Looking After Our Eternal Assets

I’m Richard Lloyd Jones, and this is Thinking with Somebody Else’s Head.

As we head into Christmas, we often take time to reflect on friends and family, on hopes and dreams, on plans and logistics. After all, we’ve got the trips to hometowns, the Christmas gift buying, the parking lot congestion to navigate. It’s a time to reflect on what’s happened, and how fast it’s all gone by.

And in those times, we need the wisdom and dedication to commit our efforts to doing what’s necessary, what we were put on this earth to do in this short time we’ve been granted on this planet.

But above all that, and widely forgotten in our modern, materialistic age, is the true reason for the celebration – the virgin birth that marks our western world. For believers or not, the undeniable fact remains that our civilization was, and is, formed by adherence to those Christian values that He brought a couple of millennia ago. Justice, tolerance, forgiveness, love for one’s neighbour … these are the true values that we all desire. And that’s what He came to remind us of.

Looking After Our Eternal Assets, today on Thinking with Somebody Else’s Head.

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Even Psychopaths Feel Guilt

I’m Richard Lloyd Jones, and this is Thinking with Somebody Else’s Head.

Back when I was a kid playing street hockey in my hometown, a couple of Dutch immigrant kids came out hoping to join us. They were carrying hockey sticks their father had made by nailing a piece of wood to long broom handles. These makeshift sticks were far from the sleek, black taped, store bought babies the rest of us were sporting, and my friends were lavish in the derision they heaped on the poor guys who retreated, humiliated, back to their rented house.

It was the shattered look on their faces that I remember even to this day. I felt so guilty, I stopped playing and walked down to their house to apologize.

It’s a powerful feeling, guilt. It can keep us up at nights. It can make us sick. A police detective here in Brazil told me he thinks guilt may be the reason criminals leave clues so they get caught.

Today, though, we’re counselled to mitigate our guilt. Not being able to manage our guilt feelings is actually considered detrimental to our mental health.

In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.

Even Psychopaths Feel Guilty, today on Thinking with Somebody Else’s Head.

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Power and Demonic Envy

In Norberto Keppe‘s extraordinary book, Liberation of the People, he writes, “Humankind reckons among its numbers a few individuals who are completely sick. This includes those who have succeeded in attaining positions of social power.” That’s why the subtitle of his book is the Pathology of Power.

He wrote that in 1984 – a good year for books like that as Orwell prophesized. But surprisingly, no one has really picked up the torch and continued that analysis. No, most explorations or powerful people are somehow in awe of their accomplishments, failing to see the pathology behind their ascent to power. They point out the wrinkles but miss the rot underneath.

Keppe, now in his ’90s continues to work to make us conscious that we are driven by the sickest among us, who form secret societies and influence the social structure to serve their needs rather than the people. It’s a study that he has called sociopathology, which treats the social difficulties wherein the human being becomes a victim of a sick society.

Power and Demonic Envy, today on Thinking with Somebody Else’s Head.

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Dark Spirituality and Victimization

I’m Richard Lloyd Jones and this is Thinking with Somebody Else’s Head.

We’re just out of the Easter period and some reflections. It was a tough week for the faithful. The burning of Notre Dame striking hard in that major center of Christian faith for 800 something years. And then the bombs exploding in Christian churches and popular hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, apparently in retaliation for those terrible attacks on mosques in New Zealand back in March.

Does this hit you at all? Maybe it all seems so far away, right? After all, there are bills to pay and potholes to fix and renovations to do right here in our own daily worlds. Like, who’s got time for another act of terrorism or environmental disaster or burning building?

It’s difficult to put the pieces together. And the media smotherage brings us constant updates of facts and pictures, additional images and numbers that expand exponentially and overwhelm our capacity to filter and understand. Seems we’re poor human ruins tottering over the grave, as Blake described it. Testing times.

Dark Spirituality and Victimization, today on Thinking with Somebody Else’s Head.

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A Study of Temptation

I’m Richard Lloyd Jones, and this is Thinking with Somebody Else’s Head.

Temptation. Like most religious words, that one’s been banalized and reduced from its original meaning. It means literally a trial or a test. A moment in your life when you have a choice to be faithful or not.

Today, that’s like faith to a diet or a spouse, to a virtue or an ideal. But the original sense was to be tested in your faith to God. Something Job-ian – no matter what life throws at you, you stay the course.

But temptation is secondarily related to allurement or seduction to sin. And here we’re into a less popular usage. Nobody likes to think in terms of “can’t” or “don’t” anymore, do they? “Who says I can’t?”, goes the language of modernity. “Who are you to tell me what’s right and what’s wrong?”

These are tricky waters. “You can’t do that!” has been used to control and restrict by those wanting to remain in power, for sure. But is there something to this obligation aspect of temptation that deserves a more careful consideration?

A Study of Temptation, today on Thinking with Somebody Else’s Head.

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Seduction by Evil

“The idea of being a victim of evil is quite a comfortable one,” writes Norberto Keppe in his book, Psychotherapy and Exorcism. “But what’s really going on,” he continues, “is that the human being actually selects the type of evil he wants in his life.”

Well, that’s sobering. I hope this happens unconsciously because the conscious choice for evil seems rather terrifying. Keppe’s view that we summon evil contradicts the common idea that we are victimised by it. Even the exorcists, those most graphic of illustrations of possession by evil, show the possessed as being unwilling recipients of the accursed spiritual invasions.

What Keppe is trying to alert us to here is the very real presence of evil spirits in the human experience, and our considerable role in giving them so much freedom to run amok on our planet.

But there’s another aspect at play in this process … the subterfuge of the demons. And that’s not a once-in-awhile thing. It’s constant.

Seduction by Evil, today on Thinking with Somebody Else’s Head.

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Man’s Greatest Enemy

I’m Richard Lloyd Jones, and this is Thinking with Somebody Else’s Head.

All of us, if we’ve lived a little, have had to contend with the lure of temptation. From the mundane, “Just one more piece of chocolate cake,” to the come on of a cold beer when you’ve got a drinking problem, to the more serious attractions to violence and crime, we all know the experience of that voice in our ear.

Our modern scientific perspective prefers evidence-based interventions as solutions, leading us to explain away vice and bad habits as weakness, upbringing, chemical imbalance, even genetic disposition. We seldom in our modern world even think of putting temptation down to influence from nefarious spirits. Reason over superstition would read the promotional literature for the modern point of view.

But are we missing something in excluding the theological view? After all, Jesus warned us time and again of our unhealthy subservience to demons, and perhaps we should listen more carefully to that advice.

Man’s Greatest Enemy, today on Thinking with Somebody Else’s Head.

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