THE SEDUCTIVE URGE
to do what’s unsafe
Regardless of sex, age, creed, or income everyone may feel that Urge at any time and may be fooled by its Seductive Power.
Fooled people cause mild-to-horrific Mutilations, Killings, Miseries and Regrets for selves and others.
That’s serious, and that seriousness is magnified by Political and Creed Policy-Makers and Commentators being unaware of the plight of people who are fooled by the Power of the Seductive Urge.
The Urge also daily presents us with exciting, challenging opportunities to feel ‘the sweet smell of success’ three times.
Some — maybe many — people avoid doing much what they know is Unsafe. That said, I’m fascinated by how often people — males especially — are fooled by the Power of The Seductive Urge to do what they know or don’t know is unsafe. This short story is about my search for a Safe Way to avoid the fooling and the suffering that that causes. It refers to ‘outside the box’ thinking of two kinds not in current public use. My 33 paragraphs are numbered (at their ends) to help screen readers to note — on hard-copy pages, say — paragraphs with points to which to return for further thought. 1
As I report I may at times exaggerate. Because of the widespread popular unawareness of the Urge’s Power, particularly among political and religion policy-makers and commentators, I want to be realistic about the suffering that the Unsafe activities of fooled people could yield. I sketch under the four Mutilations, Killings, Miseries, and Regrets headings. My aim was and is to motivate myself and others to maximise what we can do to preclude that suffering. Otherwise, the enjoyment that the wide variety of Safe activities that modern money making and spending can yield may be greatly diluted. As of now, due to Unsafe activities in Dublin and elsewhere, I foresee many more Mutilations, etc. outcomes during the next 50 years than we have now. I do so for an important particular reason to which I shall refer presently. First, I shall in Pars 3–5 sketch the possible Mutilations, Killings, Miseries and Regrets outcomes. 2
Unsafe activities always bite back.
The well-known Unsafe activity related to alcohol isn’t the only one that bites back via mild-to-horrific ‘morning afters’ outcomes All of the hundreds of kinds of Unsafe activities bite back via Mutilations and Killings outcomes. With the aid of easily-accessed modern vehicles, explosives, media and other technologies, individuals may Mutilate and Kill sneakily or spectacularly, as may groups, organisations and governments. What they do may be fatal for many in some localities and parts of our planet and affect tiny percentages in others. For every much-publicised Killing there may be hundreds of little-publicised Mutilations that, because much prolonged, cause far more suffering. Less spectacular but far more pervasive everywhere are gradual Unsafe-based Mutilations and Killings. They happen gradually via use of money, food, alcohol, drugs, sex, screens, work, battles, travel, recreation, entertainment and sports. Their gradualness makes the outcomes most insidious as they could cause horrific suffering for long periods. 3
Unsafe activities bite back via Miseries in addition to those that stem from Mutilations and Killings. They do so via minor-to-major local and international economic booms-and-busts, corruption, alcoholism, drugs (legal and illegal) dependency, guns, promiscuity, obesity, marital discord, wasteful personal spending, social and political provocations, robberies and cheating, and inter-personal tensions and disruptive outbursts. They also bite back via Miseries that are triggered by domestic and social diets of exaggerations in superficial news-and-views media, and resources use that cause minor-to-major flooding, droughts, famines and adverse planet-wide climate change. 4
Finally, Unsafe activities bite back via Regrets. They hurt those who find that they would have precluded Mutilations, Killings and Miseries that affected them and others if they had done what’s Safe. They are severe for those who realise that they unwittingly contributed to Mutilations, Killings and Miseries that affected others. They are especially severe for those who realise that they contributed wittingly. The Regrets of short-to-long-term public prisoners and hospital patients have counterparts in homes everywhere. Regrets affect the elderly most. The younger see that they still have time to undo and make up. Their elders may settle for Regrets that may be searing for some, including in the Hereafter (as Christians believe) after their bodies cease to function. Like Airport Departure Lounge Travellers, they tend to feel helpless as they wait for ‘boarding’ calls that could be theirs at any time. 5
