Saturday, November 30, 2013

Day 472: Is Pedophilia a Mental Condition?

Using the same tactics used by “gay” rights activists, pedophiles have begun to seek similar status arguing their desire for children is a sexual orientation no different than heterosexual or homosexuals.
Critics of the homosexual lifestyle have long claimed that once it became acceptable to identify homosexuality as simply an “alternative lifestyle” or sexual orientation, logically nothing would be off limits. “Gay” advocates have taken offense at such a position insisting this would never happen. However, psychiatrists are now beginning to advocate redefining pedophilia in the same way homosexuality was redefined several years ago.
In 1973 the American Psychiatric Association declassified homosexuality from its list of mental disorders. A group of psychiatrists with B4U-Act recently held a symposium proposing a new definition of pedophilia in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders of the APA.
B4U-Act  calls pedophiles “minor-attracted people.” The organization’s website states its purpose is to, “help mental health professionals learn more about attraction to minors and to consider the effects of stereotyping, stigma and fear.” - Pat Dollard

So, it has finally come: the question of whether pedophilia, like homosexuality, should be classified as a sexual orientation as opposed to a mental condition. I use homosexuality as a point of comparison simply because it has been used by the group advocating this change in the article and website linked above.

Psychologists, doctors, psychiatrists and all other medical professions have no idea what makes someone a pedophile (or what causes any other mental disorder known either) - essentially there are a lot of guesses, theories and hypotheses, but in the end, no one knows. The most well accepted explanations are usually the ones suggesting that there is a little bit of everything involved in the cause: behavioural, environmental, genetic, parenting, schooling, particular experiences, social etc.

Declassifying pedophilia as a mental disorder will basically be the same as stating that pedophiles are the way they are simply because they were "born that way" and that no one is responsible for this happening and neither is anyone able to control or change the nature of such a person. The websites in the links above mainly discuss and/or advocate that persons attracted to minors be "de-stigmatized" so as to be able to live their lives as would any other - they do not actually state that pedophiles should be allowed to engage in sexual activities with minors. The B4U-ACT website basically wants Minor Attracted People (MAPs) to be recognized as having a particular sexual orientation, like heterosexuality and homosexuality and be able to live with the acceptance of society by not being discriminated against.

Accepting pedophilia as a sexual orientation forms a part of the ultimate acceptance of the world and our society the way it is. By believing that we have no control or responsibility over our thoughts or feelings we are giving ourselves unlimited free passes to do all kinds of things - because we can just blame our nature afterwards.

Taking responsibility for ourselves is difficult - probably one of the most difficult things that any person could do as we are brought up by and into a society that promotes the complete disregard of self responsibility and a total disrespect for other beings. Essentially, we're selfish people who believe - nay, feel entitled to - do whatever we want, because it is in our nature.

We are constantly putting our faith in some other idea, entity or profession. We give ourselves over to religion so that God can be responsible. We give ourselves over to the findings of scientists so that we can blame nature. The idea that we are wholly responsible for ourselves causes a shock that is palpable - it is something we simply do not want to hear. We do not want to hear that those nasty thoughts we have inside us are a reflection of who we are as who we choose to be in every moment. We do not want to hear that the fantasies we have inside us are really our own creation that exist only because our our willing and active participation within them.

Even movies do nothing but promote how completely powerless we are to our natures, that we "cannot help how we feel" and "cannot help how we think". So long as we believe these things, things like pedophilia will exist.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Day 471: What is Cognitive Dissonance?

This continues from my previous post, check it out. 

One of the more interesting parts in my Psychology Studies was social psychology. Within this branch there is the specific off-shoot called Cognitive Dissonance. Here is a definition from Wikipedia:

In psychology, cognitive dissonance is the discomfort experienced when simultaneously holding two or more conflicting cognitions: ideas, beliefs, values or emotional reactions. In a state of dissonance, people may sometimes feel "disequilibrium": frustration, hunger, dread, guilt, anger, embarrassment, anxiety, etc.

Now I  am basing this post on what I read from Social Psychology (Twelfth Edition) by Robert A Baron, Nyla R Branscombe & Donn Byrne.

Here are 2 interesting studies that illustrate cognitive dissonance quite well:

An early version of cognitive dissonance theory appeared in Leon Festinger's 1956 book, When Prophecy Fails. This book gives an account of the deepening of cult members' faith following the failure of a cult's prophecy that a UFO landing was imminent. The believers met at a pre-determined place and time, believing they alone would survive the Earth's destruction. The appointed time came and passed without incident. They faced acute cognitive dissonance: had they been the victim of a hoax? Had they donated their worldly possessions in vain? Most members chose to believe something less dissonant to resolve reality not meeting their expectations: they believed that the aliens had given Earth a second chance, and the group was now empowered to spread the word that earth-spoiling must stop. The group dramatically increased their proselytism despite the failed prophecy.

