Corrupted by Association
My Rhode Island Catholic column, this month, takes up the corrupting influence that associations and images can have on our thoughts:
We live in a society that’s much too quick to dismiss the significance of simple associations, taking on faith that the images that splash across television screens and flood public spaces couldn’t possibly lodge in the mind with any effect. But surely they do. A man upon meeting a woman will have different thoughts behind his eyes if she reminds him of a model whom he’s seen in a provocative pose than if she resembles an actress known for a role as a loving wife or if he’s seen her likeness on a prayer card.
One should hope that decorum and maturity will adjust mental images before they translate into behavior, and in this example, the woman will have the greatest effect on the man’s perception of her. Still, when vile associations pile upon each other, ever greater adjustments and contradictions will be necessary in order to dispel the collage that they create.