My Theory of “Life-driving” Resolutions

“I will never _______________ (fill in the blank). Be late again, be like my father or mother, talk to so and so again….” People resolve all sorts of things, but when your resolution takes over your life, I call it “life-driving.” Unfortunately, most of those resolutions result in just the results you meant for them to avoid. Since we get what we imagine or visualize, and we can’t visualize the negative–the not-doing–what is left is repeating the mantra of what we hope to avoid, which results in internally seeing that result over and over again, and eventually achieving it. It seems that most people who don’t want to be like a parent become like that parent. In my case, I once resolved to never be late again, but then, realizing I didn’t want the negative, restated that to “I will be early for every appointment”, and I have been ever since. But trauma-driven resolutions are different.

For the purpose of my theory, I define trauma as an event or experience that is so powerful, that it instantly creates a neural “superpathway” in the brain that becomes dominant, causing the experience to repeat endlessly. Trauma survivors admit to revisiting the trauma, like a moth to a flame. Even when they are not conscious of what they are reliving, their reactions to current situations often betray their thoughts. Notice that I said the “experience is powerful”, without defining it as painful or unpleasant. That’s deliberate, because the same mechanism creates addictions. The experience that becomes addictive was not necessarily unpleasant at the time; often it’s shockingly pleasant, too much so. It becomes unpleasant, and even traumatic, when it takes over your life. Even a non physical addiction, like pornography, starts as a jolt to the nervous system, and here is where it’s important to understand the concept of the superpathway, a term I made up to describe how even one big jolt can lead to a lifetime of slavery.

Next time it rains, concentrate on a window, on the rivulets of water. Notice how certain rivulets seem to be attracting other rivulets, until the attracting rivulets become bigger, apparently sucking water into themselves. Now think of rivulets as neural pathways. A trauma, whether pleasant or not, instantly electrifies and enhances a particular pathway, much like a mutant movie monster is created by an electrical storm. That superpathway now attracts neural impulses, or thoughts, to it, strengthening itself by repetition. Viola, either addiction or post traumatic stress disorder is being created and reinforced. Can I prove it, did I read about it? No and no, but I know it on the basis of using this theory to short-circuit addictions and traumatic responses during my career.

In response to trauma, many people form life-driving resolutions to avoid the actions or circumstances that might have led to the trauma. Such resolutions may not be a problem per se, but inevitably human beings must justify their resolutions with a gloss of explanation or rationale. The trouble is, such rationales often become the driver of self defeating behavior. Trauma was usually specific to the people involved, or the particular set of circumstances, time and place, but the resolution and it’s supporting rationales tend over time to generalize, limiting much more of life than is needed to avoid the original trauma.

So the train of events is: trauma or shock creates a dominant neural pathway, which causes reliving of the event, and resolutions to avoid the unpleasantness. Instead, it keeps recurring, which further strengthens the pathway. The sufferer creates  explanations for their feelings and behavior, which tend to be self-reinforcing. The mind is simply doing what it was designed to do, and what makes it worse is the “disease model”. If the sufferer accepts the diagnosis of “depression”, or “anxiety”, or “PTSD”, the disease model prescribes drugs which attack the symptoms, without affecting the cause.

My next post will deal with better ways to alter or interrupt the sequence of events.

The Earth!!!!

This is so important that I have copied the following whole from this post genesis

The pertinent aspects for mankind are therefore reproduce, subdue, and have dominion, with the animals developing a “fear of man” as men began to hunt or raise animals for clothing, food, work, or companionshipA few points need to be made to clear up misperceptions that have crept into the interpretations of these terms:

  1. “Fill the earth” means that mankind has a primary place on the earth: he is not an intruder. Neither does this statement equate to overpopulation. Consider that God first gave this same command to as-yet unfallen man in Genesis 1:28. If the command to mankind was “fill the earth” and this was “very good” by God, as was everything up to that point in Genesis 1:31, then there is no theological reason to automatically equate filling the earth with overpopulation, mass wastage of resources, food shortages, and so on. Besides, it may seem counterintuitive, but Christians who promote biblical concepts such as abstinence before marriage and lifelong devotion to a single spouse are somehow labeled as the ones responsible for overpopulation because we don’t condone abortion. Yet those who promote sexual freedom, promiscuity with multiple partners, and easy divorce are labeled as population-conscious. Which worldview really leads more readily to population explosions?
  2. “Subdue the earth” was a command given to mankind in his yet unfallen state, so there is no connotation of this being a tyrannical subjugation. Instead, this was to be a benevolent stewardship of the earth and its creatures by mankind. Just as God put man in the Garden of Eden and had them tend it (Genesis 2:15), so this subduing of the earth was to be a stewardship and caretaking of the earth.
  3. “Dominion” in the pre-Fall world again is a benign caretaker role. Man was to take care of the animals of the land, oceans, and the air, which certainly also implies stewardship of their domains. Wantonly polluting the land, air, and oceans would be the opposite of dominion—it is exploitation.
  4. The phrase “given into your hand” in Genesis 9:2 does not implicitly allow (or as some claim, demand) animal exploitation. This is a common misrepresentation by those wishing to mock Scripture and Christianity. Although this verse is specifically referring to mankind being given permission in a post-Fall world to eat meat, some Bible critics have tried to paint this as an anti-environment attitude giving Christians license to be cavalier about managing natural resources. One such sarcastic example is from a 2004 article bemoaning the preconceived Christian position: “And why care about converting from oil to solar when the same God who performed the miracle of the loaves and fishes can whip up a few billion barrels of light crude with a Word”?4 The claim is that Christians believe we can do anything we want under the dominion mandate. But this is clearly belied by other passages that curtail human action over nature (e.g., Leviticus 25:5–7Numbers 20:835:3; and Proverbs 12:10).

God clearly cares for man and beast as a characteristic expression of His righteousness (Psalms 36:6104:10–14104:27–28147:9Jonah 4:11Luke 12:6–724)It would be incongruous for Christians to recognize God’s goodness in caring for His creation, to claim to be desirous to follow the will of God and seek the mind of Christ, and yet display a cruel and selfish mindset towards that very creation, knowing that our actions affect other humans and animalsStewardship then is a correct Christian worldview in understanding our dominion mandate role.

However, the dominion mandate also means that humanity has been placed in charge of the environment and the planet in a stewardship roleThis means that mankind is allowed to use God’s natural resources and engage in animal husbandry, farming, and horticultureAlthough we are to be wise stewards, we are not required to place animal and plant welfare above human needsHumans are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27); plants and animals are notTherefore we are of more value than the sparrows in God’s eyes (Luke 12:7), and environmental decisions and policies should reflect this hierarchyKnowing this, then, we are responsible for helping meet the needs of all humans—not just ourselves—present and futureThat alone should sober our view of conservation and stewardship.

This clearly does not involve a callous disregard for animal life, a wasteful mindset toward natural resources, or an exploitative mindset toward the planet which all of us must shareWhen one stops to think about it, heedless exploitation is the opposite of stewardship and actually hampers dominion: we cannot wisely rule over something we are wastingGod demands one thing from stewards—that they be found faithful (1 Corinthians 4:2)May we be faithful stewards of this earth that God owns (Psalm 24:1) but has entrusted to us to care for.