In Festinger and Carlsmith's classic 1959 experiment, students were asked to spend an hour on boring and tedious tasks (e.g., turning pegs a quarter turn, over and over again). The tasks were designed to generate a strong, negative attitude. Once the subjects had done this, the experimenters asked some of them to do a simple favour. They were asked to talk to another subject (actually an actor) and persuade the impostor that the tasks were interesting and engaging. Some participants were paid $20 (equivalent to $160 in present day terms[9]) for this favour, another group was paid $1 (equivalent to $8 in present day terms[9]), and a control group was not asked to perform the favour.
When asked to rate the boring tasks at the conclusion of the study (not in the presence of the other "subject"), those in the $1 group rated them more positively than those in the $20 and control groups. This was explained by Festinger and Carlsmith as evidence for cognitive dissonance. The researchers theorized that people experienced dissonance between the conflicting cognitions, "I told someone that the task was interesting", and "I actually found it boring." When paid only $1, students were forced to internalize the attitude they were induced to express, because they had no other justification. Those in the $20 condition, however, had an obvious external justification for their behaviour, and thus experienced less dissonance.

Essentially what these studies have shown is that we humans are much more likely to integrate a belief (for example) as a part of our personalities/self definition if there is insufficient alternative justification for us exhibiting whatever behaviour is in question.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Day 470: I Deserve It

I deserve it.

This is something we tell ourselves every now and then - for some it is hardly ever and for others it is more often.

I've had a hard day.

It's been a stressful month.

I already did that other thing which makes up for me not doing this.

I just got bad news.

I just got good news.

I did something great today.

I did something terrible today.

I need to relax after a hectic month.

I am depressed and should focus on making myself feel better.

I didn't sleep well.

I love myself and I should prove it.

There is a fine line between making an excuse and giving valid reasons. We tend to err on the side of excuses.

Essentially we try to maintain our positive self image - the way we see ourselves. We don't like seeing ourselves as lazy or as someone who makes excuses all the time - this is why we try to come up with the very best excuses, really good reasons for not doing whatever we committed to. It is a conundrum. We chuck our honesty with ourselves out the window in order to maintain our self delusions and because we have done this we are more likely to be oblivious to the truth - whatever it may be in the moment.

You know what it's like trying to show someone how they've missed something, or are not seeing something clearly when they're wholly committed to a particular course of action or belief - it's like talking to a wall. Eventually your conversation devolves into a heated back and forth with both parties walking away from it with feelings of anger and frustration. Now, imagine that about half of the things you think and do are based on your observations and deductions that may not be entirely clear and, well, true. We develop our entire self identity around a myriad of beliefs and assumptions that only exists as they do so that we can feel good about ourselves - and because everyone else does the same, no one says anything about it. Interestingly, our entire social construct has evolved to protect our delusional self beliefs by also protecting everyone else's - because if no one says anything about anyone's misconceptions, then everyone's self image is safe.

I have some interesting quotes to throw your way from one or 2 psychology text books, which is what I will be starting in my net post.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Day 469: Trust the System

Just trust the system. 

This phrase is a part of all of our lives, whether implicitly or explicitly. We believe, in the very core of our selves, that the system is the best it can possibly be and was designed to protect us and work to make our lives the best they can be. It is somewhat of a dichotomy, since we are willing to attribute "bad" events to that just being the way of the world but at the same time, we acknowledge the existence of a "system" which supposedly has our best interests at heart. We are aware that such systems cannot exist without our acceptance of them and participation within them, but we have suppressed this awareness so deep that we have come to exist within the belief that we are powerless to change anything, blaming outside entities as being the "bad guys" when these entities are just made of people like you and me - people who knowingly participate in the system and who ensure its continued existence whether they agree with it or not - their very jobs (and therefore survival) depends on it.

We trust that the schooling system will do the best job in educating our children and preparing them for becoming independent in the world. When we don't believe that the schooling system will do this we exist somewhere between a state of powerlessness and a blind faith that somehow "things will turn out OK" because we are doing the best we can. Unfortunately our definition of "doing the best we can" only involves doing that which ensures our own survival and does not do anything to create positive change. We close our eyes and jump off the cliff, trusting that the system will catch us. In reality, the system is using our smashed bodies as coal to fuel its continued existence. Well, so to speak.

We trust that our governments will use tax money wisely. When a story comes out about money "disappearing" we blame it on corruption and then go back to sleep, feeling too impotent to take action against the huge entity of "government" which could do all sorts of things to make our lives unpleasant.

We trust that police will keep us safe. When something bad happens to us and the police let us down, we blame it on the institution. We say that "this is what the world has come to". We do not recognize that we were just as willing to ignore the suffering of another person before our own misfortune. We tend to only spring to action when we are personally affected by some event.

We trust that the manufacturers of the products and foods we buy are doing their best to provide us with the best (and safest) products possible. We hear stories about poisons in products, or forced labour happening somewhere in the production line, but we choose to believe that the suppliers we but from have integrity. When the things we buy break shortly after the warranty expires we don't wonder so much about why that happens - we focus more on buying some awesome new thing to replace it with. We do like to buy new stuff. It makes us feel goooooooood (Conditioned behaviour anyone?).

