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Related Words, Beliefs, Background

Worldview Theme #33A: Servitude   Worldview Theme #33B: Addiction
absolute poverty -- when people are barely able to meet their minimum subsistence needs for food, water, clothing, shelter, livelihood, etc.

aggression, origin and types of -- an offensive action, either physical act, verbal assault, bodily attack, display of hostility, or threat. If directed against an individual, it can do physical or psychological damage, reduce fitness, and limit freedom. The attack can be unprovoked and seemingly senseless, or it can be motivated by frustration, fear, or a desire to induce fear -- perhaps even flight -- in others. If the aggression is verbal, nothing more than a strong desire to advance one’s ideas, position or interests may be behind it. Or its origin may be rooted in a special situation or circumstances. Some of these types of aggression have been named, including 1) altruistic aggression -- aggression to protect others, 2) displaced aggression -- aggression directed at a person other than the person directly responsible for the grievance, 3) maternal aggression -- aggression by a mother to protect her children, 4) territorial aggression -- aggression to protect one’s territory. 

authoritarian personality--describes one who rigidly conforms, is intolerant,  prefers living in an authoritarian system, and seeks servile acceptance of that authority and obedience.  Note that those actually in the positions of authority may not possess this type of personality.      

brainwashing -- a forcible indoctrination to persuade someone to give up certain beliefs, attitudes and practices in favor of those espoused by whomever is behind the brainwashing.

child labor--the use of under aged children for work in factories, mines, farms, armies, as prostitutes, etc. According to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, children should be "protected from economic exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the child's education, or to be harmful to the child's health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development."

cult -- those who believe in the dogma and practice the rituals set forth by a charismatic founder or promulgator of something that is supposedly worth believing in.

debt bondage--someone's labor is promised as payment for a loan. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the system brought many to the New World as indentured servants.  In its most notorious modern form, a child's labor is pledged by parents as payment for debts they contract.

dogmatic belief -- a belief that is firmly held based on the authority of others, but is actually incompatible with existing facts or based on faulty premises or reasoning.

domestic violence--occurs when one person in a relationship (or family) attempts to control or dominate--either physically or psychologically--the other (or another family member). The forms it can take range from continual emotionally abusive name-calling / putdowns to sexual / physical assault.

fatalism, poverty and responsibility -- There appears to be a link between the prevalence of belief in fatalism and living in poverty. It has been suggested that some poor people become resigned to their poverty and feel that no matter what they do, since they were destined to be poor, they can’t escape it. An important realization, that many who have worked with helping people get off welfare have had, is that escaping welfare / poverty begins with taking personal responsibility. This is consistent with believing people have free will and that confronting the issue of whether to take personal responsibility is unavoidable. On the other hand, a poor person who is fatalistic, when asked to take personal responsibility, might reply, “No one is ever free, so taking personal responsibility is meaningless”.

happiness and suffering -- Dostoevsky wrote, “Without suffering, happiness cannot be understood”. In equating Hell with “the suffering of being unable to love”, he again links these two concepts in an extreme sense, with love representing some extreme state of happiness, Hell a place of extreme suffering.

illiterate -- inability to read and write due to lack of education, either because of lack of opportunity or motivation, not because of physical or mental defects.

liberty principle--from moral theory, a principle that states that seeking liberty for oneself with someone else’s freedom in mind takes moral precedence over seeking such liberty that leads to the loss of liberty or freedom for someone else. 

master -- a derogatory term that refers to an individual or group -- historically often associated with a man or men -- who dominates and controls another person or group of people, and to some extent exercises authority that keeps those subject to it in a submissive state of servitude.

paternalism -- a system in which adults are treated in a fatherly way like children, with their conduct regulated and their needs met. Typically in exchange for this care, the authority expects loyalty and that those receiving the care will accept their relinquishing of personal control.

political prisoner--a person who is detained or imprisoned by a national government because his or her political views are in opposition to the government's, and accordingly the person is viewed as a threat.  Sometimes there will be no legal basis for the imprisonment, others times the government will fabricate incriminating evidence and use it to justify its action. While many famous people have been political prisoners, countless others have died anonymously under such confinement.  Amnesty International maintains lists of political prisoners and for a small number,  works for their release.

prisoner--a person deprived of liberty and confined to a prison, usually for violating the law

prostitution, forced--a form of sexual slavery in which someone is forced into working as a prostitute.  Poor women in developing countries are often required by extreme poverty to sell their bodies, or lured into the sex trade by false promises (sometimes of a good job in an affluent country) and are unable to escape.

servitude -- the general lack of liberty to do as one pleases

slave morality— according to Nietzsche it values “qualities which serve to alleviate the existence of sufferers,” including the desire for freedom, being useful, reticent, good natured and easily hoodwinked.  He blasted Christian meekness, its “will to perish” and hope for a better life in the beyond, and felt traditional religions were “props to the slave morality.”

slavery--describes the status of certain people who have been stripped of the basic human right of freedom of movement, denied certain liberties, and are sometimes subjected to degrading and / or exhausting work.  In being held against their will, they are typically considered (by their captors) to be the property of other individuals.  While many western governments outlawed the institution in the nineteenth century, it continues both within and outside the law throughout the world.  By some estimates, worldwide millions of people (mostly children) live in conditions that essentially represent slavery. 

solitary confinement--a form of imprisonment, generally reserved for prisoners who pose the greatest threat to society, in which the prisoner is denied contact with other people.  Proponents point out that such confinement gives society additional protection from these dangerous individuals; critics label it as "cruel and unusual punishment" (outlawed by the eighth amendment to US Constitution) given the strain that associated sensory deprivation can put on mental health. 