This writer is an exception among those elders. He doesn’t feel helpless. He was also so among his peers when, as a 20-year-old in 1955, he foresaw disruptive Irish economic effects. In 1959 he presented his findings in a long The [Restraint] Price of Irish Economic Development essay published in the Winter issue of Studies, the most prestigious Irish Quarterly of that era. He had in mind the rapid widespread growth of aspirations to have expensive Lifestyles similar to those of upper-income Americans. The essay concluded with a forecast of the consequences of that growth, and suggested that the alternative of less expensive Lifestyles should be considered. In fact, unforeseen (in 1959) massive EU subventions and the containerisation innovation later led to consequences greatly different from those that he foresaw. 6
The Safe Way evolves via (A) ‘outside the box’ thinking
Much more could be said about the mild-to-horrific Mutilations, Killings, Miseries and Regrets that Unsafe activities yield among people everywhere. Perhaps enough has been said to show why the horrific possibilities made me search for a Way to curb the Power of The Seductive Urge. 7
The Safe Way that I now use came to mind gradually over decades, but with increasing speed from 2010. To evolve it I ‘went outside the box’ of my 1959 thinking. At that time I considered the issue as the young Economist I then was. That box got me to consider the two Lifestyles — the expensive upper-incomes American ones and a less-expensive alternative — options in terms of expensiveness and the overall population, socio-economic, political and religious outcomes. I gradually realised that, to ‘go outside the box’, I should widen my thinking to consider the options in Holistic Health terms. After all, an inexpensive Lifestyle could harm or benefit health as much, little or more than an expensive one. That’s obvious to me now but — typically of youngsters who take their health for granted — it wasn’t obvious to me when I was in my early 20s. Overall Irish population, emigration, socio-economic, political and religious consequences only matter to the degree that they affect the health of our minds and bodies. So, from the I should have considered the two Lifestyles options in terms of their pluses and minuses for Minds and Bodies. 8
Also: I now focus entirely on the American Lifestyles option, the details of which we are aware, and ignore the Irish alternative, the details of which we have to imagine. The former is today the dominant Irish Lifestyles aspiration, regardless of the effects of its expensiveness. Its Lifestyles offer a wide-ranging menu of things we could do for Minds and Bodies. The pertinent urgent daily question for each of us is: how many and how much of the things on that American menu would be Safe for Minds and Bodies, and what, if anything, in addition should I seek for that purpose? It’s also the urgent daily question for American people — indeed for people everywhere, since modern communication devices have made virtually everyone aware of the details of that menu. 9
So, I concluded that ‘Do What’s Safe for Minds and Bodiws’ was and is The Safe Way for which I was searching. It’s that straightforward. Use of it would preclude Mutilations, Killings, Miseries and Regrets as surely as Safe Alcohol drinking would preclude alcoholism’s suffering. I saw that if the waving of a magic wand got all Irish people — indeed people everywhere — to use that Way, Earth would be a Paradise free of Mutilations etc. However, to be realistic, we must think not in terms of magic wands but in terms of what humans can do. To gain from The ‘Do What’s Safe etc.’ Way everyone would need to (a) know What’s Safe etc. for him or her in relation to all possible activities and (b) act in accord with that knowledge. 10
Though the (a) knowledge isn’t entirely rocket science, few if any have it in full. That is so even of Health specialists. It is certainly so for countless parents/guardians who, by their example and words, correctly or incorrectly decide What’s Safe etc. for them and their children. However, awareness of the Power of The Seductive Urge would focus our thinking. It would to get us to think seriously about how to avoid what’s Unsafe activities that cause suffering. Awareness of that Power would be the starting point of, and underpin, civilised discussions. That Awareness would be essential. Private and public discussions could then gain from what Health specialists say. They could also gain from what the various creeds say about Safe and Unsafe activities. Honest discussion would show that what is called immoral or sinful is also Unsafe, and vice versa. The Seductive Urge gains from confused, acrimonious domestic, social and public thinking in that respect. In short, on the basis of honest discussions, it’s likely that everyone would, over time, have a high level of (a) knowledge. 11
