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Friday, March 22, 2013

Desensitization, Drug Tolerance, and Addiction

One phenomenon of addiction is that, in most cases, the addict goes from using the 'addictor' or object of obsession to get high to using it simply to get 'normal.'  This is because, over time, we adjust to the presence of the addictor and it loses its 'edge.'  We become desensitized to its presence.

The word 'tolerance' has several usages, and here we are talking about tolerance in the desensitized sense.  Most of us think of tolerance as acceptance, but this is not really the case,  It means we are used to it, but it is still not normal and good.  So, we can become tolerant to drugs, alcohol, or porn, none of which are good for us (unless you happen to be a panda).

There are many ways we become desensitized to otherwise intolerable things.  There is direct desensitization, which is like forcing yourself to smoke (ask a smoker about his first cigarette), and then there is indirect or environmental desensitization, such being constantly surrounded by sexually stimulating sensory inputs to the point where looking at porn doesn't seem too bad.

However, desensitization is not merely limited to addictive substances.  There are other varieties.

Here's another example: 

Here's an excerpt:

“Have the students write the name JESUS in big letters on a piece of paper,” the lesson reads. “Ask the students to stand up and put the paper on the floor in front of them with the name facing up. Ask the students to think about it for a moment. After a brief period of silence instruct them to step on the paper. Most will hesitate. Ask why they can’t step on the paper. Discuss the importance of symbols in culture.”

Not only is it horrendously stupid, it plays into the Milgram Phenomenon: people will generally follow instructions from authority figures.  Chances are, when this exercise is conducted, most students will step on the paper even as devout Christians.

This 'exercise' is a classic piece of desensitization, cloaked as a lesson in 'intercultural communication.'  Once you do this the first time, it will be easier to do it again.

The amount of profanity directed at God and Christianity in particular (most people are scared to death about saying ANYTHING about Islam, given the fundamentalist movement's willingness to desecrate even mosques if someone inside crosses its line) has desensitized people to sacrilege, blasphemy, and all kinds of profanity designed to weaken the faith of many in God.  Then comes a life trial, and the person must face his fears utterly alone.  What will he do?

We all know what the addict does, but the challenge of recovery is bringing people back through the other way of this desensitization process.  The addict must look again and again at those countless times where he 'stomped on the paper' so to speak.  He must regain, if he had any to begin with, respect for God as his Higher Power.

Gaining faith in an era of the profane is not an easy task.  In this utterly materialistic world, it is hard to get people to become sensitive once again to spiritual reality.

There are also plenty of people in the drug and alcohol addictions field that are perfectly comfortable keeping this materialistic mindset operating.  Here, I'm thinking of guys like Dr. Gabor Maté who thinks that massive social controls will somehow prevent human injury that leads to addiction, totally ignoring the fact that plenty of people these days are becoming addicts in material environments that he would consider 'perfect.'

We are not necessarily becoming addicts because of horrendous events like rape and parental neglect.  I watched kids in college who came from rich and doting families get addicted to cocaine back in the 1980s.  we've also seen plenty of people get hooked on Oxycontin and other substances which quickly sweep their feet out from under them.  The materialist or 'harm reduction' approach is nonsense if it does not take into account the whole phenomenon.  And, a big part of that, is the desensitization to God that is a big part of modern culture.

Meta-corporations and social activists have a common interest in wiping out religion.  They both want us desensitized to anything that may cause us to not cooperate with their plans.  Both marketeers and community organizers need you to follow their instructions, and they would not want you listening to a preacher or pastor who might not be cooperative.  They both want us to abandon God, because God rarely cooperates with human planning.  Since He is not subject to influence, then the relationship must be broken.

Marx figured this out, learning from the Jacobins of the French Revolution before him.  Marketing strategists learned from basic necessity of getting their message 'on top.'  Spirituality breeds contentment, and contentment neither sells soap nor foments revolution.  You are only useful to either of these groups in a state of discontentment, and so they must first rob you of your peace before they can sell you on cooperation.

Our desensitization to sound and chaos and incomplete thoughts have left us unable to bear the silence necessary to perceive our spiritual truth.  We cannot fix our world, but we can fix ourselves.  Many of our problems come from our unwillingness to look inward and take responsibility for our own repentance, focusing on material pursuits.

In order to do so, we must become 'resensitized.'  We have to lose our tolerance both to our addictor and the messages that make our addictions desirable and acceptable.  

Otherwise, we will be too desensitized to hear the still, small voice that leads us to freedom. 

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