Saturday, June 23, 2012

Who Is Crazy?

Mental illness is rampant in human society. A great deal of crime is committed by the mentally ill, and clearly many of the world's worst leaders - if not all - were and are paranoid sociopaths. We all know their names. But huge numbers of seemingly ordinary people also suffer serious disorders of the mind. A shocking report from Europe was issued in September, 2011:

Nearly Four In Ten Europeans Are Mentally Ill

(Reuters) - Europeans are plagued by mental and neurological illnesses, with almost 165 million people, or 38 percent of the population suffering each year from a brain disorder such as depression, anxiety, insomnia or dementia, according to a large new study.  (Italics mine).

With only about a third of cases receiving the therapy or medication needed, mental illnesses cause a huge economic and social burden -- measured in the hundreds of billions of euros -- as sufferers become too unwell to work and personal relationships break down.... At the same time, some big drug companies are backing away from investment in research on how the brain works and affects behavior, putting the onus on governments and health charities to step up funding for neuroscience.

"The immense treatment gap ... for mental disorders has to be closed," said Hans Ulrich Wittchen, director of the institute of clinical psychology and psychotherapy at Germany's Dresden University and the lead investigator on the European study.... Wittchen's team looked at about 100 illnesses covering all major brain disorders from anxiety and depression to addiction to schizophrenia, as well as major neurological disorders including epilepsy, Parkinson's and multiple sclerosis....

Wittchen led a three-year study covering 30 European countries -- the 27 European Union member states plus Switzerland, Iceland and Norway -- and a population of 514 million people. (end of report)

The situation is almost certainly as bad in the U.S. and the rest of the world. This is equivalent to the great plagues of history, which were common until antibiotics were invented. Mentally ill people suffer terribly, and they also cause others around them to suffer. Many will 'project' their disease outward, and accuse normal people around them of being ill. If they are in positions of authority this is extremely dangerous.

The really tragic thing is that we don't have a cure. In spite of deep scientific study since Sigmund Freud in the late 19th Century, mental illness persists. It's true that many advances in drug therapy have controlled the symptoms, and people can often live almost normal lives if they have access to them. But cures remain elusive.

This author's experience is that religious faith is a cure for all illness, pain, and suffering. With willpower and faith in God's goodness the human mind can work miracles within our bodies. God is life, and life is good. Goodness and life can conquer all disease, even the disease of death. Prayer is extremely powerful, and faith will come with prayer. That faith will magnify prayer, and the effect will build and strengthen.
This testimony will show you the way:

Now is a good time to pray. This is as prayer poem:   

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so:
For those whom thou thinkest thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death; nor yet canst thou kill me.
From Rest and Sleep, which but thy picture be,
Much pleasure, then from thee much more must flow;
And soonest our best men with thee do go--
Rest of their bones and souls' delivery!
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell;
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke. Why swellest thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
 And Death shall be no more: Death, thou shalt die!

- John Donne  (1572 - 1631)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Real Meaning of Wealth and Money

Parables are the best way to understand our relationship with God and the world, and Jesus used them all the time. God is a "king"; the world is "a field"; spiritual riches are "gold and silver", or "wheat", or "the harvest";  birds and brambles are "the evils of this world". This is a favorite of mine:

“Therefore stay alert, because you do not know the day or the hour. For it is like a man going on a journey, who summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them. To one he gave five measures of gold, to another two, and to another one, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey...."
 - Matthew 25:14-30

We are God's "slaves", and we've been given gifts of "gold" to invest, and He will return to collect what he gave us. Whatever is left over from our investments is ours. But what should we  invest in? Well, we have to figure that out. We would be well advised to imitate our master and buy seed, or vines. We could sow wheat or plant a vineyard. The important thing is to engage in commerce, have faith, and produce. Success is assured if we imitate the master. Jesus tells us, "He is greatest among you who is the servant of all."
Spiritually speaking, the second meaning of this parable is that we should seek God above all things. God wants us to engage in commerce with Him. He wants something from us and we desperately need and want what He has; that is, eternal life in profound joy and pleasure. We can escape death with God's help.