However, while (a) knowledge often automatically lead to (b) action, that doesn’t necessarily always happen. Countless numbers, who know What’s Unsafe to eat and drink, daily do both. Some — maybe many — Unsafely ‘put their bodies on the line’ for work and sports purposes. Science is unable to discern, at the birth stage, a body basis for that (b) non-doing. Non-doing at later stages may be preceded by the action of The Seductive Urge. Our Bodies feel it as hunger, thirst or ‘a rush of blood to the head”. Our Minds feel it as a silent, sudden, insistent, internal prompt akin to a persuasive spoken external one. Speculators may claim that that Urge was inherited via genes and was latent at conception. But they can’t prove that scientifically. In fact, it may owe much to post-conception influences via the doings, example and words of such as parents, guardians, teachers, preachers, politicians, commentators and other propagators. 12
Despite the fact that Christ isn’t recorded as having done so, some Christian preachers attribute the (b) non-doing to flawed human nature, and say that it is due to the ‘original sin’ recorded in the Eve-and-Adam-and-Eve story. They so claim despite the fact that though, according to that story, those two humans were born without such a flaw they later chose to do what they had been told was most Unsafe. Whatever its cause, the existence of the mysterious Urge factor is an undeniable fact. Like countless others, I feel its Power daily as I set about eating and drinking. I have felt it in countless other ways over the years. 13
Though all sexes may be seduced by the Power of The Seductive Urge, undoubtedly males are, with the usual exceptions, more prone to be fooled by it. In general, males are minor-to-major risk addicts. They like to ‘take chances’ and gamble. The last thing they want to have said of them is that they are ‘funkers’ who lack ‘bottle’ or ‘balls’, or ‘play safe’, when situations prompt them to take risks. Many are suckers for what dares them to play the “get away with it” game in sports, at work, while driving, in sex dealings, and so on. The multiple Miseries to which daily reports refer are invariably caused by males much more than females. Few if any of us males can plead not guilty. We wouldn’t do those things if we were guided by ‘Do What’s Safe for Mind and Bodies’. 14
The question is: Can our use of The Safe ‘Do What’s Safe for Minds and Bodies’ Way always curb the Power of The Seductive Urge? Like CBT (cognitive behaviour therapy), it helps when used as instructed, but may not do so always, especially when fatigue or dire situations evoke fear. At any time, the Urge may seduce successfully. It’s true that successful use of the Way for minor things helps us to succeed likewise for major things. However, our (a) knowledge may be inadequate when we encounter the unexpected. Besides, we may be like persons who drive safely but who suffer because other drivers drive unsafely. We can’t even rely on all the members of our immediate and extended families, and of our circles of friends, work and social acquaintances to be users of The Way. We certainly can’t rely on all of Earth’s seven or so billions to be so. Some may do Unsafe things that may have painful consequences for us. 15
In short, reliance on The Safe Way alone makes for presents and futures like those of the past. In it, the ups of Safe and downs of Unsafe activities — as sketched in Paragraphs 3–5 — will continue to litter the lives of individuals and communities everywhere on our planet. The Power of the mysterious Seductive Urge factor will — due to the popularity of an ‘ism’ — more than ever get people to do Unsafe things and hereby cause mild-to-horrific Mutilations, Killings, Miseries and Regrets. It will do so because of the current growth in the popularity of what may be called Default Secularism. 16
That little-discussed ‘ism’ is the default creed for many who cease to adhere to the creeds of their upbringings and want to be free of the obligations of those creeds. They embrace it as a creed that frees them from belief in God and in other supernatural beings who may intervene to affect them. They value Default Secularism especially for how it frees them of moral rules apart from those that they devise. However, that deprives them of a specific set of rules for which adherents allow as they think about and discuss what’s Safe etc. as they drive, and so on. As a group they are without a common Safe compass. Some may do much what’s Safe etc. despite the Power of The Seductive Urge. But there is much evidence that many may uncharacteristically do what’s Unsafe when they encounter that Power. Default Secularism has in recent decades grown rapidly in popularity in Ireland and elsewhere to replace the enormous decline in the popularity of the moral code of Christianity. That growth will continue apace until the latter code as enormously regains ground. In the meantime, levels of Unsafe-based Mutilations etc. will depend much on how many, and how much, Default Secularists exploit a key Secularism belief. It is the belief that both the perpetrators and victims of Unsafe activities are set to encounter painless post-death Hereafters. 17
