Monday, 08 February 2016

Calling a Spade a Spade

See this article for a similar idea and GYE's policy on language used on the forum and in articles.

by Dov (See all authors)

I'd like to take issue with the using of sanitized descriptions like, 'I am nichshol in shmiras einayim and zera levatola.' All my acting-out years before recovery, that was all I'd ever tell the Rabbis and therapists I went to for help ... and it never worked. While using labels can be favorable because it saves face by implying that the real issue is the sin itself, it doesn't work well for the person who chronically uses porn and masturbates, etc. For him or her, it actually sanitizes the problem beyond all recognition. Again: this is not the case for a normal yid who occasionally succumbs to the yetzer hora for lust and sex. But here I am referring to the person whose problem is chronic and progressive. The type who - like in my own case - lives a double life when they use their drug. Please let me clarify.

While we all care deeply about yir'as Shomayim and abhor sin, potential addicts who describe their problem that way invite an elephant in the room - or in Talmudic terms: 'ikkar choser min hasefer'. Anyone can see that those terms fall short in describing a fellow/gal who habitually searches for specific erotic images that produce powerful fantasies, obsesses about them over and over, and eventually ends the intense, painful adventure in masturbation or worse, over and over. And labeling our obsessing in it as 'struggling with it' or 'Teshuvah', only plays right into the game.

Yes, sin is there, addict or no! And sinning is a big, big problem. But 'sin' doesn't even come close to describe the vexing issue that this person is really caught in. Think of the cutter who refers to himself as "a person with a bleeding issue." He mislabels his problem in order to avoid admitting or facing the whole truth, to keep it as respectable as possible. Same with the lust addict who tells himself and others that his problem is the sin of 'zera levatala' and ignores the fact that it's the obsession to have sex with himself or others that is the real issue here, and zera levatal is merely a consequence. While sin is technically present, his focus on sin is far more comfortable than facing the fact that his real issue is more basic, more simple, and deeper. Human. A thing that any goy could potentially relate to. Derech Eretz isn't glitzy, at all. There is little, if any, glory in overcoming an issue that, at best, will only qualify him as sane and decent.

Finally, another example of the flip-side of the same problem is when well-meaning people refer to sober people as 'tzaddikim'. It's all part of the same misguided effort to avoid 'calling a spade a spade'. It won't work, in the end.

We only get what we pay for.