addiction and creativity -- In her book, Witness to the Fire -- Creativity and the Veil of Addiction, Linda Leonard argues that some parallel process (not a cause and effect relationship) occurs in the heads of both addicts and creative people like writers, artists, etc. About them she writes, “Both descend into chaos, into the unknown world of the unconscious. Both are fascinated by what they find there. Both encounter pain, death, and suffering. But the addict is pulled down, often without choice...the creative person chooses to go down into the unknown realm...Some creative artists descend with the help of drugs or alcohol and continue to create. Some find they must give up their addictions in order to create”

addiction--a difficult to define term that generally connects with a person being out of control and unable to stop engaging in some activity known to be harmful but instead continuing to compulsively pursue it.  Some addictions can be traced to the physiological and / or psychological dependence on particular chemical substances--such as drugs, alcohol, or foods--which produce a craving for the substance. Others are connected with certain behaviors that involve rewards--such as gambling, sex, and shopping. Both involve withdrawal symptoms--continued craving, anxiety, irritability, and depression-- when the substance or opportunity to engage in the pleasurable behavior is unavailable.  In either case, it seems that an addicted person's brain fails to successfully send a "stop" signal.

alcoholism -- a dependence on alcohol that represents a widespread addictive disorder. It is estimated that about 2.5% of the American adult population are seriously alcohol dependent, with another roughly 3.5% nearly so. Alcohol dependence begins with a social drinker developing a tolerance so that more and more alcohol is needed before intoxicating effects are evident. It progresses in stages, with the final stage often involving little attention paid to physical appearance, inability to control emotions, inability to hold a job, and aggressive behavior. Efforts to stop drinking typically bring withdrawal symptoms including severe shaking, convulsions, and delirious hallucinations. Serious long-term physical effects include liver damage, peptic ulcers, and gastritis.

alcohol or drug abuse treatment programs -- many of these programs include 1) treatment to help people physiologically deal with withdrawal, 2) arranging for fellow recovering addicts or substance abusers to provide each other with mutual encouragement and emotional support, and 3) counseling that typically involves lots of “tough love”.

drug dependence -- when an individual has a strong, compelling desire to continue taking some drug. It has both physical and psychological aspects.

drugs and the brain -- drugs that affect the human nervous system or brain typically work by promoting or inhibiting the production of neurotransmitters or by blocking the associated receptor sites. Cocaine effectively increases dopamine by blocking a mechanism that gets rid of it; LSD stimulates serotonin production; morphine and heroin fit into the receptors there to take up endorphins and enkaphelins--the brain's natural opiates.

gambling, pathological -- the Association for Psychological Science defines this gambling addiction as recurring, persisting behavior “that disrupts personal, family, or vocational pursuits.” It represents a higher level of addiction than mere “problem gambling”. It is estimated that about 1.2% of the American adult population are pathological gamblers, and another 2.8% are problem gamblers..

instant gratification -- the thrill that comes when you immediately get a desired something. Driving this is a childish “I want that now!” force. For some, this force is powerful enough to overcome the opposing force: a rational, restraining adult attitude that questions whether the desired something is really needed and whether there is money to pay for it.

neuron-- the specialized conducting cells of the brain, nerves and spinal cord--they consist of a cell body, dendrites, and an axon.

neurotransmitters--short-lived chemicals released by one neuron and received at a receptor site of a second neuron: an event which triggers a nerve impulse. They relay, amplify, and modulate signals between neurons--often leading to simultaneous activity in millions of such interconnected cells.  While a few are chemically simple, the rest are typically peptides, amino acids, or monoamines (including dopamine, serotonin, and melatonin.)   

nicotine -- a poisonous and addictive substance that those who smoke and use tobacco products subject their bodies to. It is a stimulant with properties similar to cocaine and heroin. It increases dopamine levels in the “reward circuits” of the brain. Thus from a biochemical point of view people keep smoking to maintain high dopamine levels -- although smokers themselves would refer to associated feelings of pleasure. Efforts to stop smoking bring withdrawal symptoms including headaches, anxiety, irritability, anxiety, mental disturbances and sleep disruption. The symptoms peak two to three days after the last cigarette, and are completely gone after two to six weeks.

obsession -- an idea, feeling or emotion that persistently haunts or disturbs one’s consciousness and leads to what becomes, either through its repetition or otherwise, inappropriate, unreasonable behavior. Many obsessions are beyond willful control, even with the recognition of their inappropriateness.

personal responsibility, accepting -- Before an individual can overcome some personal difficulty or solve a personal problem, he or she needs to acknowledge that the difficulty or problem exists, by saying something like, “This problem is mine and I must solve it”. In this context, taking personal responsibility means that you don’t ignore difficulties or problems, expect others to solve them for you, or shift the blame to others. In a family or social context, taking personal responsibility can mean voluntarily limiting your choices or restraining yourself for the good of the family, tribe, village, community or whatever. Richard Critchfield refers to this as “the freedom to choose self responsibility”.

prisoners of consumerism-- a derogatory term referring to those who have unthinkingly succumbed to the all pervasive advertising messages of multinational corporations and adopted a consumerist lifestyle based on wanting, valuing, and continually spending money on things that they don’t really need.

pusher -- a derogatory term referring to someone who consciously makes an effort to hook someone on an addictive product or behavior -- including a consumerist lifestyle. With respect to this latter possibility, one can argue that the most massive pusher effort in history involves the nearly impossible to escape advertising messages of multinational corporations trying to hook individuals on wanting and continually spending money on things that they don’t really need.



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