“Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves; be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.”
Blink, The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, by Malcolm Gladwell is a fascinating book; and, Mr. Gladwell is easily becoming one of my favorite authors. In Blink, he outlines the many ways we subconsciously absorb information without really thinking about it; and, further delves into how our subconscious perceptions undermine our conscious perceptions without us really "knowing" it, shaping our personalities, actions, habits, likes, dislikes, etc.
As I read the book, the thought occurred to me how important it was to streamline the things (i.e. movies, news, books, music, and other forms of entertainment) we constantly ingest so we are not inclined to do things that go against our moral resolve. According to the book, a grouping of words or images with key connections, can penetrate our subconscious and manipulate us into doing something, without complete awareness of why we are doing it. From a marketing perspective, I know this is true; we call it advertising, or more precise, subliminal advertising.
I interrupt young people all the time, especially young men, if I hear them rapping the illicit lyrics of a song, certain that they are consciously unaware of the words they are reiterating. In many instances they tell me that they simply love the "beat" of the song, not really paying attention to the lyrics. However, I often explain to them that, what they do not know is that the lyrics sit in their subconscious mind manipulating them to act in ways that may go against their conscious behavior.
As Christians we are not immune to subliminal advertising, we respond exactly the same way as non-Christians. The difference is, we consciously read, listen, and strengthen our moral character by embracing biblical principles. However, we are part of society, and everything is secular—everything is cultural. I am not saying that in order to love God, we should sit idling in a monastery or convent; no, our eyes should be wide open. I believe you should be aware of the traits of society and culture, so that it does not become a lure or trap for you. Becoming an ostrich with your head buried in the sand does not make you immune—it makes you prey. Jesus deeply understood this when He said, “…be as wise as a serpent, and as harmless as a dove.” L.
Study Reference: Matthew 10:16
From:"The Power to Blink." In The Master's Hands: 365 Daily Devotions for Everyday Living.
Copyright © 2014 by Lavona E. Campbell
photo: Masks by Alexander Khokhlov