Manipulation or Mind Control

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image from pixabay.com

 

 

Manipulation –  control or influence (a person or situation) cleverly, unfairly, or unscrupulously.  www.google.com/webhp?hl=en#hl=en&q=define+Manipulation

Mind control (also known as brainwashing, re-education, brainsweeping, coercive persuasion, thought control, or thought revision) is a controversial pseudo-scientific theory that human subjects can be indoctrinated in a way that causes “an impairment of autonomy, an inability to think independently, and a disruption of thought…” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mind_control

MANIPULATION is operational

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image from pixabay.com

Advertising in all its forms is omnipresent here in the United States; in fact around the world in many if not most countries. This part of our reality can be viewed as a necessary specter because though a nuisance businesses need to advertise in order to function and compete – new and worthy products and services are often revealed in this way.  When does manipulation become mind control?

Brainwashing or mind control . . . etc.

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image from pixabay.com

Is it real?  Science Fiction demonstrates what this concept could be if it becomes irrefutable yet there are skeptics and experts that resist accepting even the possibility.  OK I am not an expert; I need to lean on the literature experts present.  Yet, when I review the research published about how our human brains work I suspect the science fiction writers have raised important questions about the possibility of actual mind control.

image from pixabay.com
image from pixabay.com

Our Brain is more than a Super Computer

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image from pixabay.com

We store memories and information not in a static state as a computer but rather in a dynamic state.  The value of knowing this alerts us that our memories are not infallible and can be altered.  Whether or not external forces can modify our minds substantially or not may be debatable but, it seems to me the more willing we are to accept change and, the longer we are exposed to what affects change within our brain, I believe the more likely changes will occur.  How, parents influence their children, schools facilitate learning, the military trains and organizations guide their employees are all dependent on knowing how our brain works.  The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) series “The Brain – The Story of You” and the companion book written by Dr. David Eagleman presents an excellent snap shot of where science is today concerning understanding our human brain. I recommend both highly.  It may be just a matter of time before true and complete Mind Control is indisputably real.Our Brain is more than a Super Computer

Can the INTENTION justify the end result

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image from pixabay.com

Last week I wrote about “The Greater Good” and the danger of the concept when its definition is changed or is subject to change; the thoughts about this subject can lead one to consider implementing a perceived “good thing” by any means possible.  Who decides what will offer the most good to whom and how many?  The method of accomplishing the goal can be negative for some. Shouldn’t that cancel its implementation.  Many of us probably heard a parent say, “I am doing this for your own good.”  This most likely was true.  As a citizen of a complex and often devious world we are reluctant to be so easily convinced by a political leader who espouses plans in a similar fashion. So what are we to consider when we plot a course for our life?

We are FINITE and subject to limitations

As a follower of Jesus Christ my Lord and I tend not to ‘lean on my understanding’ but rather trust GOD’s Word as a guide for my life.  If studying and applying lessons learned from the Holy Bible manipulate me I do believe it is for my good and for the good of all.

image from pixabay.com
image from pixabay.com

Excerpts from the Holy Bible (ESV)*:

Proverbs 22:6 ESV

 Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

John 14:26 ESV

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

2 Timothy 1:7 ESV

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

*Use of ESV Bible verses: https://www.crossway.org/support/esv-bible-permissions/

Population Control

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image from pixabay.com

 

Population Control is an emotionally charged subject that often evokes strong emotion when debated.

Reasons for this are manifold: Religious, tribal, economic, fear, hate, historical, reprisals, political, limited or lack of resources, selfish, arrogant, criminal, misguided . . . or a combination of factors. Contributing factors that have the potential to be equivalent to population control could be, poor or sparse health care, easy access to weapons, easy access to alcohol and drugs, the availability of abortion on demand, a limited or substandard food supply: just some of the factors to consider potential population control mechanisms.

 For this reason I will not express the rationale for approving or disapproving theoretical speculation: investigative research, statistical analysis, and other objective methods would surely be needed before a definitive conclusion with remedies be declared.

No matter why or how a particular population of humans may or may not be controlled is not the focus here.

The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. "On the Pike, World's Fair, St. Louis." New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed April 19, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e0-938a-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “On the Pike, World’s Fair, St. Louis.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed April 19, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e0-938a-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

 

 

The point of my blog post is two-fold: 1) examine facts and fallacies about human population growth, and 2) consider what may be an equivalent population control intended or not.  When people are motivated by a belief about a growing population that is negative, they may quickly descend into a position favoring population control with no logical basis for it.  If conscious efforts fall short, subconscious effects on decisions may be manifested unintentionally or even worse, by an agenda conceived and implemented in subterfuge intentionally.

Is over population on a global scale a myth or real threat to humanity?

image from pixabay.com
image from pixabay.com

Every time people predict that we will run out of resources or food human ingenuity finds solutions to the challenge.  I believe there is enough food and natural resources wasted even now, that if this wastefulness was remedied all the people of the world could be adequately supplied.   Renewable resources, renewable energy, increased production efficiency, less planned obsolescence, better urban and suburban planning and, preservation of natural habitat for all living creatures seems possible along with greater efficiency in use and manufacturing.  Then too, there is the ultimate probability humans will become a space-faring race of sentient beings in the not too distant future – thus opening new possible homes and resources for people for some time.

