Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Opposite of the Pride Cycle

The "Pride Cycle" is pretty clearly understood, and I'm sure it's very applicable at the level of civilizations. But at the level of individuals, I see another cycle happening more often. It could be called "The Shame Cycle."
Take overeating, for example. Someone gets a little overweight, and starts to feel ashamed of his weight. It's hard to sleep; he starts to feel worthless, and just wants to make it stop. He feels bad, and just wants to feel good, now. So what does he do? He does the thing he knows will bring him instant pleasure, namely, eating. He feels like he's already worthless, so he might as well pile it on. The shame has turned into self-hatred which is self-destructive.
Of course that's just one example, but it works with any addiction. But what sin isn't, in the end, turned into an addiction? No one would do wrong if it didn't bring immediate pleasure. But the delayed consequence of doing wrong will eventually make them feel even worse, meaning the urge for that pleasure is all the stronger.
This is the sentiment, I think, behind "Amazing Grace." It's only with outside help, being saved, that the cycle can be broken.

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