The Safe Way evolves via (B) ‘outside the box’ thinking
At that thinking stage in my search I felt like accepting defeat. However, before I threw in the towel, I considered Plan B. I ‘went outside the box’ again, as I did to think outside the Economist box (see Paragraph 8). For the thinking detailed above I stayed within the box of Secularism. That creed excludes the existence of supernatural Body-less Invisible Minds who at any time may insert thoughts among the ones in our natural minds. My Christian creed allows for their existence. Neither Secularists nor Christians can scientifically prove that such Minds do or don’t exist. They believe either way and allow or don’t allow accordingly. So, with Safety in mind, I ‘went outside the box’ to allow as Christians do. 18
A well-known central ‘Body-less Invisible Minds’ Christian belief takes for me the mystery out of the Seductive Urge. It says that our little — it’s no more than a tiny speck in Creation’s Cosmos — Earth is populated by billions of supernatural Invisible Pairs of Benign and Malign Minds. A Pair is assigned to each human at conception. Benign Minds are commanded by God and Malign ones by the Evil One (aka The Devil or Satan). The function of our Benign Invisible Minds is to urge us to Do What’s Safe for Minds and Bodies. The function of our Malign Invisible Minds is to urge us to Do What’s Unsafe etc. The latter Minds are the source of The Seductive Urge. Both Minds test our readiness to do as urged. Neither can force us to obey. Both are doing tasks that are given to them by our Creator to test us. We may reject or accept some, all, or combinations of both sets of prompts. We must so reject or accept. What we don’t reject we allow to determine our doings. 19
Everyone is free to accept or reject the foregoing belief. I accept it. For me it demystifies The Seductive Urge. It is the Evil One at work. That also explains the source of its Power. Being the work of a supernatural Mind, that Power is too much for our natural minds. But, being the Creator of everything, ‘seen and unseen’, God’s Supreme Power can contain the Evil One’s Power. Neither I nor any other tiny, tiny human speck in the Cosmos need be bereft of protection in relation to the Power of The Seductive Urge. Christ’s “Father, protect everyone from the Evil One” is the central Christian petition. The protection theme featured 35 times in Pope Francis’ 2013 Installation Mass Homily. It features daily at the Eucharist part of Catholic Masses. On that account, my Protection Petition is: Jesus, my Lord and my God, protect everyone from being fooled by the lies of the Evil One, that is, from being fooled into doing what’s unsafe for minds and bodies. In you I trust. That lets me feel the Seductive Urge and be unafraid of its Power. If necessary, mantra-like repetition of ‘God, in you I trust’ steadies me to work out what to do to be Safe etc. 20
To work things out I can, for split-seconds or longer periods, close my eyes and talk to God. I can converse as I do with phone people whose bodies I can’t see. It’s true that, unlike God, the minds at the other ends of phones can respond. But, what I know about God’s commands for my well-being lets me anticipate much His responses of God’s. He knows what I really think. That gets me to be honest, just as clients of counsellors presumed to be perceptive and insightful tend to be. I expect to be an Invisible Mind when, after I too have been tested to God’s satisfaction during ‘this our [Earth] exile’, death frees me from my body. I need never be bored as I can use free moments to say the Protection Petition quietly. Doing so during awake night moment is a remarkably useful way to ‘get through the night’ — which is a prime test for any creed. In addition to how, in response, God may contain Evil’s Power, the quiet repetition daily reminds me of The ‘Do What’s Safe for Minds and Bodies’ Way. I gain much from that reminder. In addition, I gain from the Sleep, Diet, Exercise, Posture, Circulation, and Room steps that for decades I have recommended for brain sharpness for speed-reading and speed-rote-memorising for study and work. 21