I have a saying, “Too many people too close together equals too many problems and too many laws.”

Yet even this picture of growing populations in finite spaces is a fallacy, we have room for people: There are vast areas where people can live: marginal lands improved my technology, innovative methods that allow people and wildlife to coexist sharing space and new cost-effective energy sources that encourage new communities.  New communities in areas with new opportunities for gainful employment hitherto too remote and hard to supply with required energy via conventional sources.  

image from pixabay.com
image from pixabay.com

The image of a crowded inner cities where crime, substandard living conditions and undesirable habitat are prevalent, need not be extant.  The conditions that create the circumstances for all these perceived negatives endured by people, may be the result of people seeking to live in substandard conditions. The people who live in these places like and create the situation that they live in – that often is the perception held by outsiders I believe.  The converse idea that the situation creates the stereotypical people who populate the area in question is closer to reality.   A vicious cycle feeding on itself: children are negatively affected while maturing and living in such an area and, they grow up believing there is where they belong thus sustaining the substandard area.  Why? Because this is expected and, it seems there is insufficient interest and effort devoted to breaking the negative pattern.  Another way to picture it: consider what happens when people are herded into – or confined to – places by suppressed economic conditions and are forced into where substandard conditions already beginning to take hold are thus overcrowding makes things worse.  This is likely to accommodate the negative view and make the feared results a continuous reality.  Social change from negatives to positives most probably is a generational phenomenon once the cycle sets in; think carefully, did a negative substandard milieu get that way overnight?  Not likely, so it will not be remedied overnight either.  It will take education, financial help and hard work to turn urban blight into prosperity.

What laws are passed or not passed, behavior of authorities, business practices or even qualifications for societal benefits may all serve a population control agenda.

These practices if governed by blind adherence to tradition or are linked to the subconscious negative view of the creators and not recognized as such.  The status quo may be fiercely defended and if negative effects are demonstrated but judged to not be an intentional attempt to control the population growth then what?  What about the identified population can it really be the natural outcome of the culture of the population in question? Perhaps some may say the effect on a segment of a population that may be negatively affected from the effects of the way their own political overseers carry out their governance and not any external effect.

Humans are not always truthful and one negative human trait that illustrates this well is the art of deception; it can also include self-deception.  Think hard and carefully about what you think you know and how you came to know it concerning “The Bad Side of Town”.  You may realize short of organized genocide the methods and effects may be very subtle.  The control of a particular minority, race or class of people is not easily exposed because it may be an expected part of contemporary life but not recognized as such.

Let me get to the major goal of this post: the following paragraph will introduce ideas worth considering in view of the concept of population control.

The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. "Busy Market Street of the City of the Golden Gate, San Francisco, California." New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed April 22, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e0-4343-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “Busy Market Street of the City of the Golden Gate, San Francisco, California.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed April 22, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e0-4343-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

Whether or not population control is actually a part of our society here in The United States of America, it should be considered a possibility.  It should be considered a possibility because the socioeconomic and equality problems recognized by even a casual observer may be correctable.  In a land so filled with wealth, talent and passion it is hard to accept that nothing can change the situation of the poor living here.  Young people please study and research the economically challenged of America.  See if you can apply new ideas for change on old persistent problems that keep so many of our fellow citizen from enjoying a better life.  People like these remain on the economic sideline and have not had their fair share of the American Dream.

Getting to the another major point:

Deep inside our minds may lurk ancient assumptions and practices that once helped us survive and thrive.  We are hardwired to see faces, recognize differences, quickly determine friend or foe.   I believe other latent ancient survival mechanisms probably exist as well.  What was out of the ordinary could represent a threat so these mechanisms are understandable.  Strangers may well have had clever tactics to overwhelm and conquer us in the distant past.  Anomalous individuals born into our midst may have represented new unacceptable burdens, because they became non contributors, or disrupted the normal flow of peace and tranquility.  Maybe they had to be eliminated in order for the group to survive.  If resources grew short it may have led to warfare where the victor survived and the vanquished perished.  The responses to these conditions may be in our genes: suppressed perhaps, but able to influence us in subtle ways even now.  We as intelligent creatures have the ability to discover this and do something about it.  We do not have to act as if we are condemned to repeat the same old mistakes of our past.  We can and must change.

image from pixabay.com
image from pixabay.com

When we truly see all our fellow homo sapiens as family we will alter any destructive practice or impulse that emerges in us (of this I am sure).

