Scientifically and spiritually speaking, adulteration is the process of corruption, debasement, or making impure by the admixture of baser materials. This process works out in your life whenever you choose to grant inferior substances – be they people, thoughts or things – access to your mind, heart or life.
In consumer goods, adulterants are often used to cheapen the manufacture of a product. This occurs with cutting agents in illicit drugs as well as with food additives in the food supply. In either case, the original thing is degraded by virtue of the adulterant.
Adulteration can occur at the level of spirit, feeling, and thought, just as easily as it does in form (e.g. in consumer goods). Whenever you let things in that are inferior to the highest and finest of which you are capable, you partake in the adulteration of you. You cheapen and yourself; you exchange the satisfaction of dignity for petty and fleeting pleasure.
You need not engage outwardly, that is, commit the act, for the simple matter of looking with your heart upon that which is beneath your dignity invariably furthers the adulteration of you.
Consider the perfect innocence and guilelessness granted to each and every person on earth at birth. That innocence is more often lost to self-adulteration than it is by virtue of the corruptive influence of another. As soon as a young man or woman starts being who he thinks he should be or who he thinks others think he should be instead of sincerely and unapologetically being who he is, the adulteration begins. And the sad result is the loss of innocence, the corruption of being.
You cannot mix that which is lower into your world, mind, or most especially your heart without suffering a loss of dignity. You may conceal it for a time, you may convince others and quite possibly even yourself that the adulteration is justified and reasonable, but at a certain point the compromises you make will jeopardize that which you love most. And at the end of the day, that is all that matters.
The good news is that the corruption can be stopped and in many cases the ill effects can be reversed. Innocence can be restored and guilelessness can be reestablished by a true and deep repentance: a rethinking of your approach and a reconsideration of the level of that which you entertain in your heart, your mind, and your world. Dignity can be restored, for dignity is simply the full expression of the real you.