“The Fallen have many addictions”, Serious began. “Addictions are the rituals and myths invented by the fallen to protect their access to solutions to which they have become accustomed, from the threat of evidence that they have never worked.
“God’s Fire reveals to them the vanity of their trust in the miracles which they imagine their addictions faithfully perform for them.
“The fallen constantly invent new addictions as they tire of old ones.
“Some spin around in one place until they become dizzy and can’t think of anything but trying not to fall.”
Serious was as serious as a quantum physics professor drilling students on the Eleventh Law of Thermodynamics.
“Some jump up and down until their heads hurt and they can’t think of anything but sitting back down.”
The gap between the craziness of Serious’s subject, and the dryness of his detached, scholarly approach to it, progressively widened.
“Those are two of the three basic categories of addictions, but there are many variations. I’m going to have to warm up on the first two before I can analyze the third for you, because the third one is ridiculous.”
Meaning, the first two are perfectly rational, Brother Serious?
The Dizzy Group (“Uppers”, or “Stimulants”)
“The first group, the dizzy group, include some who fly in fast, tight spirals until centrifugal force turns them into frisbees; who roll their heads around in quick circles until their heads look like tetherballs; and who eat small quantities of Hell Fire.”
Serious’s delivery was as scholarly as if he were dissecting a lovaton under a spiriton microscope and giving a play-by-play to a convention of boring, bored tenured professors. His furrowed brows and monotone voice would have given the impression, to someone too far away to hear his words, that his subject was dry. It was so not-dry, that our greatest attention was to retaining our composure.
Yet when one of us smiled too broadly, he got a stern look from Professor Serious, which only made it harder not to laugh as he toiled farther down his carnival scenarios.
It didn’t help that Serious was wearing a red and pink striped face today. Where did he get his concept of style? Has no one told him that red goes with green, not pink? Oh well, the combination of these elements provided us much needed entertainment.
Serious intoned, “There are other variations, but this group has, in common, the belief that their activities make them very fast thinkers, able to do super-angelic feats, with all the energy of little ‘gods’. This belief makes them feel like their lives have more purpose, since of course accomplishment is one of our purposes for life.”
VerseScout: Matthew 25:20 And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. 21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
Ecclesiastes 2:24 There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God.
“They are faster thinkers, only because they stop restricting their brains to thinking sensibly. Obviously thoughts fly much faster if you don’t take the trouble to weed out the stupid ones. Yes, they perform three times as much work; but little of it makes any sense. Certainly their ‘work’ does not ‘accomplish’ anything likely to impress anybody.”
As Serious droned on, I pondered the very lesson in his serious, detached, scholarly approach. It occurred to me that addictive behavior ought to be laughed at out loud, because to treat it as a serious choice implies that its goofiness merits respect.
I realize it is tempting to be serious around such behavior, thinking that shows respect for the soul choosing it. But to treat a soul connected to the Mind of God seriously, when it makes a pea-brained choice, is to demean that soul as having no greater capacity than to act that stupid without really knowing any better. Of course they know better!
And when they see us treating what they realize is foolish, as serious, when they know we know as well as they know, that it is foolish, our polite dishonesty only loses credibility in their eyes. They correctly perceive that we don’t really care about them, or whether they destroy themselves foolishly. Therefore it shows neither compassion nor respect, to talk about their addictions without laughing out loud.
I wondered if Serious were deliberately provoking us to comprehend this point?
The Headache Group (“Downers”, or “Depressants”)
“The second group, the headache group, includes some who hold their breath until they pass out; who bang their heads against one another; and who stare at Hell Fire until their eyes ache. There are other variations, but this group has, in common, the belief that their activities make them such slow thinkers that they can forget all their troubles. Well, yes, they do forget some of their troubles, or at least their previous troubles, which soon become crowded out from their attention by new, greater troubles resulting from their slow thinking. Their minds become so disorganized that it becomes trouble enough just for them to hold a hand in front of their face and count it correctly.”
Chemicals and Emotions.
Joy stood. “I notice you say they ‘have the belief’ that their chemicals make them feel a certain way, as if you may not agree. Doesn’t it make sense that a given chemical change in their bodies, caused either by chemicals they ingest or by their weird actions, would produce a given emotional state in reaction?