If a population is perpetrating acts of violence upon their neighbors we can act to engage the evil and bring it to an end.  If people are suffering and dying we can provide medical care to save them.  If ignorance is limiting people to substandard wages and a low standard of living, we can educate them.  If they live in horrible conditions, do not have safe water or sufficient food we can change that.  If they are naked and cold we can give the clothing and shelter that is warm.  If you study children and follow them as they grow to become adults you may discover much of the good they could have offered our society, was lost somewhere along the way.  The very few people who represent stubborn problems can more easily be addressed in youth, before they become uncontrollable adults who seem to repeat evil acts perpetually.

When we do not address these challenges  we may inadvertently be imposing a form of population control upon some of our people.

As a follower of Jesus Christ I believe the wisdom for our times is easily found in the Bible; all you have to do is accept it.

Excerpts from the Holy Bible:

      1. Genesis 1:28 ESV

And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

      1. Psalm 127:3 ESV

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.

      1. Matthew 7:12 ESV

So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

https://www.crossway.org/support/esv-bible-permissions/

What is Wealth Anyway?

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from pixabay.com

Wealth – *abundance of valuable material possessions or resources

*[http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wealth]

This post is a little different from most of my previous posts. How is it different you wonder?  It is about the current world order and the distribution of wealth.  Wait: it is not a manifesto of a radical social point of view; not about an ideology; not a litany of complaints. First I shall briefly write about the world condition and then emphasize speculation concerning current events as I perceive them. In conclusion I shall link conditions with wisdom from what I have learned and now believe. Let me begin.

Humans have discovered many things about our world that has contributed to the success of our species.

from pixabay.com
from pixabay.com

Science, technology, ability to anticipate, plan, test and pass on knowledge and skills have made life better for many of us but, not for all of us. The reality is, we have never conquered that trait of human nature that temps us to indulge in evil for personal reasons especially in order to gain riches and power.  It infiltrates even the best milieu and as our population increased worldwide so does the negative fruit from this self-serving tendency.  Fortunately today our collective memory about the two world wars of the last century has confined this manifestation of evil to a relatively  small-scale and not on the large-scale infestation of the worst kind that history reveals.  Of course if you are living in one of the hot spots where evil rules your world view surely must be very negative; this is understandable.

The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. "View in the Five Points." New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed April 17, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e0-1b4c-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “View in the Five Points.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed April 17, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e0-1b4c-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

Even from a secular frame of reference people do not expect perfection in this world.

Yes we seem to have done better in many ways than what history reveals about past generations.

The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. "A destitute family, Ozark Mountains area, [Arkansas]" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed April 17, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/629acaf0-fc0c-0132-ee40-58d385a7b928
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “A destitute family, Ozark Mountains area, [Arkansas]” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed April 17, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/629acaf0-fc0c-0132-ee40-58d385a7b928
If you do study history you probably have recognized, like many things we observe, the good and bad times are cyclical.  Political, social and even cultural aspects are greatly affected by this cycle of ups and downs good and bad times.  The part of the cycle when good prevails followed by the part of the cycle when evil prevails.  This pattern seems to continue ad infinitum.  One old nemesis of peace and tranquility is a condition that arises whenever the disparity between rich and poor reaches a critical breaking point.  When a population arrives at such a point drastic things usually happen:  mass immigration, civil unrest, revolts and wars.  Does that seem like a familiar theme to you?

from pixabay.com
from pixabay.com
from pixabay.com
from pixabay.com

Today some sources claim that the gap between the wealthy people of the world and the poor people of the world is greater than ever.

Music Division, The New York Public Library. "The Piccadilly Johnny with the little glass eye" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed April 17, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47de-1630-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
Music Division, The New York Public Library. “The Piccadilly Johnny with the little glass eye” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed April 17, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47de-1630-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

I can believe this.  I see in the news everyday indications of clashes caused by desperate people on the move in search of a better life.  The hopeless people flee anarchy, radical ideology and war.  Unfortunately some stay and turn to more radical measures themselves, by adopting barbaric and brutal behavior believing it is their only choice.  What is worse, people with criminal tendencies see this manifestation of evil masking as religious or political expression as an opportunity to validate their barbaric behavior.

from pixabay.com
from pixabay.com

Some adopt an ideology inspired by hate and fueled by anger because they are angry and they do hate; even if they have cause, their action only worsen situations that are already horrible.  At the end of this post I will summarize the direction I suspect our

The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. "Destitute Ozark resident, Arkansas" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed April 17, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/5f12b7f0-fc0c-0132-ccb6-58d385a7b928
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “Destitute Ozark resident, Arkansas” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed April 17, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/5f12b7f0-fc0c-0132-ccb6-58d385a7b928

social reality will continue to be moving toward if the current state of human affairs continues unchallenged and unabated, but first I want to write about what may help alter these negative social forces and what may be a possible solution.

