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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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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Our Entangled Spiritual Reality

We are assailed in our modern world with all sorts of problems. There are money worries, health of ageing parents, stress and depression, crime and taxes. Coping with all of that can make us forget the beautiful things around us every day.

But there’s another influence no one talks about in our modern, number-crunching world, and that’s the very real influence from the spiritual world. That’s not the topic of dinner conversations these days. Well, actually, we don’t even have conversations anymore, do we? … everything being pushed into the digital world of email, chat and Instagram. Which emphasises the point – the deeper levels of the human experience are not being plumbed anymore – and to our great detriment. It’s like spirituality is something we feel at times, something we sense is important, but something we keep at arm’s length for fear of being branded weird or fanatic.

But spirits were not dismissed in the past. Shakespeare exploited the knowledge of them for great art. Let’s explore spiritual relevance more on our program.

Our Entangled Spiritual Reality, today on Thinking with Somebody Else’s Head.

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Under Control of Evil

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

In Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Ferdinand, in desperation at the terrible plight of ship and crew, cries out, “Hell is empty and all the devils are here!”

And looking around at our situation today, it wouldn’t be difficult to reach the same conclusion. Except that our modern materialistic science doesn’t allow for that conclusion. Oh, we might utter the words, but I doubt most of us would use words like “hell” and “devils” in anything more than an illustrative sense. We almost certainly wouldn’t mean them literally.

But there is a very modern science emerging here in Brazil that does consider the power of spiritual influence to inspire the human being – both for good or for evil. And yes, I do mean a science. And what the scientist responsible for this view, Dr. Norberto Keppe, maintains is that the evil is winning as long as we don’t have more consciousness of it. That means, reuniting theology and philosophy again with exact science, as used to be the case. So we can really understand our situation.

Under Control of Evil, today on Thinking with Somebody Else’s Head.

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The Energy of Virtue

Welcome to Thinking with Somebody Else’s Head, I’m Richard Lloyd Jones. A couple of thousand years ago, a consideration of virtue was part of everyday, common discourse. The Greeks gave considerable attention to virtue, culminating in Aristotle’s influential writings on moral and intellectual virtues. Before him, Confucius proposed personal virtue as the way to a good life. The Bible has hundreds of passages about the importance of virtue.

Today, public discourse is muted, and people lament the loss of the byproducts of virtue, like falling self-discipline and rising selfishness.

Not to mention the rampant corruption at all levels of modern society that makes us fear that virtue is, in fact, long gone. As a small indicator of this, a graph of the frequency of words occurring in books over time shows a rapid rise of the word “technology” in the past 40 years against a two-century slide in virtue.

In Norberto Keppe‘s Integral Psychoanalysis, though, virtue is essential for a healthy human being and society. So we’d like to go against the grain!

The Energy of Virtue, today on Thinking with Somebody Else’s Head.

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Evil in the Modern World

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

In the philosophy of religion, evil has always been a thorny issue. Is evil something inherent in the essence of man and nature? Or is it a willful act of ill-intentioned human beings?

And then there’s the whole confusion of natural disasters – the presence of which have even caused some thinkers to deny the existence of a perfectly good God. If hurricanes exist, this argument goes, perfect goodness doesn’t exist.

And I think it’s also safe to say that the theological concept of the existence of a being of evil as described in Judeo-Christian scripture is also controversial. A rebellion in heaven led by one of God’s brightest angels, Lucifer, is today treated mostly as allegorical or metaphorical – tales told to illustrate moral truth but not meant to be taken literally.

But in Norberto Keppe‘s deep science of Analytical Trilogy, spiritual influences in the myriad psycho-social crises we face today are considered. In fact, in Keppe’s experience, the spiritual component is more necessary.

Evil in the Modern World, today on Thinking with Somebody Else’s Head.

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Women and the Dark Side

A few hundred years ago, the notions of heaven and hell, of God and Lucifer, were respected themes for composers, poets, and painters. Milton’s Paradise Lost contains the idea of Lucifer endeavoring to defeat Christ and regain his former position in paradise. Raphael captured the epic battle where the Archangel Michael vanquished Satan. Beethoven wrote of the desire of man to know God.

And then, somewhere along the way, the devil became largely erased as a factor in popular culture. Any modern educated person who considers the battle between the forces of dark and the forces of light as anything but a mythical allegory is considered … well, not modern today.

But of course, it still persists. The rumors of rock stars making the Faustian bargain still abound, the Rolling Stones had dire repercussions to Sympathy for the Devil at Altamont, and many modern pageants have demonic idolatry built right into their ceremonies.

So I think it’s still relevant. Women and the Dark Side, today on Thinking with Somebody Else’s Head.

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