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the real self

False Choices

We too easily assume that we are our real selves, and that our choices are really the ones we want to make…

Our choices are too often dictated by our false selves.

Hence I do not find in myself the power to be happy merely by doing what I like.

On the contrary, if I do nothing except what pleases my own fancy I will be miserable almost all the time.

Thomas Merton, No Man is an Island, “Conscience, Freedom, and Prayer”

I don’t know enough about brain chemistry to say anything much about it. But I understand that we can easily become like trapped rats poking whatever button we can find that results in a little dopamine poof. And then another. And then another, bigger poof. Each poof producing in our brains what we associate with pleasure. Followed by a lack of pleasure. Followed by looking for that button again. And, can we poke it a little harder and get a little bigger poof this time?

I have been that trapped rat. I have family members who were those trapped rats who I hope and pray they found mercy and relief when they left the earth that had become to them a maze with no way out and all the buttons no longer sufficient.

We have thriving industries that depend on our false selves making the choices for us. Until we no longer have any power to choose anything but what we have become addicted to, perfect consumers.

God in heaven, be merciful to us, guide us to our true selves, to choices that don’t go poof.

Jesus, you came that we might have joy, abundantly, not dependent on dopamine and the pleasure pulses it gives. Inclusive of pleasure, yes; thank you. Requiring pleasure, no; thank you. Joy no one can take from us, not ‘like the world gives’. Thank you.


Grace and peace to you…
dw

Photo by dw

2 replies on “False Choices”

So true. We enslave ourselves for the sake of pleasure, and live in a culture that, perversely, regards this as good as long as nobody is harmed. But there’s always someone harmed. Maybe what keeps us trapped, though, is not the pleasure but the story we live in. If I inhabit a story that says I’m more than a rat, that I’m the child of God, and that I will spend eternity in communion with him, I have at least a fighting chance of release from the trap. Without that, why try?

Liked by 1 person

Good morning Bob – Merry Christmas! It’s good to hear from you again. I hope you are doing well.

I like what you say about the broader story. The story we claim for ourselves, the truth Jesus came to proclaim, the good news that we can be rescued from the maze…yes, that’s what Christmas is about.

Thank you 🙏🏼

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