Like it on not a redistribution of wealth will always occur and seek a happy medium.

from pixabay.com
from pixabay.com

In physics we learn that equilibrium will occur when two different things representing opposites, like hot and cold, dense and sparse, or fresh and salty water will eventually arrive at a point when both modify each other and neutralize the disparity.  The second law of thermodynamics.  Wait, are not humans infinitely more complex than a gas or a fluid?  True.  If we examine extreme differences between groups of people with opposing positions we may note some similarities from their solutions resembling the basic examples above in some cases, and less predictable very different results in others : 1) Human behavior is unlikely to end a point of contention with all the individuals agreeing completely, instead there will be a distribution of agreement and disagreement along a familiar pattern  – introducing the famous “bell curve”,

from pixabay.com
from pixabay.com

2) It only takes a small percent of a population to disrupt a solution, increase costs or foment discontent, 3) A total diffusion of any possessions, freedom, privileges or power may be unnecessary.  Not many individuals desire solutions that guarantee they will be allowed to gain in excess.  This is true especially if the extra benefits place greater demands on them who take possession of them.  In other words, a fair distribution of material gain, freedom, power and privilege spread throughout a population would satisfy the majority of the people involved.  Some would like more power and more wealth but others would not want the added responsibility that would go with it.  Whatever solution is adopted it would require periodic evaluation, mechanisms for adjustment and remedies for failures.  The group as a whole would need safeguards: methods to deal with disrupters, law breakers and abusers.

How is a more equitable world achieved?

from pixabay.com
from pixabay.com

There are many ways to redistribute wealth: a social mechanism such as taxation, charity, welfare, land reform, monetary policies, confiscations or more drastic measures like warfare, immigration, and lawless behavior on a large-scale.  If people want peace then they must address the problem equitably before evil harnesses the unsettled masses and we all move toward anarchy, barbarism and a return to “The Law of the Jungle.” An immigrant may send money home; a nation may provide aid to a suffering neighbor country; the wealthier societies may invest money and resources where there is a need – a need to cultivate a higher standard of living for a people.  In my opinion a more equitable world can be achieved but whether it will be a peaceful or violent transition remains an open question; an answer to a question that all people alive today have a vested interest in finding a peaceful answer to.

from pixabay.com
from pixabay.com

What if the gap between rich and poor continues or increases?

from pixabay.com
from pixabay.com

I have read science fiction literature and watched films that portray a future for humanity that is bleak, in chaos and violent.  Walled or fenced cities where “The Haves” isolate themselves from the “Have-Nots”; within the cities luxury is common and excesses abound; beyond the perimeter where the poor masses struggle to survive it is a “dog eat dog” existence ruled by cruel and violent people.  The status quo one day is totally upset when the security zones are breached and the deprived run amok venting frustration and hatred by attacking all who have “the good life” until an ugly equilibrium is established and a horrible dystopia is the reality for all people.

 

from pixabay.com
from pixabay.com

As a follower of Jesus Christ I believe the Holy Bible provides insight and the wisdom to achieve this goal.

*Excerpts from The Holy Bible:

      1. Genesis 4:8-10 ESV

Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?” And the Lord said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground.

      1. 1 John 3:17-18 ESV

But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

      1. Proverbs 14:31 ESV

Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors him.

      1. Psalm 82:3-4 ESV

Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”

      1. Proverbs 29:7 ESV

A righteous man knows the rights of the poor; a wicked man does not understand such knowledge.

      1. Mark 14:7 ESV

For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them. . . .

*Use of ESV Bible verses: https://www.crossway.org/support/esv-bible-permissions/

Do you Have the Right to Offend?

From Pixabay.com
From Pixabay.com

Is your right to offend more important than your right not to be offended?  Which right promotes love best?

From Pixabay.com
From Pixabay.com

In our good old United States of America we hear the saying, “By rights I can do this” or ” To do ______ (fill in the blank) it is my right.”  Sometimes I think too many people think almost anything is their right to do, have or say; can that really be true?  The “Bill of Rights” (first ten amendments to our constitution) are the real foundation of our rights by law and of course and subsequently approved amendments or related laws passed and tested by our true and bonafide government.  This article is focused on the Fourth Article in particularThe Freedom of Speech, and of the Press . . . . .

You may have the right to say it or print it, but should you?

Scandal Music Division, The New York Public Library. "Argentina" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 29, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/8e1ec306-722f-facb-e040-e00a180678ae
Scandal
Music Division, The New York Public Library. “Argentina” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 29, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/8e1ec306-722f-facb-e040-e00a180678ae

Truth is important.  If a crime has been committed we need to know exactly what has happened

Slapping the Mouth for Telling Lies The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Art & Architecture Collection, The New York Public Library. "Slapping the mouth for telling lies." New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 29, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e2-c58a-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
Slapping the Mouth for Telling Lies
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Art & Architecture Collection, The New York Public Library. “Slapping the mouth for telling lies.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 29, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e2-c58a-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

in order to capture and bring to justice the perpetrator or perpetrators.  Lies published widely or pronounced as truth in an open forum can be deemed damaging and the people who spread the disinformation can be subject to a libel suit.  My focus today is on speech and publication that falls into a huge grey area: short of libel and what is not prohibited by any law.    Yet as a Nation founded on Christian principles from which we have learned, we should do things with the spirit of love: is this not the higher standard?  Need something be said that inflicts verbal harm with nothing to demonstrate the utterance has a redeeming quality (or the result does not demonstrate a redeeming quality)?  Is it not true that some emotionally sensitive truth can be stated with respect and care and, not intentionally said to inflict emotional harm?