Serious actually smiled. “It would make sense if there were a direct relationship between chemicals and emotions. But not only do the same chemicals fail to trigger uniform emotions from one angel to another, but also from one ingestion to the next in the same angel. Emotional reactions to chemicals are not uniform.
“Not for want of trying to make it so! All the faith that we place in God, they place in chemicals and rituals! They concentrate very hard on expecting a uniform experience, and they put enormous pressure on one another not only to expect a uniform experience, but to report one even when it is not. When the experience is too disappointing to doctor the report, they dismiss it as a ‘bad trip’.
“By the use of this rhetoric they perpetuate the illusion that at least the chemical change consistently induces a ‘trip’, when the truth is that the only consistent result is a physical and mental disability. Their emotional experience is not consistent, despite their determination to pretend it so.”
“But,” I asked, “how can distinct chemical changes in our bodies not produce distinct reactions in our experiences?”
“Oh, there is no doubt,” answered Aysh, “that chemical changes produce recognizable physical experiences. Chemicals are physical. Emotions are not physical. Emotions are choices, influenced by past choices.
“The real myth is that the same physical changes in our bodies produce the same emotional reactions. What other experience produces the same emotional reaction in every angel? Not one, because our choices shape our emotions. Why should we expect a mere chemical to have greater power to dictate our emotions than our wills?”
“But don’t these chemicals directly affect brains?” Distazo asked.
“They do, physically. But brain health doesn’t determine emotional condition. We are all painfully aware that, since The War, two angels can have perfectly healthy brains and yet one is full of joy and the other is miserable. Likewise, two angels can be exhausted to the point of being very sick, yet one full of joy and the other miserable.
“Remember that these chemicals are foreign substances in our bodies, interfering with God’s perfect design. So the only question that is even logical is whether the same kind of harm consistently results from a chemical. The answer is that chemicals induce physical states like those caused by sickness, exhaustion, and delirium, but do not even induce mere physical results consistently.
“Take the harm of delirium, for example. Delirium can be caused by extreme exhaustion, high fever, or sniffing Hell Smoke.
“Have you noticed that the physical experience of delirium is not perfectly uniform even under the most controlled conditions?
“Have you also noticed that to the extent the experience is consistent, it is equally consistent whether it is triggered by fatigue, fever, or smoke, though these three are quite different chemically?
“Finally, have you noticed that regardless of the physical trigger, and regardless of the degree of uniformity of the physical experience, the emotional reaction of each angel is different?
“In the case of every other sickness, it is common knowledge that some are discouraged by it, while others thank God for it, trusting God to have a purpose for it. The variety of emotional reaction to it, based on spiritual choices, is common knowledge. No one suggests any sickness, by itself, has some strange power to dictate uniform emotional reaction to it! The Fallen would have us believe delirium is an exception. We could find no evidence that it is, or reason to think it should be.
“Much less do we observe any uniform behavior from one person to another under the influence of the same substance; or even in the same person, from one experience to another.”
Distazo wasn’t convinced. “But isn’t there at least a greater uniformity of emotional reaction, to specific chemicals, than may be accounted for by chance?”
“Yes, there is”, answered Serious. “As I have said, they concentrate very hard on expecting a uniform experience, and they put enormous pressure on one another not only to expect a uniform experience, but to report one even when it is not.”
I asked, “What kind of pressure?”
Serious held up an orb projecting replays of our brothers who had made themselves demons.
Jade spun his head around in circles so violently that his neck elongated the span of two angels, and his head looked like a tetherball. While doing so, he stumbled towards others doing the same, until their necks tangled, producing a long, exhilarating “Twistee”. A crew came over to untangle them before they suffocated. Jade stumbled to his feet, satisfied that whatever chemical changes this was supposed to produce in his body had surely taken place by now, and staggered helplessly towards a pile of friends.
“Yalook…hapy…….kid.” Armpit encouraged.
