Sunday, June 25, 2017

The Travesty of Being a "Bible Women"

Before, I surmised that abusive parents must have a disconnect with their future selves. They must be blind to the fact that the children they treat so harshly will soon be adults who remember. That seemed to me the only way to explain the abuse of vulnerable children.

What I hadn't considered was the quieter damage done by mothers in their striving to be "Bible women." That sickeningly self-abasing behavior implanted destructive mores in the psyches of the girls in the cult, and also likely taught the boys a Scriptural type of misogyny. Good "Bible women" were supposed to "submit to their husbands, as unto the Lord." Females were taught that it was their God-given duty never to refuse a man.

Girls were not taught a thing about boundaries. They never heard that it is OK to say "no," nor that their body was theirs. They learned these wrong ideas from the Mo Letters and, sadly, from observing their own weak, beaten-down, often exhausted, mothers.

Women, like myself, felt unworthy, "deserving of nothing but hell," as Berg wrote. "The only thing good about us is Jesus." There was no room for self-confidence, self-respect, strength, or growth. Submission was the rule. No need to question or try to get out of a bad situation. Just endure. We deserved nothing better.

Step out of that cult, and besides the myriad of other shocks and changes, we were faced with the challenge of overcoming that behavior. But first we had to notice it. It was part of our thinking, our unquestionable "normal" - the water we "fish" swam in - and thus, pretty hard to see. People continued to walk all over us. It took hard experience for us to, hopefully, learn that our concept of normalcy needs serious alteration and that it was all right, even necessary, to stand up for ourselves.

Monday, June 12, 2017

The Experience Machine*

Imagine you are given the opportunity to plug into a virtual reality machine that would be preprogrammed with all your dreams, creating for you an imaginary life where you can be and do whatever you want. If you have noble ideals, perhaps your world would be programmed so that you, through trial and error, much work and research, discover the cure for cancer. Maybe you would write the greatest novel ever written. Maybe you would go full-hedonism and just lay around on a beach, drinking pina coladas. That would be your entire reality.

You would have no idea that your body was really floating in a vat of liquid with electrodes attached to your brain. Your reality was what you were experiencing in your brain.

Would you do it?

Or what if you woke up today and found out that your life has been lived in an experience machine, and nothing is real? How would you feel?

Is there value in living an authentic life, striving to be honest with oneself? Or is a pretend life better if it means one can be "happy"?

* The Experience Machine is a thought experiment developed by American philosopher, Robert Nozick.