The better way to achieve communication without deliberate intent to offend  is when it is said with civility and in the spirit of Christian Love.

From Pixabay.com
From Pixabay.com

For me and my Brothers and Sisters in Christ we strive to be obedient to the guidelines we discover in The Holy Bible.  In studying  scripture we learn the power of the words spoken by a human tongue that can destroy a person, risk creating hatred and disrupt harmony among all the people involved.  Below you will find some of the references from The Holy Bible that warn about falsehood and teach, or encourage, the use of loving speech (and by logical extension, this includes the printed word as well).  It sometimes seems that in these times Christians must take care not to offend some people in our society yet, some people seem to have free rein to offend Christians. Thanks.

Selected Biblical Excerpts*:

      1. James 3:8 ESV

But no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

      1. Proverbs 29:11 ESV

      2. A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.

      3. Romans 12:18 ESV

If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.

      1. 2 Peter 3:3 ESVfree reign

Knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires.

      1. James 1:26 ESV

If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.

      1. Proverbs 18:21 ESV

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.

      1. James 3:9-10 ESVdays it seem

With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.

*Use of ESV Bible verses: https://www.crossway.org/support/esv-bible-permissions/

Relationship not Religion

 

Since “The Fall” in the “Garden of Eden” humans have sought to reach God to regain the lost relationship

 

Adam and Eve Expelled Manuscripts and Archives Division, The New York Public Library. "Full-page miniature of the expulsion from Paradise." New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 24, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47da-e6b1-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
Adam and Eve Expelled
Manuscripts and Archives Division, The New York Public Library. “Full-page miniature of the expulsion from Paradise.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 24, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47da-e6b1-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

Many people on this planet accept, the origin of humanity as described in Genesis found in the Pentateuch, the original sin and the banishment from “The Garden of Eden.”  Yet even many people who do not know about this story seem to instinctively seek God if not a god.  There are atheists in the world and what this writing is about probably will not be of interest to them; agnostics on the other hand may be stirred, even transformed into seekers.

Humans invented religion in hope of reconnecting or connecting with God.

Couple: Religion The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. "Religion, Mural, Library of Congress, Washington, D. C." New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 23, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47d9-9f38-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
Couple: Religion
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “Religion, Mural, Library of Congress, Washington, D. C.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 23, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47d9-9f38-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

Religion is the human way of attempting to directly connect with God: please God, appease God or appeal to God.  To that end there are and have been many variations in how people have hoped to achieve this with many forms of religion.   Yet God has not abandoned the relationship that existed since the beginning, in fact,  God has anticipated every question of importance that we the created beings can muse over, and is extant within the Holy Bible.

From Pixabay.com
From Pixabay.com

If you are among the believers who accept The Genesis story you want to be as Adam and Eve who had walked with God in the garden.  If your belief in God is via a different source or a Selected Scripture you may simply desire to establish direct contact with God.  The key in all of this is, many people seem to recognize a being above ourselves with various degrees of supernatural attributes and, we want to know and have companionship with this being.  I myself believe in God the Creator and Supreme Being found in The Holy Bible.

When humans are humbled by the knowledge of a powerful God good things happen.

Baptism Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Art and Artifacts Division, The New York Public Library. "Baptism" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 24, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/71fd7f60-2893-0132-9ad0-58d385a7bbd0
Baptism
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Art and Artifacts Division, The New York Public Library. “Baptism” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 24, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/71fd7f60-2893-0132-9ad0-58d385a7bbd0

We need guidance; we need explanations; we need purpose.  Answering to a “Higher Authority” helps us to avoid evil and seek good: we learn how not to do evil and we learn how to do good. We discover our place, have a hope of experiencing eternal good when we have a relationship with “The One True God.”

As a Christian I have Good News for you.

Yes since “The Fall” in the “Garden of Eden” humans have sought to reach God and regain the lost personal relationship with God.  Many humans invented religions in a hope of achieving this goal. The hard work is already accomplished and you can benefit from the completed work: revelation within the Holy Bible explains all we need to know all we need to do.  If we do not glean an exact answer at first, as Christians we know we have the Holy Spirit’s help.  When we accept what Jesus Christ has done for us we gain the guidance given by The Holly Spirit.  This benefit assists us in knowing God’s principles and how to apply them to all that we face in our lifetime.

Moses The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. "Moses Fountain,Washington Park, Albany, N. Y." New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 24, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47d9-a305-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
Moses
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “Moses Fountain,Washington Park, Albany, N. Y.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 24, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47d9-a305-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

Holy Scripture reveals God to all who believe.

