We are taught a lot about what it means to be normal. As addictions deepen in our culture we are led to believe we are broken, and we hold the unconscious belief that we don't have the skill set to adjust to reality as it is presented to us. Addiction can be defined as a behaviour that repeats itself knowing the results have negative consequences. Our sense of isolation and that we hold an underlying fear that our being is not enough for us to feel that we are worthwhile with gifts to contribute to the world we live in. This leads to a painful feeling of lack and a worldwide epidemic that says we are not enough.
This idea is expressed in the well known "Skinner Box" Experiment, where rats are confined in a small metal cage with no contact with others. Given the ability to self administer Heroin and Cocaine , they chose repeatedly to do so. The researchers concluded that the drugs were irresistible and addiction inevitable. But the psychologist Bruce Alexander had doubts about what was behind the impulse to use these drugs.
He set out to conduct his own experiment where he crafted a wooden enclosed area as big as two hundred cages with cedar shavings, places to hide and nest in, poles to climb, plenty of food and a balanced ratio of twenty rats of both sexes. They were supplied with two water bottles, one plain and one laced with morphine. The rats overwhelmingly preferred the plain water.
Alexander then made available only the morphine water for fifty-seven days forcing the rats to become addicts. Plain water was again introduced and the rats overwhelming switched back.
This clearly shows that the despair of isolation, severing the very primal need to connect is at the root of the impulse to escape this extremely harsh reality.
A society that favours and rewards the individual as apart from the whole creates a fiction of remoteness and a dulling of awareness to the magical forces within us.
Addiction is a tyrant and the addiction to acquisition is elaborated by Joseph Campbell....
"The inflated ego of the tyrant is a curse to himself and his world - no matter how his affairs may seem to prosper.
Self terrorized, fear haunted, alert at every hand to meet and battle back the anticipated aggresssions of his environment, which are primarily the reflections of the uncontrollable impulses to acquisition within himself, the giant of self achieved independence is the worlds messenger of disaster, even though in his mind, he may entertain himself with humane intentions."
He goes on to say....."the confusion of our values is so deep that we often respect, adulate and ourselves aspire to the fantasies of the tryrant. That is we commonly yearn for the tyrants status of pampered, self achieved independence - yearn like him, to be shielded by wealth and influence and fame from life's mundane inconveniences and from the need for ordinary compassion, and we are so seduced by our fantasy that we fail to appreciate the obscene cost that such wealth can extract from the soul,"
The idea that unbridled acquisition for wealth equates superior decision making is indeed a fallacy as we witness the unfolding events of the world. The idea that we take self judgement and self rejection as a normal psychic state of not enough by ranking status, has fostered the illusion of a hierarchy that not only accepts but promotes violence towards others, towards fragile resources as a justified means of maintaining the status quo. .... business as usual!
Compassion and empathy are the real feelings humans long to experience and to have this felt experience one has to start with oneself.
Neuroplasticity is being more and more explored and given the right environment the mind will be inspired to new insights, ideas, responses and solutions to how we can create a refreshed way of seeing ourselves in this beautiful world.
The dark night of the soul comes just before revelation. When everything is lost, and all seems darkness then comes the new life and all is revealed." Joseph Campbell
"You have to love yourself because no amount of love from others is sufficient to fill the yearning that your soul requires from you." Dodinsky