Jade was skeptical. He didn’t feel any happier than before; just dizzier. He was curious enough to want to analyze what he was experiencing, independently of what his friends informed him that he was experiencing. So far all he had learned twisting does is make the body sick and clumsy, and confuse and slow the mind so that it responds to others’ emotions and words with blurred comprehension and limited self-discipline.
“You told me if I tried dis…Idbe…hap…hapy. ButIfel… feel…sick.”
Jade answered with a heave, which splattered on the pile. “Thosetwo…mea…meals…were good ones…too” he complained. “ButIdon’t feel…anydif…diffrunt.”
What Jade meant was that his emotions hadn’t changed. Of course his body felt different! It felt like whenever he moved any large part of his body and then his brain told the body part to stop moving, it just kept moving for awhile anyway. Inertia seemed about 10 times its normal strength.
By contrast, he also noticed that his fingers reacted normally. In other words, his “fine motor skills” were still intact.
Testing these new things, he wrote profusely on a slate, marveling at how he could still write well, his fingers working normally, but when he moved his arm to a new paragraph it took practice to get it to stop at the right place.
He was not of course concerned with what he was writing. He was just writing to test these phenomena. Consequently his writing was gibberish, so his friends, watching him busily writing all this nonsense, and hearing him say “I don’t feel any different”, were beside themselves with apoplexy at the obvious denial Jade was in.
Armpit winked knowingly, as he wrung Jade’s stomach fluids out of his robe. “Ah…aha, our bud here isdru… drunkastheycome.” He laughed and laughed and laughed, because it took him the labor of three laughs to get out just one. “He’lldofine. Hic.”
Jade sat down in his gift to the group. “I have this theo…theory…that tw…tw…twisting doesn’t af…af…affect..how youfeel.”
His friends almost sobered, at the challenge of alerting their reality-denying friend to the news that he was drunk! They didn’t understand that Jade meant his emotions were unchanged. Jade was fully aware that he was “drunk”; he denied only that he felt “better”. He was skeptical only of the standard claims of happiness, fun, oblivion, etc. credited to drink.
“Yerdrunk!” Stinky angrily announced, his face in Jade’s, his wagging finger even closer.
Jade laughed. Of course he was drunk. He just didn’t feel better. Or worse either, as far as that goes. Except for the foul fluids, which were becoming annoying. But Stinky didn’t understand. So Jade laughed.
Jade thought of the heroic labor it would take to remember enough words to explain what he meant, and then force them out of his crippled mouth, and of the unlikelihood they would be understood even if pronounced. He laughed at that too.
Since he was drunk, his laughter was, as it were, in slow motion. It was physically clumsy, and dragged on and on. Since his mind was incapable of shifting its focus quickly, and since Stinky and Armpit made it their mission to force Jade to repent, with such comical fervor, Jade laughed quite a while, which made him look even more like an idiot.
“Lemesee”, he said, “yousai…said I’d forget. But when I think, I canstill…remember.”
Stinky explained, “Think? Whenyouthink? Thewho…whole point is to stopthi…thinking. Betterta…take anothertwist.”
“He’lldofine. Hic.” interceded Armpit. “Lookitim. He got a buzz. Lifedo…don’t git no betterandis. Havano…nother twist”, he offered.
Jade felt the pressure to believe what evidence denied. Their words soared into his throbbing brain like great bolts of light, and then remained, ricocheting off its walls. His mind only slowly focused on any one of them to sort out its meaning, and did so with clumsiness and little real interest, there being far greater issues to tackle, such as deciding which way was up.
Therefore when words on a particular theme were repeated, the easiest course was to flow with them, believe them, agree with them, and hope they will stop. It was taking a lot of his waning strength to continue thinking for himself.
He dimly perceived that some sort of “Fellowship of Believers” was the thing keeping this ritual alive. When he could focus on the question, he could not say that he felt either happier or sadder as a result of the Twistee, which is what he meant when he said he didn’t “feel any different”.
Then what was the attraction of twistees to all these people? Was it just one of many alternative pegs upon which to hang a set of imaginary benefits?
Nevertheless Jade felt the pressure to admit he was “high”, which was supposed to be a “better” feeling than the emotions available while sober.
Finally Jade decided another Twistee couldn’t hurt. He would try it, and see what he might learn from it.
