36: What Do We Do?

Should Be Known
36: What Do We Do?
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Sunday, January 17, 2021

So if the instant you cross the line you have to justify yourself, or in the instant you cross the line you are justifying yourself, then it’s just like a property of being on the wrong side of the line.  And it’s a trap, because you are deceived as to the fact that you are in the wrong and you are deceived as to the way to get out, and it sucks you in. 

Maybe good has its own rewards.  Namely peace and happiness, and all the fruits of the Spirit.  But evil has its draw, and it’s definitely more appealing to the carnal mind.  It has great allure and once you’re on its side it’s a blinding trap.  Then it takes away peace and happiness and you want that, I guess.  So it’s up to us what we want to choose.  Good or evil.  Evil has all the carnal appeal, and good just has peace and happiness, but it’s not immediately apparent that it’s necessary.  Something like that?

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Finding fault. I said slander, and I could have said finding fault. When someone is finding fault with something they are probably justifying themselves. You only need one reason to align yourself or disalign yourself with something – because it’s true or not. If the Church isn’t true, judge ye. If it is, judge ye. That’s all you need. If there be faults, they be the faults of a man. If it’s false, though, separate yourself from it and be done. If it’s true, though, the faults, which be the faults of a man, don’t matter, and you’d best align yourself with it. And all the faults in the world can’t change the fact that it’s true. The true church of God, the very kingdom of God on the earth. All the persecution in the world, all the slandering, all the fault finding, can’t change that fact.

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Now, if we’re to wrestle depression and anxiety to the ground, how are we doing? (And other disorders.) Isn’t self-deception the big missing puzzle piece, and everything else is kind of there already, or will more easily fall into place? 

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Or are there lots of things we don’t understand and self-deception is just one of them?  Let’s pretend self-deception is the big missing puzzle piece. 
By self-deception here we mean the whole idea that there is a good and an evil, a right and a wrong, that there is a God, that right and wrong is based on God’s will and that we all have an innate knowledge of right and wrong in every situation, and then that if we act against that we self-deceive in a way that justifies our action.  That’s self-deception.  Now we are equipped, or better equipped, to tackle anxiety and depression and everything. 

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Well I’m going to sit here and write for a minute even though I don’t have anything in mind to write about.  Sounds like self-deception is what we learn from the gospel – the idea that there’s a God and a truth and all.  Basically that and the idea that we have a conscience that is reliable, which the world does not understand.  But many people in it understand.  So you can talk to them.  I wonder if you could start just by saying, so we all have a conscience that tells us right from wrong in any given situation, and it’s completely reliable.  You can rely on it.  Because it’s completely reliable.  You don’t have to start saying it’s called the light of Christ or the spirit of Christ, maybe you can call it a conscience, and people will get it.  To the extent that we listen to it and obey it we dwell in the truth, and to the extent that we suppress it or disobey it, we dwell in error, and that error…blah blah blah.  This is boring.  I don’t have confidence anyone will listen to this.  I’m afraid it’s going to just die right in it’s tracks, that I won’t get it communicated to anybody and that will be the end of it.  Will that happen?  I don’t know.  It’s my job to do whatever the Lord wants me to do with this – if it’s nothing it’s nothing, and if it’s to write a little book or do this podcast and a few people maybe read it and think it’s interesting then that’s it.  Whatever the Lord wants, I say.  I don’t exactly know what that is at this point.  But I feel inclined to pursue this a little further, at least, and see what I can’t find out.  I’ve been praying for understanding concerning these things, and so here I am.  I pray for light during this writing session to make some headway. 

They say depression is caused by different things – like a different thing in every case, kind of thing.  Maybe.  And what it is that pushes a person over the edge may be different in every case, I don’t know.  But I say in every case there is this trap, this thing where you are blinded to what’s going on and to how to get out.  Because in every case there is self-deception, because in every case there is a false notion that you are worthless, this rejection of the self and everything that comes with it.  And all that is a part of depression is designed to…what – excuse a person from treating themselves right?  Excuse them from being in the right?  Everything that comes with depression–the whole set of thoughts and feelings and biological phenomena–it’s all the world painted in the way that excuses a person from considering themselves aright.  Is that right?  What is the solution, then?  Stop resisting the light, as Terry Warner would say?  (But what does that mean?)  The real solution for any given person in any given case is going to be different, no?  It might involve therapy and medication and forgiving someone or going on walks or getting more sunlight or any number of things, right?  And that’s ok.  If only it were clearer what needed to be done?  Since every case is different it makes it hard.  But could you make a checklist?  Like, make sure you’re not holding a grudge against someone, including yourself, and if you are work on that, and until you succeed, you’re in trouble?

