"So," they say, "nobody's perfect!"
But the Vinedresser won't buy that.
Given the opportunity, He will trim the unproductive suckers and shape the branches so each one will bask in Sonlight.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Cutting Edge

      A popular approach to problems is if the purported solution isn't cutting edge, it can't be good. For example, the Egyptians wanted to build astrologically correct tombs for their elite. But they faced many daunting engineering challenges. Today's engineers and scientists study their finished structures thousands of years after they were built and scratch their heads over the ingenuity the Egyptians used to solve their engineering problems. By today's technological standards their engineering was hardly cutting edge, but it worked.
      I read an article on Suite101.com that dealt briefly with the thorny issue of depression. Though it was brief, it made a powerful start.
      Just a comment on situational depression and the examples the author provided. Three of the four examples share a common foundational cause: rash or unrealistic expectations.
      Of course, many higher functioning animals respond to dashed expectations with some sort of disappointment, but humans take it a leap further. We allow disappointment to germinate, sending its persistent roots deep into our self-concept, fracturing what is sound, and pulverizing what is not.
      Unlike conceptual structures such as opinion and belief, self-concept has no elaborate, cognitive bulwarks, but it attempts to defend itself with futile, psychological mechanisms. When forces without or within press their attack to the inner self, it reels, throwing up such defenses as rationalization, anger, aggression, regression, blame, bitterness, and a host of others that deal only with the wound, and not its cause. When those defenses fail, which they must, the self folds, collapses and self-destructs.
      Enter the bleak world of hopelessness, despair and depression. Organic mental illness can exacerbate such emotional self-destruction, but it can also cause it. When chemical imbalances send the emotions over the edge, we naturally seek situational causes for it. And where everything is objectively peachy, the sick cerebrum invents causes for depression. And it can be amazingly creative at it.
      All that is to say the human soul is the most infinitely complex creation this side of eternity. To propose one treatment modality, or even a set of them, without considering the Creator's role in maintaining humanity is counter-productive. Unlike many "fundamentalist" Christians, I recognize that there may indeed be truth in psychology and holistic therapies. Tragically, proponents of each modality either ignore or combat those with which they disagree. The true spirit of Holism demands exploration of every aspect of the human soul without engaging in ideological discrimination. The truly open mind will never patently dismiss unfamiliar or foreign ideas, but will carefully investigate, weigh and respect them, even if it ultimately disagrees with them.
      Psychology, holistic therapies and New-Age approaches seem cutting edge to today's "inquisitive" minds. But what really works is older than old. "Eternal," one might say.

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