I’m so appreciative that you've taken time again to walk with me today. My third entry in this discourse leads me to the third of the triplets mentioned by Plato in his examination of human life. Plato said “Human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge”

People have said for years that knowledge is power. I partially agree with that. My opinion is that the proper application of knowledge is power. Knowledge alone without deployment is simply potential never knowing the realization of what it could do. To have knowledge and not apply it is like a man receiving a cashier’s check for one million dollars and within thirty days afterwards he gets evicted from his house and is driven to a life of homelessness. Having a cashier’s check isn’t enough to change anyone’s fortune. You must cash the check and utilize the funds in order to truly gain.

God declares in sacred scripture that “my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…” Hosea 4:6. A lack of knowledge can put you in perilous situations and insure a poor outcome. If a family member falls to the floor in front of you convulsing because they are choking on something that has blocked their wind pipe, what you do next can determine whether they live or die. If you have knowledge of how to dislodge the object and you utilize it the loved one has a chance to live. An old saying is “what they don’t know won’t hurt them.” But my saying is “what you don’t know can kill you.

My father, Bishop Charlie Green Jr., a man of wisdom and unparalleled integrity, has a powerful truth that he’s uttered for decades. He would say “people would do better if they knew better”. That is true in many cases. Many people would make better choices if they just had more information before they made their decision. It is very difficult to be effective in anything without knowledge. Marriages fail because people don’t know how to be married. Families are dysfunctional because many people don’t know how to be functional. Some people are poor because they don’t know how to manage money.

Osama Bin Laden
War has been waged for centuries on this planet. Most think that sheer military might wins battles but that’s not really true. Intelligence tips the scales of war. Spies who work undercover, drones that secretly scour airspace, hackers that infiltrate, encrypted, military, firewalls, and other intelligence gathering resources, collect information that gives countries an advantage. Bin laden was killed because of intelligence. An informant discovered where he was hiding and passed the information through the proper channels. If you know the strengths and weaknesses of your enemy you can win the war. 

It’s close to impossible to win any personal battles or wars without knowing something about yourself and your enemies. Empowering yourself with information that enlightens and clarifies leads to the formulation of strategy and tactical plans that can give you a chance to win in life. Knowledge of God, self, friends, enemies, and more, is imperative if you plan to reach your goals and dreams. We must be willing to make the necessary sacrifices to limit our indulgences in things that don’t feed us with knowledge and understanding. It takes passion and a commitment to knowledge in order to consistently partake of its sweet nectar of empowerment.  “The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, but the mouths of fools feed on folly.” Proverbs 15:14. Knowledge is an indispensable key that unlocks the door to MASTERING YOURSELF.

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The Faces of Emotion
Thanks for returning. In my last entry I started a discourse on suggesting a better world requires a better you. If Plato is accurate that “Human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge” then it is imperative that we begin the work of mastering these areas.  This entry I want to discuss what I believe is probably the second most powerful of the three things Plato mentions and that is emotion. I might even add that emotion could trump knowledge in many cases as the most prolific.

Knowledge is potent but it’s bland and tasteless. Knowledge independent of emotion is color without flair, a movie without action or drama, food without taste, and a canvas without color, shape, and imagery. When people discover knowledge there typically is an emotion attached to it that drives them to become excited or depressed about what they've just learned.

Emotion is the affective, motivating, and interpretive part of our being. It literally converts raw data the mind processes into sensual reality. People rarely act on anything without emotion. How many times have you heard people say “I’ll do it if I feel like it or “I just don’t feel like it”? An unspoken mantra for society revolves around feeling. If it feels good people do it. We typically help people when we feel like it. Most people love based on feeling. Others work jobs based on feeling. I’ve made the statement for years that “emotion is the drug of the masses”.

Our physiology is neurologically constructed to produce emotion. Therefore our being is so hardwired to feel until it’s hard to escape the grip of emotion. We tend to interpret truth and make life-changing decisions based on what we feel in the moment. The world revolves around various positive and negative emotions. People make war based on anger or emotions that induce a state of fear, another emotion. Peace has even been brokered because someone felt like we needed to make amends. We use alcohol, drugs, and engage in sexual activities to chase a much coveted emotion that comes from pleasure. Listen I could literally go on forever with this. We are emotional junkies who will fight to our last breath to defend what feels right and be factually wrong. I state here for the record emotion is good when used properly. Please understand my revelations on this.

Adolph Hitler
When something as powerful as emotion has the greatest potential to do unmatched good it stands to reason that the polar opposite in misguided emotion can be the greatest undoing. Adolph Hitler the devious and maniacal leader of Germany in the early twentieth century ruled with fear, intimidation, and deception. He once said "I use emotion for the many and reserve reason for the few”. Adolph preached nationalism mixed with imperialism and intentionally aimed at the emotional heart-strings of people to bend them to his will. Emotion unchecked can create a frenzy of mindless souls who indiscriminately unleash, moral degeneration, pain, and carnage on present and future generations.

Making excuses to please our emotions will lead to a wild, untamed, entitled, selfish, and amoral society. A key piece to success is learning how to manage our emotions so that we can make good, sound, personal, and business decisions. A feeling may be good and empowering in the moment but it can get you a life sentence of misery, poverty, loss, and dead dreams. You can achieve incredible success and be effective in impacting the world but it will come at a price. Managing your emotions is the price you must pay to succeed and another step on the journey to MASTERING YOURSELF.

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A Chaotic World
It is no great mystery to me why the world is ill. Crime, perversion, abuse, rebellion, spiritual confusion, lack of identity, selfishness, deception, and more, roams our planet in overabundance. All of these ill-fated, ill-reputed, pathologies are deeply rooted in humanity.

Why is it on one hand we see the best of humanity but on the other hand we see the worst? What’s the difference between a murderer and a non-murderer? What’s the difference between serial cheaters and the faithful? What’s the difference between the sexually promiscuous and the chaste? Why do some abuse drugs and others don’t? Why do some abuse alcohol and others don’t? Why are some marriages good and others bad? Why is the perception of God changing for the worse? Why is it that everyone believes they should do what they want, when they want? Why are there so many confusing religious groups and beliefs?

Plato said “Human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge” The constructive and destructive behavior in our world is impacted by the three things Plato mentions. Let’s begin with desire. Would the world be a better place if everybody got what they desired?

For example, if the traffic light was red and you pursued your desire to run it because you’re in a hurry you’ll not only jeopardize your life but the lives of others. What if other drivers approaching the red light are thinking like you? If people started deciding they should be able to run the red light whenever they please the accident and death rates will increase. The traffic light scenario is a metaphor for life. Laws and standards help establish order and keep us safe. We can’t act on selfish desires without seeing negative consequences.  

Honestly, we all are defective to a certain point and therefore our desires aren’t always pure or right. If everybody got everything they desired both good and bad there would be anarchy and great destruction. We’ve got to be real with ourselves, sometimes we desire things that just aren’t good for us or others. Instead of justifying inappropriate desires and harmful behavior we must learn to master our desires.  

Proverbs 25:28 “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.” ESV. When we lack self-control we become vulnerable, defenseless, people, who are susceptible to most anything. Our spirituality, morality, and humanity, are all degenerating, simply because the world has decided it doesn’t want to do without what it desires even when it’s bad.

We’ll deal with emotion in the next entry but I’ll leave this with you. We can change the world one person at a time and we can change our lives one day at a time. But the real key to a better world and a better you is to first stop making excuses about inappropriate desires and start MASTERING YOURSELF!

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