In order to effect real change we must actually take the steps to do so ourselves. We must be willing to be the change. We must be willing to see past the entities into the reality that it is people running the system, which means that people can change it. If enough people demand change, if enough people support a plausible and practical solution then there will be nothing to stop Heaven from being created here on Earth.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Day 468: I Will Love You No Matter What

There are many stories like this. A dog alerting people to a fire in the house. A dog staying by its dead friend next to the road for days. An elephant and dog being best friends. Dogs saving people from being hit by a car. Horses colicking when a herd mate dies. Cats sitting by sick, sad or birthing people and animals.

Events like these are not as rare as we may think. We tend to underestimate the nature of animals, because we only see them compared to how we see ourselves - we are always trying to impose our own nature onto them, so that when their actions do not match what we perceive to be emotional/caring actions then we simply dismiss them.

Animals show a true love - an unconditional love that we rarely show each other. No matter how abhorrent our deeds, they still look at us with adoration. What do we give them in return? We look down on them. We see them as being less worthy of life, happiness and the things we enjoy. We justify ourselves by saying that "animals do not want what we want, they do not feel the way we feel. I know what is best" when we haven't the slightest clue. We exploit them in their position of being completely at our mercy - we know that they depend upon us for their very survival.

We are wrong if we believe that only extreme acts of sacrifice on the part of an animal proves their true nature - they prove their nature every moment that they forgive us for who we are and love us anyway. If we want to learn how to be kinder and better people we should look to the animals.

Millions of animals give their lives every day so that we can have our Happy Meals. Do their actions not reflect the message of Jesus? Do animals not live the words of Jesus more thoroughly and completely than any human? What do we do when we see their kindness and forgiveness - we thank them by exploiting their kindness, mistaking it for meekness.

The meek shall inherit the Earth.

By the time we're through, there will be no meekness left. Is it possible to turn even the animals against us so completely that they would no longer be willing to forgive? There are some things that should not be forgiven, and each of us has participated in or allowed the continuation one of those things. Maybe if animals started hating us then we would not think quite so highly of ourselves - every time the adoring eyes of a pet stare at us we believe about ourselves that we are worth adoring and that who we choose to be and what we choose to accept is acceptable.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Day 467: Just Kill All the Rhinos

Cape Town – A rhino focus group announced on Wednesday that the number of illegally killed rhinos in South Africa for 2013 has reached 825.

Annamiticus reports that 500 of the 825 have been gunned down in the Kruger National Park adding that between 1 January and 13 March 15.36 rhinos were killed each week in the country.

Rhino killings have increased dramatically in recent years due to the demand for horns from the asian black market. In 2007 only 13 incidents were reported. - News24

Would it not be kinder to kill all the remaining rhinos (and other animals targeted by human cruelty/greed/just plain stupidity) in a humane manner (haha humane - as if humaneness is a trait commonly linked to humans)? How many animals are dying slow and agonizingly painful deaths to feed one or another desire we have? How many animals die to satisfy our egos? How many animals die because we stubbornly refuse to implement measures to prevent this from happening - measures that will address the cause of the problems as opposed to just treating the symptoms?

If we continue believing that the stickers we buy and the sms's we send to "support the fight against Rhino poaching" (and other animal cruelty/destruction causes) will stop people from wanting Rhino horns - by feeding their families, stopping their superstitious beliefs that the horns will magically cure their ailments and such - then the poaching will just continue. These actions against animals are taken for specific reasons - adding more game rangers and building higher fences do not address these reasons. If we continue with our current course of action the only Rhinos that will survive will be the ones locked in cages in zoos, living with an equal measure of misery as the ones dying slowly in a ditch.

I drove past a grazing Rhino and her calf the other day and wandered how long those two would still be alive. Will my children, if I have children in the future, ever get the opportunity to see animals like the Rhino in the wild, in their natural habitats?

The only difference between us quickly and efficiently killing all the Rhinos right now and carrying on in our delusion that what we have been doing will make poaching extinct instead of the Rhinos is that killing them all now will save them from being hacked, torn apart and left to die.

So, I propose that we start a new charitable organization: Save the Rhinos by Killing them all. We could do one organization for each endangered animal.

Let's face it - we're deluding ourselves by thinking that the animal
s will win over our greed and relentless destruction of their living environments and bodies. If we continue this way then there simply will not be any wild animals left - profit is more important than giving other living beings the opportunity to live the way they have always lived, without our interference.

Maybe not everyone is aware of the extent to which wild animals are killed for simply "interfering" with human activities: leopards and other predators like the jackal are hunted and poisoned for killing our livestock - even though it turns out that it isn't them most of the time. Countless species are simply starving to death (predator birds like eagles and owls, orangutangs) because of habitat destruction. No one even knows how many sea and water-dwelling creatures have been poisoned and overfished - did you know that the "nuclear countries" did a lot of nuclear bomb tests in the oceans? Take a look.

In 50 years our planet will be a toxic mass unable to support life. Hopefully we'll have killed off the animals so that they do not have to suffer from our actions any more than they have to.

It is time to stop the madness. Get real, people - it is time for solutions - not band aids.