Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Simple act

The simple act of believing that physiologic processes are deterministic in cases of anxiety, depression, phobias, and personality disorders has a destabilizing effect.

I am not saying that there are not cases where physiology is the sole cause of such disturbances.

I am not saying that there are not cases where physiology is a major contributor.

But I have really come to believe that a combination of socialization and a general faith about a better future can alleviate these problems.

The fundamental nature of reality plays an important role in what kind of stance one might take on this issue. If one is an atheist or believes in a "hands-off" sort-of G-d/god then determinism is the only logical conclusion, and the rest of what I have to say would not be worth reading. Because I would be mistaken.

I should also try to represent the well intentioned person with conflicting beliefs that is perhaps unaware of any such contradiction. It would not be plausible to suppose that we have free will, and that there is no G-d/god. That belief always involves trying to redefine free will as something less than most people perceive it to be.

If we do not have free will, then we do not have souls or anything beyond our mortal bodies. The universe is deterministic. Our bodies are physical objects which dwell in and make up part of the universe. Therefore our bodies are determistic. If we do not have souls and we are our bodies, then we have all been determined. If this were actually true, it would not mean that one should not try to improve themselves. It would just mean that if they did and succeeded, it was all part of a determistic process. The very act of deliberating about whether one should self-improve would itself be a process which is governed by cause and effect, and therefore governed by determinism. If I faithfully represent this view, it does not exclude self-change. But it does limit the scope of that self-change. Even if a determistic world-view, strictly-speaking, did not narrow the scope of self-change through cognitive processes, that is the view which is passed on by people who claim to have some understanding of the mental processes which are governed by just such a universe.

At any rate, I'm not out to prove anything regarding religion right now. I just hope the point that I can get across is that people who believe in free-will(however they get there) should be highly suspect of a diagnosis which marginalizes it.

The very act of believing that one can do little to change their psychological disposition has a devastating effect. Doubt is a negative-placebo. If you believe that you can't control yourself, you won't. Not because you don't want to, and usually not because you want to feel less responsible for your actions, but because you simply believe that you can't. This helplessness has a cumulative effect. The longer you believe it the more integrated it becomes into the way one views the world. It fundamentally changes the way one thinks about reality.

Which is not to say that one can just hope their way to sanity. Not in a day, and maybe not ever. But most people are capable of slow, steady change provided they are willing to try and that they believe slow, steady change is possible.

One must believe that they choose all of their emotions, whether or not they are consciously aware. This shouldn't involve guilt. 99 in 100 moods are chosen, and are not inflicted on an individual by physiology.

The world is happening to you, but you are also happening to the world.

Unfortunately, seeking help for psychological distress can often involve dealing with people who are very confident in believing the opposite of what I have stated. If you aren't depressed when you visit the doctor, you may be by the time you leave. I think its a good idea to ask a doctor about their beliefs regarding the cause and treatment of illness, as it can greatly affect one's rehabilitation.

Sometimes we need to be coddled, because that is where we are at. Sometimes we need a boot in the derrier, a fire in our heart, and a little bit of anger and determination. A season for everything..

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