’s all a choice, it’s all conscious, basically.  I missed my therapy appointment in NY and Ken said it was because of my false self (not just because I innocently forgot).  I think there’s something to that.  Do I selectively forget stuff?  I’m sure I do. 

I tend to want to disagree with people who say it is a conscious choice all the time.  I guess I don’t feel like I experience it that way.  But is there something to that?  Well, seems to me there are more like moments of choice.  Maybe we’re in a bind and it’s hard to make the right choice or something, or it’s become automatic.  I don’t know.  But there do seem to be these moments of choice.  I wouldn’t say it’s every moment, like some people say.  At least I don’t experience it that way and I don’t think anybody does.  But we do have these moments of choice all the time.  Nor would I say we have no choice, as I suppose some might say.  Determinism, no.  As President Monson said, decisions determine destiny.  We have personal freedom.  We have agency.  We talked about agency earlier.  It’s by virtue of us having knowledge, having power to act. 

Well I obviously don’t quite know how to talk about this, this choice stuff.  But people who have maladaptive behavior, who are doing things that hurt themselves, and aren’t getting it (and this is all of us), there’s a reason we don’t get it.  Beyond just habit, though habit is surely a part of it.  Good and evil is involved.  There’s a gravity to evil – it sucks us in – it has a pull.  You observe it in the universe and you know something is there, and you postulate a force or some phenomenon to explain it.  (Space-time)  In the case of good and evil you postulate a knowledge that we must have that we go against and thus self-justify.  It’s a very logical postulation to me.  Well, plus we have scriptural evidence that it actually exists, the light and the phenomenon that happens when we go against it.  Christ is that light.  It’s the light of Christ.  And what do the scriptures say about going against the light?  For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.  (John 3:20)  Men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil (v. 19).  He that keepeth his commandments receiveth truth and light, until he is glorified in truth and knoweth all things. (D&C 93:28)  Behold, here is the agency of man, and here is the condemnation of man; because that which was from the beginning is plainly manifest unto them, and they receive not the light.  And every man whose spirit receiveth not the light is under condemnation.  (31-32) 

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Just read a little of Myers’ Psychology for AP textbook.  I like some things in there and some things are interesting.  But I tell you what I find missing is any explanation for what I always call maladaptive behavior.  There’s no logical explanation in there.  No explanation that resonates, that makes sense.  Therefore no explanation for depression or anxiety, which seem to me to be the big issues psychology needs to have a grasp on so it can help people looking for help.  To me the textbook has a bit of a fun-and-interesting take on psychology, which is fun and interesting, but it just doesn’t address some of the serious issues that I see. 

I read a good little bit that described how the different perspectives of psychology are complimentary, which I think they can be – biological, evolutionary, psychodynamic, behavioral, cognitive, humanistic, and social-cultural.  But look at those–look at that list–where is the one that involves self-deception and explains maladaptive behavior?  It’s missing, right? 

I wonder what this perspective would be called.  I don’t have a name for it.  Agentive has been used to describe Terry Warner’s perspective.  I’m not sure that’s the best term for what I’m doing.  Puts the emphasis too much on purposeful/willful action.  Maybe I’m not the one to name it, anyway.  I have some work to do to learn to describe what I’m doing concisely.

The different perspectives compliment one another, Myers says.  I’d say they can compliment each other, as long as you step back and allow them to, not getting too engrossed in one or the other.  And is this psychodelusional (sorry I couldn’t resist) approach or whatever, is this approach just another perspective?  Like the rest?  Describing a portion but not the whole picture?  I think so.  I think so.  And haven’t I said that from the beginning?  You will never find me saying my theory describes everything.  Just an element, but a necessary one, one that, if ignored, leaves an incomplete picture of reality.  I say there is currently in psychology an incomplete picture of reality.  And what it needs is an understanding of self-deception.

That’s a big motivation – self-justification, no matter what anybody says.  It’s there.  It’s so there, in everything we do.  If you can’t explain why somebody would do something, look to self-justification.  To me it’s the only thing that explains self-deception, maladaptive behavior, and all that flows therefrom.  Addiction, depression, anxiety issues, to name a few.  Right? 

Why would  a person do things that just hurt themselves and make them miserable?  There has to be a reason.  There has to be a motivation.  Is it not self-deception, brought on by self-justification?  And is not that self-justification brought on by going against the light of truth that we know, whether we know that we know it or not?  And is that not just part of life?  Is that not built into the mechanism of life?  Some things are right to do and some things are not, and those are not necessarily taught in society or in our families, and even if they were truly reinforced we’d still be subject to the lies of the adversary, and thus subject to the ills of depression and anxiety and so forth.  It would help if we knew right from wrong as a society, but we don’t.  Only partly, maybe, leaving a lot to be desired.  But some things are right and some are wrong, some thoughts are lies and some are true. 

Hmm.  Some thoughts are lies…  Some thoughts are true enough, it seems, but somehow they breed or spring from the thought that we are worthless and hopeless or something – so they contain a lie?  I think it’s something like that.

Anyway, this is my theory on why people get depressed, and do other things that make them miserable.  They have pride, and they fall into patterns of thinking that reinforce their pride somehow.  By pride I mean, for example, that you think ill of yourself.  You don’t think that’s prideful?  I say it’s prideful.  Because it’s not right.  It is contrary to God.  This is a hard point to make.  But I really think pride is a part of it, and we all have it–it’s what sticks, or what makes these behaviors sticky.  We don’t want to admit something.  Our pride prevents us.  You think you know something God doesn’t know.  You put Him off.  Pride is enmity toward God.  That’s what it is.  You can’t act contrary to the truth and not have pride.  We all have it.  Any time we do wrong, we have it, is my view.  I think it’s right, too.  It’s right. 

Why would we believe a lie?  It would be one thing if we didn’t know right from wrong inherently, if it was indifferent and we were just plain mistaken.  But when it sticks, there’s something else involved.  When it doesn’t make sense, when it just makes us miserable, but we believe it anyway.  Hmm.  What about the part of the explanation that we are self-justifying…?

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