This parable - and others - prove that Marxist/Socialists are lying when they say Jesus was a socialist, and they try to put on the cloak of Judeo-Christianity. The wealthy who create, produce, and share their wealth by giving others opportunities are the most welcome in Heaven.
Most important, the natural, real world is made up of hierarchies. There's no such thing as equality in the narrow, human sense. We all have unique talents, abilities, and shortcomings. We don't all want the same things, in spite of what politicians tell us. Not all people want to be rich and powerful; brilliant and accomplished. Some of us want to serve and be of real value to the world and to the Lord.

This planet belongs to God, regardless of what we think or desire. It's not "your land" or "my land, from California to the New York island"; no thank you, Woody Guthrie. 
We are given power in it to create things on our own.
What are we to make, then, of the world's rapid decline into debt, economic depression,and bankruptcy? Every nation in the world is now in grave danger, vulnerable to forces that are out of control, and very few saw the danger coming just a few short years ago.
God has an eternal enemy, Satan, and he has convinced us that there is no God. He's even convinced most people that he, the Devil, doesn't exist. The world is going to Hell all by itself, it appears. Obviously, we are clearly in over our heads today, and all the experts and geniuses who designed the monetary and government systems have failed. Get ready for massive changes.

The one thing we must know and keep in our mind is this: It was all predicted thousands of years ago, and God's plan is in place. Make peace with your God and serve your God. That is our first and best duty and hope.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Are Money and Wealth the Same Thing?

If money were wealth, we could order governments to print up as much as we want and distribute it to us by mail. We could all be millionaires in a week. Or multimillionaires.  Why not?

Because of the finite supply of goods.  There are only so many Ferraris to go around, or ruby rings, filet mignons, or luxury cruises. Money is just like ration coupons. People with a great desire for a Ferrari will give a lot of their ration coupons, and bidding will cause the coupon price to soar. This is inflation, too many dollars, or euros, chasing too few goods.

The tsunami of commentary on Greece and the pending EU crackup has failed to enlighten us on the critical issue of the nature of wealth. True wealth consists of all the goods and services you have - or that your nation has - that people want, at home and abroad. Greece is a mess because they produce almost nothing and import almost everything. The EU has given them welfare - free goods and services in the form of euros - for over ten years. If Greece gets booted from the EU and reverts to the drachma, they will be useful only in the bathroom.

Germany is rich because they produce a lot of goods and services that people want. If they revert to Deutschmarks, everyone will be glad to accept and hoard them.

Why are the most brilliant and educated minds - here and overseas - unable to cope with the economic monsters (the European Union, the World Bank, the Federal Reserve) they've created? Logic and science guided them every step of the way, they thought. But they ignored the laziness and base desires of people, papering over the darkness of the human mind.

For eighty years, one man, John Maynard Keynes (1883 to 1946), pretty much dictated economic philosophy worldwide, and had his way with government policy. His theories went almost unquestioned until recently, and are at the core of our rotten financial foundation.

Keynes said, "The gold standard is a barbarous relic...", and he stated that we would all be better off if all the gold in the world were sunk in the deepest part of the ocean.

In other words, money is wealth, and it need not be tangible and intrinsic. Money and wealth are whatever government authorities say they are. Dictators have always loved Keynes, because he created the illusion that he and they are alchemists who can make the worthless valuable by government order.

The ideas of John Maynard Keynes are the true soul of Liberalism, a Utopian delusion of plenty with no sacrifice.

Before Keynes, we were guided by the financial theories of Adam Smith and David Hume,  18th Century thinkers with proven wisdom.

Hume said, "Money is not, properly speaking, one of the subjects of commerce; but only the instrument which men have agreed upon to facilitate the exchange of one commodity for another. It is none of the wheels of trade: It is the oil which renders the motion of the wheels more smooth and easy..."

Milton Freedman, the conservative Nobel Prize winner, proved Keynes wrong when Ronald Reagan largely adopted his "supply side" economic model.  It was one key to Reagan's success.

We abandoned God, who is the Creator of all, including these ideas. And our Constitution, and our individual rights. This is why we suffer.