Yes God has provided answers to these questions for seekers and anyone who wants to know.  Please do not let cultural cliché’s turn you off.  God’s message to us is simple and clear.  When the time was correct (in God’s plan) God directly gave humans knowledge and instruction. In other instances there were times when humans were inspired by God’s Spirit to convey what we needed to know. I believe all the information we humans need is contained within The Holy Bible, and so I will end with selected verses that can help you begin your own relationship with God.

From Pixabay.com
From Pixabay.com

Selected Scripture for you:

John 10:27 ESV

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.

John 1:12 ESV

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,

1 John 1:3-4 ESV

That which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.

Psalm 19:14 ESV

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

James 4:8 ESV

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

Revelation 3:20 ESV

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.

Get started with these verses:

John 5:24 ESV

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.

Romans 10:13 ESV

For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

John 3:16 ESV

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Speed Limits, Traffic Rules and More

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Each bending or ignoring of the rules does not seem like much when viewed in isolation.

I have read about corrupt governments, terrorist enclaves, lawless no-man’s lands and places of weak law enforcement around the World. Maybe you have too. Maybe you think or even say, “I am sure glad I live in The United States.” You may also wonder how people around the world could tolerate or even support such despicable behavior from their fellow citizens.

Do we have the best country in the world?

Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. "Quadrilles--La Pastorelle an avant, 7th" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed February 4, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/ea485310-0256-0133-db6b-58d385a7b928
Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. “Quadrilles–La Pastorelle an avant, 7th” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed February 4, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/ea485310-0256-0133-db6b-58d385a7b928

Statistics can be manipulated, politicians can pander or spin things to suit their purposes – which are often linked to special interests – media can try to subtly sway public opinion . . . and I can go on with describing ways in which everyday citizens can be mislead or even completely fooled yet, what is one really big source of influence that can be used on us all? It is the threat of being labeled disloyal – or even treasonous – because of what we believe, say or do. This can be alluded to or even directly hurled our way when we ask too many questions, want to know how money is being used or disagree with a popular movement. In a country populated with at least 320 million people and in as large an area these United States of America exist in, a myriad of differences of opinion, views and expectations suggest life here can become very complicated if we let it. It is unrealistic to expect that all the people will agree about everything all the time. Still, as a Nation we have a remarkable history of sticking together despite our differences ( at least usually).

In The U.S.A. differences have been a source of strength.

The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection, The New York Public Library. "Ausstellung Palast in New York." New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed February 4, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47d9-7d08-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection, The New York Public Library. “Ausstellung Palast in New York.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed February 4, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47d9-7d08-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

I can say for a vast land with a large population we have a remarkable ability to remain united (for all practical considerations at least). We do have poor people in depressed areas (and some exist almost everywhere), we do have some people discriminated against and we do have some people living in areas that are below the national standard in terms of what services are there or the quality of those services (i.e. Internet connection speed). Still, we produce plenty of food, have many great roads and even offer some alternative transportation options, provide mostly good quality fresh water for people to use and decent sanitary conditions utilized a very large-scale that is probably is unmatched globally. Still in the interest of fairness and truth, there are a few negatives I should mention.

In this world we know that nothing is perfect; imperfection exists even in the U.S.A.

Injustice does happen, disrespect happens, bullying can threaten some school children, there is hunger and homelessness even in affluent areas; yes some needy people do fall through the cracks of our social safety nets. World comparisons (though often distorted by scale differences) indicate we can do better, in education, in holding the cost of health-care down and in getting more young people into post high school education or job training. We also can do better in correcting the ddiscrepancies in income levels for men versus women, for different races and different regions. We also can do better with managing beneficial government programs especially when they are undermined by special interests and corruption. I have read that each year as much as $50 Billion dollars are lost to corruption in Medicare: if we spent $2 Billion dollars on enforcement of Medicare rules and recovered half of $50 Billion dollars, the enforcement costs would be worth the expenditure. Still, none of these (and a few others not delineated) upset me more than a negative trend I recognize in the everyday experience going about my quintessential daily routines.

Trend: Increasing willingness to bend the rules even break some laws.

The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. "Monkey's Sculpture at Nikko: Mizaru Kikazaru Iwazaru (See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil)" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed February 4, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47d9-c695-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “Monkey’s Sculpture at Nikko: Mizaru Kikazaru Iwazaru (See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil)” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed February 4, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47d9-c695-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

Income inequality, corruption, over or under regulation and the subterfuges hidden in business practices of large entities (private industry or in government agencies) may be a big part of the root cause of this increasing lawlessness. To me is not a valid excuse for this trend but with bad examples I suppose we must expect it; to me these acts in fact reveal selfishness and greed that is even moving toward a disregard for the sanctity of human life – or at the very least a loss of respect for one another. Phrases like, “Every body does it,” ” it is a stupid law anyway,” “How else am I going to get what is due me or get ahead?” Comments like these indicate that the hearts of the people who try to excuse or defend this trend are being worn down by lax moral teaching or strong influence from bad examples. Before I write about the more serious aspects of the decline in the rule of law and weakened practice of civility, I want to tell you about the seemingly “little things” that for the most part do not require assistance from law enforcement, but, degrade the quality of life for many of us and, may be becoming more than just a nuisance or annoyance. These behaviors if they continue to increase encourage rational for bad behavior or the disregard for our fellow citizens‘ rights.

