The indelible pictures of history coming in for this one. Who doesn’t remember the crude drawn cartoon in their history book about Pavlov’s dog? One of the first pillars of psychology and probably in the textbook of every American student growing up (there may be periods of time that has ceased, one of you young buckeroos let me know!). The science started simple enough. Dog sees food, dog salivates, dog eats. What surprised our friend Ivan was the associations beyond the food. The dog began salivating seeing the glorious lab assistant walking in the room, food or not. This is known as Pavlovian Conditioning…Dr. Google brought this up first so I wanted to quote a small section to ‘buttress my answer’ as one of my college professors used to opine.
“During the 1890’s Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov was looking at salivation in dogs in response to being fed, when he noticed that his dogs would begin to salivate whenever he entered the room, even when he was not bringing them food. At first this was something of a nuisance (not to mention messy!).
Pavlov (1902) started from the idea that there are some things that a dog does not need to learn. For example, dogs don’t learn to salivate whenever they see food. This reflex is ‘hard-wired’ into the dog. In behaviorist terms, it is an unconditioned response.” Later it says “However, when Pavlov discovered that any object or event which the dogs learned to associate with food (such as the lab assistant) would trigger the same response, he realized that he had made an important scientific discovery…” (McLeod, S.A. (2013). Pavlov’s dogs. Retrieved from www.simplypsychology.org/pavlov.html).
Observation of people lately has me arriving at some connections to Ivan’s discovery. This is going to be a strange 3-way fork in the road here. What else would you call a fork with Pavlov, Godly renewal, and Halloween together? Hey, it’s Halloween this week, why not something with Truth and some strange parallels? We have a culture that is obsessed with dark matter. You can see it this time of year obviously, but it has spilled over heavily into video games, movies, music, and every form of entertainment. What is generally overlooked here is that most everything in the world has spiritual ramifications to it. A short journey of these three is next, but the question is…WHO is making you salivate?
Pavlovian Conditioning is a spiritual parallel to me. It could mirror what the Bible calls ‘the world, the flesh, and the devil.’ All of us face the challenge of becoming conditioned in our lives. If you talk to someone who grew up abused for instance: they can speak to the conditioning, control, and just evil that took place. I needed an extreme example to make the point. God knew the world we were going to face (yes, even these modern times). It was why He sent Jesus to help us against the conditioning of this world. Like it or not, we are living down here with God’s enemy. It is where he landed when kicked out of heaven! All the troubles of the entire planet boil down to ‘conditioning’. Consider a serial killer or any extremist…a lot of things happened in that person’s life to lead them there. A more subtle form of conditioning? Simply put…the news!! Everyday a barrage of bad people, bad things, and evil around the world through corruption, etc. It wears down our senses and conditions us to lower standards.
The question I asked myself in chewing on this topic is: What is the good opposite of this conditioning to me as a believer in Christ? The opposite to me in the kingdom of God is renewal. The crux of renewal in the Bible is renewing of the mind. The mind is the gateway to the heart and spirit of a man. It is where ALL battles are won and lost. God and the enemy are fighting over control for your soul, but it starts in the mind. Temptation does not start in your soul, but in your mind. How we think and what we allow ourselves to dwell on mentally shape us (dare I say condition?). I won’t be able to do a whole journey here on renewal, just showing that it is the battle armor to put on against the influences of your mind. I know for me, the only way I am here and in my right mind in God is because of His helping me. I had to surrender a lot (well, everything) of my own understanding and will to receive this (and the battle rages). I know this is a whopin’ huge subject that is only scratched here.
You are probably perplexed to the tie in with Halloween of all things. Halloween is the representation of things dark and scary in our culture. It does have spiritual ties that are not in any way good. I do believe that allowing kids to do simply trick or treat stuff is not a big deal. There are those who practice anti-God spiritual stuff. It comes in various forms. Many from this vantage point believe they are ‘free’ from religion, but in fact are being conditioned by the world. I do believe that people are spiritually wired and many use that in a non-Christian way. I know people who are believers in Christ now who USED to be that way. They would sense spiritual things when they were kids all the time. If you read about Jesus and the man with the legions of demons, you see He helped him get free from everything that was not God. So there is hope for those who are spiritually wired and seeking something good from God!
Sometimes there are just many rabbits for the trail! This could be a very involved subject of many pages. Most of my writings I don’t want that! If people can’t last more than 6 minutes on a tv show they like without distraction, how long can they read LOL??!! My desire is for people to question what is conditioning them in their lives. If we are the dogs in the experiment, WHO do you want to be your Pavlov? Jesus said “I am the way, the Truth, and the life”. I am here to say that is good enough for me!