Jade took another Twistee. In the middle of it, he released another heave, blessing probably a thousand of his “buds”. He laid down afterwards. “Yerigh…………cantthink now…..” Armpit smiled proudly. Jade passed out.
Armpit said, “Ourbu…bud has found the pea…the pea… the peacehesafter.”
Serious shut off the orb. “But of course sleep is no guarantee of peace. Jade merely passed from consciousness into nightmares.
“In this example, a particularly skeptical demon heroically resists peer pressure.
“Notice how introspective Jade is. He is willing to submit to the experiment, but he doesn’t want to accept the word of others for the results.
“He makes an effort to think, in order to analyze the results of his experiment. He doesn’t seem to understand that a ‘good drunk’ assumes his brain will cooperate with the chemicals and ‘stop the thinking’ – a euphemism for ignoring the unwanted emotions which are still there, crying out to be remembered.
“‘Have another Twistee’ similarly becomes a euphemism for ‘try harder to ignore unwanted thoughts.’
“Most who choose this experience do not approach it with any introspection whatsoever, since their express goal is to silence the introspective self-analysis of conscience which is making them feel guilty!
“Most haven’t the remotest desire to experiment! Most just want to stop unwanted thoughts, and they equally want to please their friends.
“Therefore, most do not at all think about the ‘success’ of their experience, but accept it without any interest in evidence. They accept it not only uncritically, but they regard doubt as an enemy, the same way they approach their religion in general. Ordinarily the drunk is the one who is trying to convince all around him that his habit makes him happy – not the one who resists being convinced that his habit made him happy.
“To listen to evidence is to break the habit.”
I stood to speak. “Interesting how this compares to religion. Ironic, that they accuse us of believing in God uncritically! But it is they who treat evidence as The Enemy. That’s the kind of Doubt that God talks about: the kind that stubbornly marches onward in the face of overwhelming evidence.”
Serious continued. “Our former brothers have persuaded themselves that chemical changes account for the diversion from life which they claim their activities provide them. Our studies have proved their emotions are more than accounted for by their intense concentration on what they imagine.”
Joy restated his earlier question as if he either hadn’t been listening or hadn’t comprehended. “But is their uniformity of expectation strong enough to account for their uniformity of emotional experience?”
Serious answered, “You mean, their alleged uniformity of emotional experience? Have you noticed that the positive emotional experiences which they promise are immediately and consistently available to us, without the disastrous side effects, simply by disciplining our emotions as God directs?
“For example, we cure our own depression by making a conscious effort to remember our blessings.
“We cure despair by remembering the occasions in which God mightily worked through us, and His promises to always do so.
“We cure boredom by listing the things we don’t like, and then determining to believe God’s promise to enable us to correct all evil that we attack, and suddenly we have more work we are passionate about doing than we can imagine ever completing!
“And every other unwanted emotion, God has given us the means to cure. To the extent we implement God’s methods, we uniformly experience victory.
“Furthermore, these results are predictable and consistent even when chemical conditions vary widely, such as under the physical stress of exhaustion or other temporary physical interference. So our own experience proves our emotional condition is the direct and predictable result of our spiritual choices.
“That is true for them also. They choose to concentrate very hard on expecting a specific emotional reaction to a particular chemical. That intense concentration is more than enough to account for the slight consistency of reaction they experience. Considering the uniformity and intensity of their expectation, we should be asking why their emotional reaction is not more consistent than it is. But of course the explanation is that they are seeking it without God. In fact, they are seeking it through an imaginary substitute for God, which requires them to seek with half their brains tied behind their backs.”
VerseScout: Proverbs 23:21 For the drunkard and the glutton [Heb: loose morals, worthless, prodigal] shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.
Proverbs 31:4 It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink: 5 Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted. 6 Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, [that is, give sedatives to people who are dying] and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts. 7 Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.
“Further evidence that chemicals do not dictate emotions are those incidents where drunken angels ‘snap out of it’ instantly when frightened, or when inspired to willingly face some urgent responsibility.