Little white lies and minor violations.

In 1955 when I was eight years old my father started to tell me about “little white lies” but my mother promptly intervened and with a chuckle tapped my father’s shoulder and said, “Stop, he has plenty of time to learn about that.”  That was true, and later I did learn that sometimes not telling the truth about what appears to be a trivial matter could spare someone’s feelings, avoid a senseless argument or avoid admitting to a seemingly benign “something” I may have done.  In all of these situations and many similar ones the “ideal” of always telling the truth, or emulating the myth that George Washington could not tell a lie, produced an inner conflict within me: my religious training contradicted the concept of “how things really are” and what in reality was the sliding scale used to judge what good and bad actually meant.  And now I have even learned that George Washington a father of our country practiced espionage during the Revolutionary War; though for obvious good reason  but learning of this demystification of a national hero, did and does make me feel like I had been fooled when I studied history as a child.

The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection, The New York Public Library. "Evil counsel" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed February 4, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/c84c4530-56bd-0130-bc4b-58d385a7bbd0
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection, The New York Public Library. “Evil counsel” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed February 4, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/c84c4530-56bd-0130-bc4b-58d385a7bbd0

Like most of my friends and family I gradually learned how much disinformation, omissions of truth and denials worked well to hide my guilt so it would be recognized. I deftly learned when to own up to something so I didn’t get deeper into trouble or deceive in order to stay out of trouble altogether.  in fact the whole culture around me as I matured became a delicate balance of truth verses “little white lies.” Then one day “Bam!” I crossed a line and flirted with doing more serious duplicity; from then on my game of “truth and lies” matured into actually breaking rules willfully, consciously bending laws and even violating a couple of the “Ten Commandments.”

I had to admit some, pay the consequences for some, confess sin sometimes and wrestle with an annoying conscience even if I thought I got away with something.  In order to function I developed a keen “streetwise” sense about daily life and, often that spared me the worst of possible consequences that I could have experienced, for whatever breach of a rule or a law I was responsible for.  I vow that this article isn’t going to become an article of true confessions, I’ll save that story for another time.  I will only say this: the norm of the milieu from which I matured within wasn’t perfect but, there were invisible lines that almost everyone knew not to cross, or unspoken limits not to pass. Comparing that to today’s norm however, almost makes the past look like the days of innocence touted in urban mythology.

The problem with saying, “Yes that is the ideal but this is the way it really is,” allows for a gradual process of ever-increasing tolerance to whatever we may consider in our own minds to be just a “little white lie” and therefore “no big deal.”  Later I will comment on the standard I believe in by which human behavior is judged and why we are incapable of achieving “perfect honesty”, but, I want to emphasize this: in the absence of striving for honesty at a high moral standard lessens the quality of life for most people.  A better trend: trying for the highest standard one can achieve thus reducing life’s negative effects that come from one another.

Now what is the trend toward more serious disregard for others?

So, we accept some degree of hypocrisy in our world and even sometimes come to practice it ourselves – even if inadvertently.  After all, “Nobody’s perfect. Right?” One big problem with that: How and where do we draw the line? Who becomes the person (or persons) who draws the line?  Is where the line sits arbitrary?  Is it immovable?  Is the line extant at all?

Well, we have a government that creates laws and various “police” entities that enforce them.  Still with so large a population as in The United States of America there are way too many people to manage easily, way too laws (sometimes elected officials pass laws as to appear like they are doing something I think) and way too many people willing to bend them.  Even way too many people willing to even break them, so as a matter of practicality the degree of enforce is at best a selective process.  Having to decide which laws to enforce happens out of necessity because of the complexity and huge undertaking it has become.  And so, ignoring some laws and definitely ignoring some immoral behavior results in a de facto allowing them to continue (perhaps with a wink and a sigh) with little or no restriction.  Isn’t this the reality of life now?  So why do I have so much trouble accepting it?

In my lifetime I have noticed the gradual increase of the kinds of lawlessness that degrade the quality of life for many people: headlights too bright (or misaligned), increased recreational drug use creating a bad atmosphere (especially for children), the disregard for speed limits (especially in highway work zones), snow allow to fly off the roof of a vehicle and smash the windshield of the vehicle behind, non physically challenged drivers parking in disability reserved parking, using extra-large tires without mud flaps to stop flinging stones, non courteous driving (non use of directional vehicle lights, no vehicle lights in low viability situations), non courteous shopping behavior in stores or sloppy services provided by technicians, and, a sense that cheating is alright as long as you don’t get caught.  In a climate of “I can pick and chose which laws or rules apply to me, a degradation of the quality of life for the people you share space with is easily achieved.  The lax attitude also makes graduating to perpetrating more serious transgressions a lot easier.

A trend like this is not a joke.