Also, whenever I want a ‘break’ from the tyranny of fatigue or worrisome inconclusive thinking, I lower or close my eyelids and quietly count from 1 to 10. I do so over and over (sometimes until I fall asleep, if that is the outcome I desire), until I feel like tackling the inconclusive thinking and other tasks again. My study of how vocal muscles work as we read and think tells me, as does such daily counting, that I can’t so count and worry at the same time. I should also add that walking with eyelids lowered lets me relax as I walk along busy streets, as if alone in the countryside or at a sea front. 22
I find it also gain when I focus on the first of the three outcome stages that follow saying Yes or No to the Urge to do what’s unsafe. When we say No we instantly feel ‘the sweet smell of success’. We then add to that feeling when we think about the successes of the two later outcome stages, that is, enhanced Mind and Body well-being while Here on Earth and (Christians believe) enhanced Mind well-being Hereafter *. When we say Yes we feel the opposite — ‘the sour smell of failure’ thrice. A focus on success at the first stage powerfully motivates me to say No whenever I feel the Urge. So, I see each such feeling as a God-given, challenging opportunity to feel ‘the sweet smell of success’ three times. 23
* The man who infringes even one of the least of these Commandments and teaches others to do the same will be considered the least in the Kingdom of Heaven; but the man who keeps them and teaches them will be considered great in the Kingdom of Heaven. (Jesus Christ 5:19
But for three reasons I would leave things at that. The first reason is based on the ‘Love (i.e. help) others as you love yourself’ words of Christ. It prompts me to petition for everyone. A second reason reinforces that. It is based in the fact that the more others Do What’s Safe etc. the greater the chances of my being spared Mutilations etc. due to their Unsafe doings. I see such doing all round, near and far. I don’t see the doers as stupid fools or evil persons. I see them as fooled persons. They don’t know that the Evil One ceaselessly tries to get them to be such doers and that God is ever-ready to help them to do what is safe. That is why, to help others and for my self-protection, I often say The Protection Petition detailed in Par 20. That is particularly necessary where too few Christian Ministers exhort their followers to so petition. But, then, that leaves their followers free to do so themselves and to promote the saying of that Petition. 24
The third reason is based on the ‘When bad men combine, good men must associate’ words of Edmund Burke. I have rephrased it to say ‘When Fooled men (including some Christian Ministers) combine to conceal what Evil does, Safe men must associate to reveal by publicising what Evil does and what to Do to Be Safe’. The latter is what this story does via this remarkable modern global Medium. Free of publicity expenses, it lets me and others globally draw the attention to what Evil does and what to Do to Be Safe’, whether we think as Secularists or as Christians. Discussion of “What’s Safe for Minds and Bodies” can unify people of all creeds to preclude Unsafe-based Mutilations, Killings, Miseries and Regrets. But, such is the Power of The Seductive Urge, it can’t and won’t unless and until Christians petition enough for that purpose. That’s my message to fellow-Christians everywhere. 25
This The Seductive Urge story is, I suggest, a wake-up call. It is especially apt, I think, at a time when technologies and climate change are set to impact cataclysmically, with the help of the consequences of Unsafe activities. I’m reminded of a popular song’s “Freedom’s just another word for ‘nothing left to do’” words. We’ll all be free when everyone is ‘Doing what’s Safe for Minds and Bodies’. That will preclude the Unsafe things that the Power of The Seductive Urge may get people to do and cause. That will happen when we shake of the shackles of being Exiles on Earth. In a sense, the sooner that happens the better. Ultimately, for us there will be ‘nothing left to do’ on Earth. We’ll then all enjoy being Safe forever. The more we use The Safe Way we more we shall also, in the meantime, enjoy being Safe. The more The Protection Petition is repeated the more will that be so. How much that happens during our individual Exile periods depends on individual awareness of three things — the Power of The Seductive Urge, The Safe Way antidote and The Protection Petition. That’s the overall point of this story. 26
Joe Foyle, Ranelagh, Dublin 6, Ireland. firstname.lastname@example.org
19 September 2016