Indicators of Justification
Justification functions in a manner
similar to sensory perception. When a sensory nerve is stimulated, the nerves around it
become numbed so that the apparent stimulation is made more distinct. When a sensory nerve
is numbed, the nerves around it become more sensitive to pick up the slack. Similarly,
when a justification causes one to become sensitive to a stimulation, the surrounding
thoughts and feelings become numbed in order to mask (and thereby protect) the
sensitivity. If justification causes one to become numbed to a particular kind of
stimulation, the thoughts and feelings around this area become overly sensitive, tending
to cause reactions that redirect the stimulation from the numbed (blinded) area.
Both of these techniques can aid in survival. If
becoming sensitized to a particular stimulation (such as the howl of a dangerous predator)
is useful, then numbing the area around that stimulation makes it stand out from the
background noise by gating out any similar distractions leaving the field clear for that
particular pattern. If becoming numbed to a particular stimulation (such as crickets
chirping or a clock ticking) is useful because it cuts down on background noise, then over
stimulating the area around the desensitized area compensates for the missing attention,
warning one that a similar, potentially dangerous pattern is present that might be ignored
because it is so close to the numbed area.
When one become aware of a causal relationship in
which a precursor always (or frequently) portends trouble, one becomes sensitized in the
surrounding areas. In a sense, the precursors are "rubbed raw" by excessive
irritation connected with negative stimulations to come. In contrast, if an ongoing
irritation is not preceded by a causal warning, the irritation builds up a blister or scab
around it due to repeated stimulation. As a result, the area around the sensitivity
becomes numbed. Causal relationship justifications are temporal in nature because they
anticipate the future. Continuous irritation justifications are spatial in nature because
they respond to the immediate situation.
When someone is temporally justified, they react
strongly when conversations, actions or events begin to approach the irritation area.
People justified in this way will lash out on all kinds of issues in seemingly unrelated
categories because the real connection is how many touch points these categories have with
the overly sensitive area. For example, if as a child Jane was scared on several occasions
by red fire engines, she may become sensitive to fast cars, the color red, loud siren like
noises, or the smell of smoke. But even more, if it was windy on most of the days she was
scared by the fire engine than she may become afraid or wind. If her mother was with her
and happened to be wearing the same coat that was hardly ever worn, Jane might develop an
aversion to tweed. The random encroachment of chaos into the periphery of repeated
experience can produce subjective causal relationships that do not truly exist.
Causal justifications do not necessarily require
repeated irritation (exposure). If a single event is so powerful or all-effecting that
multitudes of irritations are created in a single "flash" moment, then the same
kinds of odd relationships may be mapped into the mind, dragged in as causal relationships
even though based on but a single instance.
When someone is spatially justified, they become
apathetic or disinterested when the irritation area is approached. People justified in
this way will change the subject of conversation will have little interest in what are
seemingly unrelated areas. Only if the source of irritation can be discovered does a
pattern of connection appear. For example, if John was often beaten with a belt by his
drunken father, he might have little or no interest in drinking or wearing belts. But he
also might be disinterested riding horses because they are whipped, wear suspenders, not
enjoy office parties where drinking is going on, and find no pleasure in drawing (because
he was often sketching when his father came in to beat him).
Being disinterested in sketching because it was
associated with a negative stimulation is not the same as becoming sensitized to it. If
John were sensitized, he would react in a strongly negative way to sketching because he
would see it as one of the triggers that caused his beating. That would be a causal or
temporal justification. But if sketching simply carries a negative stigma by association,
then he simply loses interest in it without a causal connection.
It becomes clear that our areas of diminished
interest are created to steer us from dredging up past irritations, whereas areas of
enhanced sensitivity are created to help us avoid future recurrences of past irritations.
The forms described above deal only with
irritations When one becomes sensitive it is a form of Negative Reinforcement wherein an
existing condition (that might reoccur) is relieved by engaging in a particular
(preventative) behavior. When one becomes desensitized it is a form of self Punishment, in
which one does not allow oneself to enjoy things not really connected with the irritation
but reminiscent of it. When one punishes another, it a means of shifting the inequity from
oneself to the "offending" party. But when one punishes themselves, it is a
means of dispersing pain so it doesn't hurt too much in any one place.
From this point, the mechanisms dealing with
pleasures, as opposed to irritations, is accessible, leading to sensitivities that are
Positively Reinforced and desensitizations which are rewards. We can see that in everyday
life, an elevated interest in a hobby or career can indicate an expectation of obtaining
pleasures based upon ones experiences or expectations. Positive Reinforcement is just as
much in play if one only anticipates something good as when one has actually seen the
activity lead to something good.
For desensitization, when one rewards another it is
a means of bringing more pleasure to oneself because the other party is more likely to
continue the desired behavior. When one rewards themselves, they desensitize the area
around the pleasure so that not only is the pleasure itself made greater by local
contrast, but also so one will not become completely prone to immediate gratification.
Through the mind's placement of desensitized areas around primary pleasures, a threshold
is introduced that requires a catalyst to bridge. Ideally, the catalyst is obtained by
engaging in forward thinking survival activities, leading to such things as the American
Work Ethic, and putting dessert at the end of the meal.