Cheating on taxes, insurance fraud (especially with Medicare) passing in no passing lanes, shoplifting, Affluenza type excuses for failures to obey laws, pilfering, theft, larceny, brutality and with the diminished value of life where even murder for absurd reasons is happening.  Murder for a piece of fruit, for shoes, for a belt or even worse, just for fun.  One more thing, I do not believe there is such a thing as a “victim-less” crime in any case.  Someone does experience physical or emotional (psychological) harm even if the negative effect is not immediately recognizable by an act or behavior.

So to those who scoff at religion, especially “The Ten Commandments” and, scoff at the people who try to obey God’s Law, shame on you; I hope your distorted view of freedom in some way teaches you a personal lesson someday and you come to realize you do need God in your life. I hope you learn that lesson before it is too late.  We all need God.

 The Christian culture and tradition is the best for all people.

First, we Christians become Christians, not because we are better than anyone else, less likely to violate a law, never have bent a rule or have always treated everyone we have encountered with perfection. We have not always been guided perfectly by honoring “The Golden Rule,” have done unto to others what we would have them do to us.  We know we are not perfect.  We know because there is nothing we can do to gain favor with God.  Therefore we accept that Jesus paid for our imperfection (our sins) with his life and from the moment we believe in Him, He covers our faulty image and we begin to change because we are grateful for His work and the ability to begin to acquire a new nature.  We are being transformed from the inside out and that increases our sensitivity to sin so we can learn to turn away from doing wrong more and more each day.  But if we stumble, then we confess, ask for forgiveness and continue on with our transformation of becoming more “Christ-Like.”  We study God’s word and apply what we learn concerning good and bad, what is right from wrong and thus live a better life a little at a time as an ongoing process.

The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Art & Architecture Collection, The New York Public Library. "Botticelli, Uffizi, 566. [Nativity.]" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed February 4, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e3-6c65-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Art & Architecture Collection, The New York Public Library. “Botticelli, Uffizi, 566. [Nativity.]” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed February 4, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e3-6c65-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
Yes there are fake Christians who exploit others, mislead others or violate others but those who are sincere, bring good into a world deeply steeped in selfishness, greed and revenge.  I believe God, not because I can be certain of anything.  I accept His truth on faith using my own free will.  For that, I avoid life’s worst pit falls that would be of my own doing; I believe I have eternal life; I strive to do unto others what I would have others do unto me. Yes through Jesus I am assured salvation for eternity and out of gratitude I try to act better everyday.

Conclusion.

In a fallen world we will never experience perfection but with a relationship with God through Jesus Christ and guided by the Holy Spirit, we can do better and, at the same time bring a glimpse of heaven to a world that seems oblivious of God’s desire for all people: God wants all people to enter into His Kingdom and experience eternal salvation and become true children of God.  Free Will makes it your choice.

Excerpts from the Bible that promotes “The Greater Good.”

Jeremiah 29:11 ESV (Future)

11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare[a] and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

A Or peace

Philippians 2:4 ESV (better attitude)

4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

2 Timothy 3:2 – 4 ESV (The way it has become today))

2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous, reckless, Jeremiah 29:11 ESV (Future) swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,

Proverbs 21:13 ESV ESV (Ears that do not want to hear)

13 Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself call out and not be answered.

Isaiah 5:20 ESV (Calling bad good and good bad)

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil,
who put darkness for light and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!

Romans 2:8 ESV (payment for evil)

8 but for those who are self-seeking[a] and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.

a Or contentious

John 3:16 (Salvation through Jesus)

16 “For God so loved the world,that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

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Is America Loosing Its Civility?

DSCN0015

As I became aware of the milieu I was born into during the 1950’s I was taught to respect elders, people of authority, teachers, clergy and everyone I encountered in public.  Manners were important and especially the choice of words used in public, school and certainly in mixed company.

Today it seems common here on the East Coast of the U.S.A.  within Megalopolis to slack off on manners and abandon constraint on the tongue: I often her expletives and swear words once confined to harsh work environments, back alleys, saloons and during armed conflicts. Sure boys hanging out were prone to express themselves in a loose manner but quickly modified their speech when an older person, female or person of authority entered within hearing range.  What about today?

Since the 1950’s things have turned away from a tradition of being polite.  This is reflected in the character and dialogue in cinema, television programs, magazines and more so in the new publicly shared social media of the Twenty-first Century have a much lower standard.  I find it especially offensive when the expletives and swearing is unrestrained in popular song lyrics, in mixed company and especially in groups that have children present.  Many people today apparently do not think this is a problem nor do they seem to believe it does any harm.  Aside from older people from another generation being offended as I, I see this trend as one more degradation in our society that once was civil if not always pleasant.

I am a Christian and I do not believe the wisdom offered to us within the Bible is old fashioned or out dated.  On the contrary,  Holy Scripture teaches us  how to make life better by fostering respect and positive behavior within families and in public.

Luke 6:45 (ESV)

The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

Ephesians 4:29

Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.

Proverbs 8:13

The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.