So how do you do that, by the way?  How do you forgive someone?  Or yourself?  That lady on the podcast said she needed to go back to Auschwitz.  Maybe some of us need to confront a person in our life.  Maybe some of us don’t.  Maybe you read about the atonement.  Maybe you pray.  How do you do that?  Is that different for each person as well?  But surely with some commonalities.  (Just because every case is different doesn’t mean there won’t be commonalities.)  Just googled how to forgive someone.  Turns out the internet knows all about it.  Except, of course, I didn’t read anything about how the power comes through Jesus Christ.  Probably some know that and many don’t.  Same with repentance.  There are all the steps of repentance (acknowledge what you did is wrong, etc., etc.) but really forgiveness comes through Jesus Christ ultimately.  Oh well.  I liked the answer to one question – how do you know you’ve forgiven someone – you wish well for the person, basically.  That seems like a good gage.  Do you wish well for yourself?  Seems like a strange question, perhaps, but not really, right?  Some of us don’t want to be happy, when it comes down to it.  We hold on to our misery.  What a strange thing.  But an understanding of self-deception makes it un-strange.  That’s the whole point of this understanding – to see why we do things that make us miserable, and hold on to misery.  We hold on to misery because it justifies us.  Being miserable is easier in a way.  It satisfies our pride.  It’s all part of the trap.  It’s all part of the untruthful way of being.  What does it justify?  Being miserable.  Being miserable justifies being miserable.  What else can I say?  You have to choose not to be miserable whether you’re miserable or not.  Life might be hard, it might be painful.  But you have to maintain this kind of positive attitude notwithstanding.  I don’t want to be misunderstood (or be inaccurate in my words) – I don’t want to give the false impression that it’s always easy to make a mental choice to not be miserable and there you go.  I don’t know exactly how to account for how hard it is sometimes, but I know that it is.  But is it not true what I said about misery being easier sometimes? 

I think for myself I need to try and maintain a more positive outlook.  I need to not look for the faults in everything and myself, and everybody, and my job.  Those things are there.  Not saying they’re not.  And maybe it’s ok to be aware of them.  But somehow for myself I probably need to tell myself more positive things about my job, and myself.  I mean, really we are all full of weakness, and only through Jesus Christ can we do anything good.  Of ourselves we are nothing, really.  And weak, and flawed, if you want to use that word.  But in Christ we can be perfect.  So do I tell myself how great I am?  Maybe.  And I’m sure I am.  But really I’m nothing, of course, and it’s through Jesus Christ that I’m anything.  That’s how I’m seeing it. 

So anxiety and depression.  They’re both misery, right?  What about schizophrenia?  Multiple personality disorder?  All the rest?  They’re all cases of being mistaken about something, right?  They all involve lies, do they not?  Which one?  Or which ones?  Hmm, well we’ve kind of identified the lie of depression – that we are worthless, or something to that effect.  And the lie of anxiety – that doom is impending.  It’s all going to be ok.  Might be hard, might have more anxiety, might feel more misery, but really it’s all going to be ok.  Something like that.  And of course we’re not worthless.  We’re children of God and He values us infinitely and loves us with a perfect love.  The devil is all about misery.  He’s the author of misery.  And if you’re miserable, you can count on the fact that it comes from him.  He’s the father of all lies, and it’s a lie.  So what is the lie of schizophrenia?  (Heresy right, to be asking that?)  Just googled schizophrenia.  Out of touch with reality, is a main characteristic.  I’ll have to continue this later.

Friday, February 5, 2021

So to the question, would we really rather be miserable? – I answer, well if we really had both misery and happiness before us in full awareness, of course not.  But we don’t have them before us when we’re already miserable.  We’re caught in the trap, and we can’t see clearly.  Is that what I was thinking?  Hmm.

All these false ways of being–they could be said to be justifications for something different, something mysterious, hmm.  And maybe they are.  But in a way is it that sometimes the bad thing is its own bad thing…?

Causation.  Was thinking about causation today, and how a cause is really just the one factor that stands out.  That’s all.  Everything has multiple causes, if you will.  There are always different factors.  Causality is really more of a conceptual thing.  So with depression – many factors, perhaps one or two that stand out, but they’re all working together, and self-deception is not so much a cause or a factor even but a property.  And a necessary one.  But maybe it is a property of every bad habit, every trap, every lie, every form of untruthfulness whatsoever out there.  Hmm. 

But I wonder if this is a mistake that some people make.  Some people conceive of self-deception as a cause, rather than a necessary property.  So in their mind you stop self-deception and the emotional difficulty stops.  Well that’s true, but they conceived of self-deception as a thing you act directly on. 

