Thursday, September 19, 2019

The Way of the Shortcut?

Shortcuts can prove useful at times, but how often do they prove the way of compromise and deception? Here is, perhaps, the first recorded attempt at a shortcut to power:
[B]ehold, the devil was before Adam, for he rebelled against me [God], saying, Give me thine honor,[1] which is my power;2

For thou [O Lucifer] hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.3
Sometime thereafter, we encounter Cain taking a shortcut to power and gain:
And Cain said: Truly I am Mahan, the master of this great secret, that I may murder and get gain. Wherefore Cain was called Master Mahan, and he gloried in his wickedness.4
Do we ever ask ourselves where we are? on the path5? on a shortcut? or somewhere in-between? Here are some questions for reflection about shortcuts:
▪ Do headlines and history not witness that shortcuts are the preoccupation of the “natural man” when pursuing power, wealth, fame, knowledge, health, fitness, enlightenment, success, etc. etc.?
▪ Does taking psychedelic drugs give “access to higher spiritual dimensions”?6 or is it just déjà vu Eden where we are persuaded that the mere consuming of some physical substance will make us “more like unto the Gods” without developing the attributes of Gods?
▪ What of taking steroids, and the like for athletic enhancements and performance?
▪ What of medicating instead of adjusting diet and lifestyle?
▪ What of controlling relationships with mood in place of authentic, charitable communication?
▪ What of reading only the CliffsNotes?
▪ Have we ever been (or ever) defrauded, conned, or plagiarized for gain?
▪ How informed can we be about any issue if we do not study and prove all things7?
▪ How often does the preference for shortcuts generate evil ends as people compromise or sell their souls for quick rewards?
▪ What are the preferred shortcuts in our personal lives?
1. Honor (noun)
1a: good name or public esteem : REPUTATION
  b: a showing of usually merited respect: RECOGNITION
3: a person of superior standing —now used especially as a title for a holder of high office
4: one whose worth brings respect or fame: CREDIT
6: an evidence or symbol of distinction: such as
   a: an exalted title or rank
   d: archaic : a gesture of deference : BOW
   e: honors plural
8a: a keen sense of ethical conduct: INTEGRITY
  b: one's word given as a guarantee of performance
(Source: )
2. Doctrine and Covenants | Section 29:36
3. Old Testament | Isaiah 14:13–14
4. Pearl of Great Price | Moses 5:31
5. New Testament | Matthew 7:13–14 ~ Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
6. Michael Pollan on the therapeutic use of psychedelic drugs (Encore Sept. 25, 2018)
7. New Testament | 1 Thessalonians 5:21 ~ Prove all things; hold fast that which is good  [—instead of rigidly holding to dogmas, wishes, expectations, personalities, biases, prejudices, "hard priors" as in: "If you have a strongly held belief with an emotional component, the brain defends information that reinforces those ‘priors’ and is skeptical of information that challenges them. … People who hold these hard priors filter information to support their perceptions." (From the work of political scientist Hank Jenkins-Smith of the University of Oklahoma as quoted, in Newsweek, October 13, 2010, pp. 29-30 by science writer Sharon Begley about voter tendencies—observations that seem applicable to almost everything that requires choice or discernment), ETC. We all do it, but awareness may sometimes help circumvent it.]

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