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Quick pointer: “What’s Happened to Original Sin? It’s Become Unhealthy”

April 21, 2010

I just read a powerful recent post from NellaLou, over at Smiling Buddha Cabaret. You might want to check it out: What’s Happened to Original Sin? It’s Become Unhealthy.

In it, she talks about some very similar things to what I was trying to describe in Happiness, Part 4: Seeing beauty–and much, much more.

The difference here is between the relative and the absolute. The difference is between redemption and enlightenment. Redemption makes what was bad good. Enlightenment simply shows what is. Redemption changes the participant to some degree although they remain with the same set of original core beliefs in the solidity of existence. Enlightenment shows the participant who they really are. Good and bad are irrelevant. They are completely different orders of experience…

There is nothing to be saved and the only circumstance actually available is reality. One can try to escape reality for a time or make some kind of dualistic peace with it but one cannot be saved from reality.

After reading this, I’m not sure I need to write a post I’d halfway been putting together in my mind about the eerie similarities between the medical model and Western religious approaches. Her post is very, very relevant to disability, among other things.

Again, it’s hard to pick quotes from her post, because it’s all so relevant, but here’s another snippet:

I came across this rather profound revelation on someone’s blog a while back:

It just occurred to me that there might not be anything wrong with me

What if that is true for all of us? What does that mean in terms of self-esteem and other aspects of the psychological framework? Suppose we are not originally flawed, wrong, misshapen, bent, ill-formed? What does this mean in terms of larger culture? What does this mean in terms of spirituality? What does this mean in the way we live our lives?

One Comment leave one →
  1. April 22, 2010 8:33 pm

    Semi coherent thing I tried to write b/c low on spoons and loud maintenance work going on in apartment upstairs makes it hard to keep thought and have spoons for writing.

    (This also is not supposed to be some attempt at silly broken english to prove “differentness” between ourselves or anything, just only way possible to write when low on certain kinds of spoons. Not necessarily thinking anyone would assume that but just staving off assumptions just in case. Possibly because we have known multiples who do silly broken english on purpose to prove differentness thing in way that was very forced and artificial.)

    What if that is true for all of us? What does that mean in terms of self-esteem and other aspects of the psychological framework? Suppose we are not originally flawed, wrong, misshapen, bent, ill-formed? What does this mean in terms of larger culture? What does this mean in terms of spirituality? What does this mean in the way we live our lives?

    Very big question and prob meant by author as rhetorical but actually is not rhetorical for us as past 10 years of physical front life have been spent applying this to increasingly more aspects of body life. First asked ourselves question in 2000-ish of “what if we are not broken” in regards to a few things and came out next year as plural. Had ASD dx in 2006 but had known it long before that, actually had known it on some level since reading magazine articles in childhood before Aspergers dx even existed.

    Definitely have had many thoughts and read others thoughts on replacing of church and institutionalized religion as arbiter of reality by psychiatry/psychology as arbiter of reality in modern western society. Terminology changes but basic framework does not, basic framework in which individual cannot have basic understanding or personal connection to real things and real truths but needs another to show them way to it. In either case real understanding of reality is not available to regular person but can only come through intervention of another with supposedly greater deeper understanding and knowledge of it. Regular non-authority person should not be allowed to interpret reality themselves as they perceive and feel it and this is not just unreliable but even dangerous if they try to do it. Regular non-authority person is considered corrupted and untrustworthy and in psych this is called “lack of insight.”

    In therapy and even when not in therapy but trying to apply popular self-help principles to understanding of selves, all problems seemed like horrible tangled knot that could never be undone and when we thought we had undone part of knot it would tie itself back together. But all this was based on assuming that problem was internal to us, with some allowances of assuming that past abusers were problem too, but only in light of idea that they had ruined our mind and it now needed fixing. Also abusive people around us in adulthood were not recognized as abusive, all attempts to understand selves and life and everything predicated on the idea that they were okay and normal and that if being around them and things they did seemed to cause us problems we needed to analyze ourselves to find flaw in us. And abusive people themselves encouraged this.

    It did not happen all at once because in our brain nothing ever happens all at once but as we decided more and more things were not problems originating in us, in brain or in past or in faulty thinking and perception, that instincts existed for good reason, some things that seemed like tangled knots started to seem like illusions instead of knots and many faded away. Also this involved much going back and re-evaluating of many things we were told it was wrong to perceive as reality. Some things we perceived as reality, we were told wrongly, turned out to have a level on which they were real, such as existence of each other. Other things were not reality but perception of them as reality did not stem from flawed brain but from drawing conclusions based on limited knowledge within which they were completely logical. For other things the question of “reality” in provable objective scientific sense became irrelevant because taking them and working with them at face value had positive effect, made problems go away or made us better understand general place in interconnectedness of things and how actions affected things. Last one especially was done in defiance of psych conditioning because in psych treating those things as real is equivalent of sin, giving in to one’s original sin.

    All this makes it very strange and uncomfortable to read writings by people describing exactly same things that we experienced but from perspective of inherent brokenness. Talking often feels like trying to argue with person who believes in infallibility of religious text because no other paradigm exists but their own and so will insist that if you think you have achieved “salvation,” that is freedom from or loosening of problems, without their way, then this is dangerous evil illusion or you never had real problems and suffering to begin with. Which is bizarre and many things I can’t describe because it seems to us that the absoluteness of walls of that paradigm are illusions yet they accuse us of living in illusion. (Similar to “rationalist” type people who accuse everyone with certain experience of hallucinating yet seem to only be able to perceive cognitive hallucination inside their own head rather than real you, illusion of belief of what “the type of person who believes in X” is like.)

    I mentioned elsewhere perceptions that some things called “mental illness” seem to be mind’s direct rebellion against destructive paradigms and demands to accept twistings of reality, but without any help to understand them things can often go wrong. Some people take those experiences and try to view them in frame of similar hierarchal destructive ideas with new names, like turning to New Age BS to interpret self. For us plurality has been helpful in escaping such things and creating new framework for perception of reality from ground up. But hierarchy model also has some influence on how some plural systems perceive themselves it seems. Many years ago we had dealings with system who believed formal government and hierarchy was necessary for every system or else there would be descent into chaos and struggle for control. Asked to write about what our government system was like we did not know what to say because we did not have one, only general overall set of shared ethical principles and “strongest” people in system had worldview based on connectedness of things and systems of connection rather than hierarchy. Struggle for dominance has only existed here when we felt we were sick and wrong, without those feelings we seem to be able to get along entirely on mostly shared set of ethics.

    I think often belief that plurals must experience struggles for control becomes self-fulfilling prophecy. Told that it is inevitable people will perceive things as hostile and dangerous and needing suppression, that can be resolved in other ways. Seems similar with hallucinations and hearing voices I think, the idea that they are wrong by necessity and proof of brain’s corruption and cannot be changed except through other’s intervention, that voices only ever tell you “bad things” and must become your enemy, never useful.

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