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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Certainty of the Divine

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

A belief in immaculate conception, overcoming death with resurrection, divine miracles of creation … modern thinkers complain these tenets suffer from a lack of evidence. “Faith is a great evil,” they say, “That leads gullible human beings to open their minds so much their brains fall out.”

I respectfully disagree. Faith has been shown in studies to mitigate symptoms of depression, spiritual beliefs can help us deal with loss, disease and death, and even aid recovery. We also know that it helps deal with addictions. Great things have been accomplished with perseverance in the face of impossible odds, even at the risk of loss of life, and what is that if not an act of faith?

So just dismissing conviction in something divine simply because there’s not scientific proof seems unintelligent to me. And anyway, if we just look around us at the intricate design of nature, the complex way natural processes mesh together perfectly, we really have to be slightly moronic to rule out divinity.

The Certainty of the Divine, 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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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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Honouring the Christmas Spirit

I published this wonderful radio program last December, but felt it deserved another airing. Hope you enjoy another reminder of the need to honour the Christmas spirit.

Another Christmas period, and all that that brings. The packed parking lots, the festive yuletide happy hours, cooking – and eating – the fatted calf.

And maybe, in a quiet, reflective moment, a spark of Christmas spirit will catch flame inside you and for a few seconds or moments or, if you’re lucky, hours, you’ll feel a deep sense of piece and connection with your fellow man and the universe that you recognize as the Christmas spirit.

Those tantalizing moments are tragically short-lived. Some complain that they don’t like this time of year because we should have this spirit all round. “It’s fake and phony,” they say. But it doesn’t feel that way to any who are still enough to allow themselves to receive the grace and depth of that spirit. The Holy Spirit we can call it, and we should take time to remember that this time of year is for honouring that divine presence. Yes, Christmas, of all times, is time to remember that.

Honouring the Christmas Spirit, today on Thinking with Somebody Else’s Head.

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