What of that?  I just said recently that our choices are perhaps the only thing in the causal chain that we can actually effect.  Everything else is determined.  But I feel like self-deception is not the thing you directly act upon.  You act upon other things, never just “going with the light” or whatever.  Stop resisting, they say.  Of course, when you enter into the right you stop resisting the truth.  But you can’t will yourself directly to stop resisting the truth.  I say.  And I think that gets to the crux of the mistake. 

Heck, you can’t even will yourself to forgive somebody.  How do we explain this?  You can’t will yourself to repent, then.  Is that right?  President Nelson says if you hold hate for a particular race or whatever, you need to repent.  And you do.  But if you’re in that trap, how do you repent?  What change do you effect? 

This is a central question, to all of philosophy.  And psychology.  What can you actually DO?  I was asking myself this question all the time when I was in the throws of anxiety and everything.  Is that what’s different in different cases, and requires personal revelation?  And is this what the internet knows, or at least a list of several possible things you might need to do?  So like a combination of internet and inspiration?  Maybe help from another person?  So there’s no one thing everybody needs to do?  Hmm.

But is the thing to do ever “stop resisting the truth”?  Maybe as a conceptual thing, eh…  But I don’t really think so. 

Sunday, February 7, 2021

So wait – if whenever we are untruthful we self-deceive, then what’s special about anxiety and depression?  Nothing, in terms of self-deception.  They’re just another form of that.  If somebody says, so Clayton you say that anxiety and depression are caused by self-deception?, I’d say no, they involve self-deception.  Ok fine, so they involve self-deception?  I’d say yes, but all untruthfulness, great and small, involves self-deception.  Whenever we’re in the wrong we self-deceive.  It’s just a property of it.  Anxiety and depression are not special in that just they involve self-deception–all kinds of stuff does.  Stuff we do every day.  Comparing ourselves to others as a way to assess our own self-worth, involves self-deception.  Being fearful, defensive, judgmental, unconfident, the list goes on and on – it all involves self-deception.  Anxiety and depression are just two instances where it happens.  But yes, anxiety and depression involve self-deception. 

It’s like saying, so you believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?  Well yes, but we’re all brothers and sisters, not just the devil and Jesus Christ. 

So depression and anxiety are just two particular lies – the one that we are worthless, and the other that doom is impending.  But there are many lies, right?  Not all of them cause depression or anxiety or whatever else.  Just those two do.  I’d like to get a firmer grasp on these lies, whether I have them right, whether they’re just one central one or a family of them, etc. 

I believe you can feel when you’re on the wrong side of the line and when you’re on the right side of the line.  I’m not saying it’s not deceiving–it is.  It’s exactly deceiving when you’re on the wrong side of the line, and it’s meant to be exactly deceiving.  But it’s still different, as hard as it may be to describe.  And surely that’s what Mormon was talking about when he said that the way to judge is as clear as the daylight is from the dark night, for whatever inspires to believe in Christ and serve him is of God, and whatever doesn’t isn’t, or whatever he said.  Kind of hard to describe, to me.  I need to understand what he said better.  I pray for that understanding. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

This idea that we desire misery over happiness.  What sense does that make?  It only makes sense to desire misery if you’re blind.  Right??  I guess I’m wondering if when we do wrong we go blind at the same time and that’s kind of how we desire misery, just because we’re blind, if that makes sense.  So the key is to not do wrong, or not enter into darkness, or whatever, and to correct ourselves as much as possible.

I am a perfectionist.  Probably morally and temporally or whatever.  I probably need to fix that.  I worry too much about doing wrong, and it paralyzes me.  That was a tangent.

So it’s not so much that we desire misery over happiness.  You could say that and maybe not be wrong.  Hmm.  I don’t know.

Maybe saying you need to repent of racist feelings, for example, is valid but it doesn’t necessarily mean you act directly on your feelings, or whatever.  I guess if that were me I’d use that injunction to recognize the error in my…thinking or feeling or whatever, and maybe pray for help and not act on it or something.  But the first thing is just to recognize the error.  Know what I mean? 

So if anxiety and depression are just another way of being in the wrong, and every way of being in the wrong involves self-deception, then let’s recognize them as such.  In other words, let’s not single out depression and anxiety as involving self-deception.  Criticalness, …oh I can’t think of a good list, but it all involves self-deception.  I could make a list, and maybe I should, but everything on the list would have its truthful version and its untruthful version, based on the will of God in that particular situation.  It’s good to be critical.  It’s bad to be critical.  Just depends on how or whatever.  So hard to define, and I just keep coming back to Mormon’s day and night description. 

16 For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.

17 But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him.

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