Thursday, October 4, 2012

This Fiery Flesh

The higher brain should dominate the lower brain. In other words, the higher faculties (reason, conviction) should restrain the lower faculties (appetites, passions). To further paraphrase, the base instincts (food, sexual cravings) ought always to be in subjection to good old good sense. This was taught to me in church one afternoon. I found that the teaching sat well in my brain. That was the theory bit. But life is not a written exam.

The practical application is difficult! Mostly, this is because the lower faculties (especially the lust component) have instant reaction times and concretely tangible reflexes – hard to ignore. To further complicate matters, we live in times when the lower faculties are nourished endlessly. This means that whosoever would have their higher faculties guide them MUST constantly be rejecting the prevailing immoral milieu. A difficult task, tiring the brain, and apparently unrewarding for the most part. All it would take to fail would be one inopportune moment of letting down the guard.

Or shall we blame our bodies? As a guy, I believe I speak representatively when I say sex occupies a disproportionate percentage of my gender’s brain CPU and memory usage, for all the effort and ingenuity we collectively expend on pursuing it. And the fashion industry isn’t helping either. So, every other minute, along comes another pretty young lady (un)dressed in the latest fashion whose designer was more concerned with revealing than concealing. What’s a man to do? A defeatist would say we are wired that way; so be it.

One misplaced thought is bad enough; how then can we survive the ongoing 24/7 assault on our minds? The cult of instant gratification observes most seductive rituals, addictive traps for souls. If we escape it in the media, our associates pick it up and bring it into our lives via their talk, fashion, entertainment, lifestyles. This strong liquor is everywhere, maddening, inflaming the nerves, rousing the lower brain on to new conquests.

I think the hardest fight everyone has to fight – on the individual level - is the fight of the higher brain against the lower brain. And we are all called to fight that fight. Avoidance is better than cure, so see no evil, hear no evil. Fortunately, just in case these heated combats somehow arise, we also have a fire extinguisher on hand. It’s called PRAYER. It works every time.

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