I like to listen to a lot of podcasts. It has been years since I’ve wasted time listening to music in the car because music is just mindless repetition where podcasts open your mind and keep it working.
This time I was listening to The Minimalists podcast and the subject was, “Addiction”. I almost didn’t listen to this episode since I’m really not addicted to anything in the standard sense but I went ahead and started it.
A listener called in asking what he could do to help his alcoholic brother who was so addicted to alcohol he could not function. Much the same as most drug addiction scenarios.
Neither the brother or the hosts of the show seemed to notice that the chronic use of alcohol was not the cause but only a symptom of the problem. I’m willing to bet that virtually all alcohol/drug use and other such symptoms are only symptoms of a serious problem.
For example, I spent decades fighting deep depression because of my chronic loneliness. I won’t go into the fact that nobody cared because it’s popular human nature to not care about others. Ain’t nobody got time for that. All that time I was only fighting the symptom.
One really needs to step back and look at the big picture. There is often a cause for any effect. Keep digging until you find the root cause. Let’s take me for example:
I was depressed to the point of suicide for more than half of my life because I was desperately lonely without any possibility of parole. I knew I why I was depressed but was helpless to do anything about it because I was not addressing the root cause. The root cause was not loneliness. Look down one step. Why was I depressed about being lonely? It was because I was feeling bad about it. Why was I feeling bad about it? Because I had the perception that being lonely was bad.
If you break it down to the atomic level, it may be likely that our perception of any situation is the root cause. It may be that life is as you perceive it.
That brother who is abusing alcohol is obviously using it to medicate the symptoms of the real problem. Trying to help him by making him stop drinking is not helpful. You need to find and treat his real issue. He may be lonely. He may be undereducated and therefore a non-viable citizen. He may have any of a number of issues that humans suffer from. Since the sufferer may not have what it takes to dig down to the root cause, if you want to help him, you may need to do it for him. It took me 40 years to figure it out and I’m relatively sentient.
Of course the sufferer will often fight back because they will not yet have perceived their root cause. It might take you some serious work to get them to understand. You can’t force it, of course, but you can try to influence their own self-discovery.
Perception may really be everything. Reality is as you perceive it. It sounds pretty outlandish to the Western philosophy but there may be something, or everything, to it. Change your perception and change your reality.