Sunday, December 07, 2008

The Objectors are Addicted to Turmoil

I'm pulling Charlotte's comments from my "Objectors" post up here. Her insights deserve "front page" consideration rather than being lost below my meandering thoughts. I believe she's on to something. When I put on my asbestos gear and venture over to some of the right-wing objectors' sites, I sense a frenzy that gives me the creeps. I think Charlotte names it in this comment. Here's what she said:

Here's a somewhat different take on your question, based on observations made in the Diocese of Central Florida over the past 6-7 years:

It's possible to become hooked on the sensations generated by continual chaos and controversy. I think the "leavers" who can't leave, as well as those who are still (barely) in the Episcopal Church but constantly stir the pot, are hooked on endogenously generated drugs.

The adrenalin rush they feel after each polarizing diatribe, each breakdown, each chaotic, out-of-control episode is (after all) what hard drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine mimic. "Leavers" and "pot-stirrers" are tapping into a powerful biological reward system, so powerful that laboratory animals have died of hunger and exhaustion while still pressing the levers that deliver it.

Our "leavers" and "pot-stirrers" need that rush, that feeling of power. They don't have insight into their addictions, however, so they continue to create chaos for everyone unfortunate enough to be around them.

The paranoid right -- the people who circulated the "Obama is a Muslim" e-mails during the last election -- are, many of them, also hooked on adrenaline. (Some, like Rush Limbaugh, are hooked on other drugs as well, of course.) There is quite a bit of overlap between committed members of the paranoid right and the "leavers" and "pot-stirrers" of the Episcopal Church, as a casual glance at Stand Firm! will show.

It's a real question for me which came first, but in many of the American cases I am aware of, the paranoid right-wing politics are primary, while the desire to destroy the Episcopal Church is secondary.

Had they been young forty years ago, many of these "leavers" and "pot-stirrers" would have been members of the extremist Sixties alphabet soup, equally in love with their own adrenalin rushes, and needing ever more chaos and violence to deliver the same rush (or Rush). As will happen with addictions.
I recognize the syndrome she describes. When I was blogging for The Episcopal Majority, it was a very heady experience. The work I did there, as well as on my personal blog, was something like addictive. From time to time, I wondered whether I was becoming a "junkie" to good news and becoming addicted to outrage at bad news. I finally came to see I was in something like a "rave" state. I backed off. Now, when I venture over to the extreme right-wingers, I sense they have fallen off that cliff and they just cannot stop.

I think Charlotte's onto something. I suspect there's something like an opiate of self-righteousness and of umbrage and outrage. I thank God I backed away before I lost control. I think maybe "the objectors" are hooked and they don't even know it. What do you think?

8 Comments:

Blogger Grandmère Mimi said...

Lisa, I think that Charlotte is on to something, too. I seldom venture over to those right-wing sites, but when I do, I am appalled.

But I wonder if I don't suffer from some sort of addiction myself. Am I their polar opposite? I don't know.

I'm looking for the video that you linked to in your comment on the "Thought For the Day" at my blog. The link leads to a dead end.

12/07/2008 2:41 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

No, Mimi, I don't see those negative signs of addiction on your blog. Passion, yes. But not the sick cycle of addiction.

Obviously, I agree that Charlotte is on to something. It makes a lot of sense to me.

BTW, I went back to your blog, deleted the comment that had a bad link and posted what I hope will be a good link to the "Bush Apology Tour."

12/07/2008 3:16 PM  
Blogger Grandmère Mimi said...

And most of the folks who leave comments at my place and your place seem a hell of a lot smarter to me. If I received comments like theirs, I'd shut down.

I saw the Onion video. Almost too close to the truth to be funny.

12/07/2008 3:29 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

You and me both, my friend.

Glad you saw the video. Those folks at The Onion are geniuses.

12/07/2008 3:54 PM  
Blogger Charlotte said...

Thanks for the compliments, but I think Grandmere (sorry, can't do accent) Mimi's on to something, too. I have been blogging very little until just recently, and think I may back off again. That sort of addictive state is easier to fall into than most of us realize.

12/07/2008 9:18 PM  
Blogger Göran Koch-Swahne said...

Copy and paste, dear Charlotte!

And yes, I also think you are up to something...

12/09/2008 4:27 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Addiction can happen to anyone around anything: There's Gambler's Anonymous, Sexaholics, etc. I have often joked that I may start a 12 Step Group for those we call "Computer Geeks."

There's even a book about how addicts in recovery often replace their substance of choice with "Jeeesssuuuss."

So, yes, I think it's possible to become addicted to turmoil, although I think this is overstating the case in this instance.

The human mind in general and the addictive process in particular is much more complex than that.

At least part of the problem is a toxic, high testosterone level - which can happen no matter your gender.

Another is our American sports culture of winners and losers as applied to religious conquests.

That's just two things right off the top of my head and before my next cup of coffee.

Thanks for posting another provocative piece, Lisa. Much food for thought - including the distinct possibility of the hobby of Blogging turned addiction.

12/15/2008 7:42 AM  
Blogger Lindy said...

I don't have the kind of knowledge to comment intelligently on that but it sure is something to think about. Whatever's going on... well, I do think something's going on.

12/15/2008 6:14 PM  

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