Created for Connection
We are all created for connection. In terms of being human, we are unique in all of Creation. You and I were created in the image or the likeness of our creator. We, therefore, have attributes that distinguish us from any other species. One of the most important is our use of language to communicate. Oh, sure, other creatures communicate and many use sounds. Their use of sounds to communicate may be essential to their safety and may mean the difference between life and death.
For people, the ability to communicate with people is integral to our ability to connect. Deficits in communication, for a variety of reasons, can mean that we are alone, even in a crowd. This lack of connection puts us at risk, just as in the animal kingdom. We may appear to be alive in a group, but if we don’t have strong emotional bonds, we might as well be a lone gazelle at the far edge of the herd. Ready predators await. Our risks include addiction, mental ill health, and a cascade of other heath and wellness problems.
The Scripture tells us that “sin lies at the door of your heart, and its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.” What is the sin? Sin has been defined as a transgression against divine law. Whoah! Before you tune out, give me just a minute more.
In my mind, Divine law encompasses all of what we think of as the whole order of the universe. In other words, every true and good law that exists. So, gravity would be under that umbrella. As sure as gravity is, the laws of lift and thrust can be employed to transgress the true law of gravity. Gravity never stopped, but we can fly from Boston to Bangkok.
Because of the original transgression in the Garden of Eden, we have the inverse of the good and perfect laws that were only designed for our good. For example, the natural law of nurture that dictates parents care for their young can be seen throughout nature. This law operates by many factors, chemical, emotional, revelatory, instinctual, and educational or of a sense of duty. The law of nurture is transgressed when the law of free will and self-gratification is employed. We see this in a myriad of scenarios from abortion to abuses of all kinds.
So, when we were created, we were given free will as one of the divine laws. You can believe or not. That is our choice, as it is our choice to believe every other law. However, if you don’t believe in gravity, please test it with a rock or a stick and not by jumping off the edge of a cliff. One of the ways our Creator communicates with us is through the natural world and all of the laws of nature. He is a God of order. The world is in a constant battle for chaos because of sin, the transgression of the divine law.
Chaos causes connections to break. When we cannot connect to people and develop strong bonds, chaos is perpetuated. Think about a time when you were betrayed. Not the why of it, but how it felt. How about a time when someone spread horrible gossip about you? What was it like during a break up with a significant person? Or think of a time when someone you should have been able to trust really hurt you. You probably felt confused. You might have had difficulty making decisions. Maybe you tried to comfort yourself with something else or someone else. In a way, you might have tried to replace the connection.
We need strong bonds of connection with people. It is the law of connection. If we don’t have them, we could be in danger of trying to connect with the wrong things or worse, we try to dull the sensation of the need using drugs or alcohol.
Let’s look at some science. Psychology Today had an article explaining this. In short, Robert Weiss LCSW, CSAT-S explained that Canadian psychologist Bruce Alexander recreated a prior experiment with a few tweaks. The first experiment showed rats overdosed on cocaine and thus we were told it was because of chemical hooks, it is a disease and there’s not only no cure, but you cannot control it. It was a veritable boon for the drug companies. Mr. Alexander decided the experiment was flawed. The rats were taken out of their natural state -transgressing natural law. He redid the experiment in a Rat Park. More like their natural state, where they had food, friends, and fun. WHahla! The rats had no overdoses and a small fraction of them even used the drugs.
Johann Hari wrote about his studies in Chasing the scream. Examining the history of what society has thought about addiction. From believing it is a corruption of character to it is a chemical disease, to a more complex look at what causes addiction. His conclusion is that the opposite of addiction is not sobriety. The opposite of addiction is connection.
Portugal decriminalized drugs in 2001. The put numerous educational and social programs in place at the same time. I’m sure they’ve been refined again and again too. The good news is that drug use is down. Connections are up. Family and community programs have revised the bonds between people.
It would seem that we need a new way of looking at the problem of drug addiction in our country too. We have a desperate need to connect to people. If that need isn’t being met, drugs can only mask the need and never actually fill it. If you love an addict, keep loving them. Perhaps, a change in policy could transfer the money used to cage and isolate people to programs that integrate them back into our community. Rather than making them felons, let’s develop their unique gifts and talents so they can connect with others in meaningful ways.
Please, click the links for a wider view.
Alexander, B. K., Beyerstein, B. L., Hadaway, P. F., & Coambs, R. B. (1981). Effect of early and later colony housing on oral ingestion of morphine in rats. Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior, 15(4), 571-576.