“Still further evidence that chemicals don’t dictate emotions is the similarity of withdrawal symptoms regardless of the chemical involved. Have you noticed that? Have you noticed that the lists of withdrawal symptoms from different chemicals is similar? How can that be, if chemicals, not choices, drive emotions? Shouldn’t entirely different chemicals, then, cause entirely different withdrawal symptoms?
“But I haven’t even gotten to the most fascinating evidence. Have you noticed how the addicted imagine their addictions offer such an endless variety of magical qualities?
“They claim some miraculous benefit from their addictions, which should be clue enough, considering the void of evidence, but then they go right out and claim the very opposite result, without ever noticing any contradiction!
“It helps them have ‘fun’, and helps them grieve!
“It helps them interact with reality, and helps them shut out reality!
“It helps them go to sleep, and stay awake!
“It gives them courage to face their problems, and helps them forget their problems!
“It helps them stay alert, and relax!
“It makes them perceptive, and helps block everything out!
“It helps them mourn, and celebrate!
“Why, it even enables them to talk to God! Although they don’t mean the God we know, but rather the ‘god’ they imagine.”
VerseScout: 2 Corinthians 4:3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
“Our God, unlike theirs, is real. Our God-centered thought, unlike theirs, really can help us meet opposite responsibilities.”
VerseScout: Ecclesiastes 3:1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: 2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; 3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; 4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; 5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; 6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; 7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; 8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
“But how can any thought-suppressing chemical produce opposite results? And even if it could, what would trigger the switch between producing one result or its opposite? Do addicts not imagine it is their wills which decide whether the chemical will produce the wanted result, or its opposite? Does this not undermine the assumption that it is the chemicals which have the power to control results? Do addicts not, by assuming their wills control whether a chemical will produce an effect or its opposite, admit that their beloved chemical has no power of its own?”
VerseScout: Proverbs 20:1 Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.
“Our OAT team thought the opposite magical qualities which they attributed to the same addiction would soon alert them to the fact that all those qualities are purely imaginary, since a single activity or substance is not capable of producing opposite results, but we have been disappointed. They have not caught on. Everything they want or need, they imagine receiving through their addictions, as if they actually believe their addictions are God.”
VerseScout: Psalms 135:15 The idols of the heathen are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. 16 They have mouths, but they speak not; eyes have they, but they see not; 17 They have ears, but they hear not; neither is there any breath in their mouths. 18 They that make them are like unto them: so is every one that trusteth in them.
VerseScout Relevance Report: God graphically describes the power of irrational imagination to claim miraculous benefits from a God-substitute, contrary to the most obvious, irrefutable evidence. If men are able to do that to the extreme of confusing a carved tree stump for “God”, we should not be surprised to learn men are able to have the same faith in the effect of ingested chemicals, for which a case can be made that at least sounds far more plausible. (Continued in Appendix D, Idols and Addictions)
“What they actually receive is nothing. All their activities accomplish is to place their minds in a state similar to various stages of extreme exhaustion, fear, or sickness. (“Sickness” is the name for how we feel while our dark spots are being burned away.)
“The whole appeal of either ‘stimulants’ or ‘depressants’ rests on the amazing theory that a healthy body, and a clearly thinking mind, as God has created them, can somehow be improved upon! And of all the ways to improve upon it, the best way is to make the body sick, and the mind foggy!
“What do they have against a clear mind, we still ask ourselves? Why, with a clear mind and angelic intelligence, it is possible to do creative, beautiful things to help others, to manifest our love, which makes our lives full of purpose! Oh yeah, I forgot. They think love is for losers. They want to be winners.”
Wow! Serious is getting sarcastic! He’s putting a little Fire in his findings!
“So they make themselves sick and stupid, so they will be of no use to anybody. Then they can be real ‘proud’ of themselves. They can have all kinds of ‘self esteem’, like that.
“Some angels are real hard to figure.”
The host responded with thunderous applause. Half for his articulate explanation of phenomena which had confused and troubled us, and half for our relief in finally hearing, from Serious’s own mouth, an attitude of disrespect appropriate to the subject.
VerseScout: Isaiah 5:20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
And another half, for coming to the end of his long paper, tossing it down, and stepping away from the podium!
Chapter Five: God’s Fireside Chat