Seek ye first the top priority (and then all else shall be added unto you)

Self-evident truths:

the farmer in love - il contadino innamorato

the farmer in love – il contadino innamorato (Photo credit: Uberto)

Different patterns of behavior produce different patterns of results. Possible results include clarity or confusion, goodwill or ill will, prosperity or poverty, and agony or salvation.
Now, imagine that there are two farmers and one is confused, distracted, agonizing, panicking, and terrified of failing, then that farmer may be quite ineffective and unproductive. Another farmer may be clear, experienced, mature, resourceful, and insightful and may even take actions to impair the clarity and productivity of a competitor (to contribute to the confusion and ineffectiveness and poverty and agony of the other farmer).
 
In regard to agony, agony (or “hell”) is one possible result. Agony results from the behavior of agonizing. Because agonizing is optional, agony is optional. Agony only results when the behavior of agonizing persists. There is a way to live that does not include agonizing or agony. We can label that way of living salvation or heaven or the extinction of agony (“nirvana”). That result has always been available and is available now. In the language of the Buddhist tradition, the principles regarding the arising of agony and the extinction of agony are called the four noble truths. However, these same principles are found in every language and every culture and every religious tradition- though there are many translators and interpreters of these principles and so many different levels of clarity or confusion can be recognized as obvious to one who knows these principles as self-evident.
Pattern

Pattern (Photo credit: digikuva)

 

 
In regard to confusion, confusion (or “purgatory”) is one possible result. Confusion results from the behavior in language of confusing one thing for something else. Confusion involves mislabeling, misclassifying, misperceiving, misinterpreting, or mistaking one thing for something else. Confusion only results from a conflict between a pre-existing expectation and later experience. When a new actual experience is so startling or shocking that there is a panic of clinging to an old expectation and rejecting of the recent experience, that process can be labeled as denial or trauma. The panic of confusing one thing for another may be very brief (only momentary) or can last for decades. Such a panic of confusing one thing for another is the only way to produce ill will (whether brief or enduring). After the relaxing of a panic of confusion, ill will dissolves and clarity arises (along with humility, maturity, and goodwill).
Fentress County Jail entrance

Fentress County Jail entrance (Photo credit: SeeMidTN.com (aka Brent))

 
In regard to ill will, first, let us be clear that ill will is distinct from aggression and violence and coercion.  For instance, a predator has no ill will for prey, like a bully or law enforcement officer may have no ill will for a specific target of bullying or law enforcement. Aggression may or may not include ill will and ill will may or may not include passive aggression or any other form of direct interaction. Ill will is a specific form of fear or panic which involves language and labeling. The labeling of someone or some group as a threat, an adversary, an enemy, a devil, or a villain is called vilifying or demonizing (which is similar but distinct from labeling someone a criminal by prosecuting an indictment and sentencing someone). In contrast to the impersonal aggression of warfare as well as systems of criminalizing certain behaviors, personal ill will is only the result of hysterical vilifying, which only results from a panic of confusing one thing for something else, which only results from agonizing over how to cling to a false expectation in denying some prior experience that was extremely frightening.
Georgia Guidestones

Georgia Guidestones (Photo credit: The Rocketeer)

 
We can label some experience as “what should not be” or “what should not have been.” That is called denial. It is very common- even essential to the maturing of an individual. When we deny something based on a false expectation of what should be (or what should have been), we are rejecting it in favor of clinging to some false expectation (some idolatry).  Some experience may have been so terrifying for us that we remove our attention from it by distracting ourselves with some ideal that it “should not have been.” In our confused panic of clinging to a false expectation and rejecting some actual experience, we may then agonize over how to prevent “what should not have been.” We may blame some particular group or individual (or activity) as the isolated source of “what should not have been.” We may vilify them (or some behavior). We may resent them or harbor ill will or a grudge or a jealousy or a grievance. A grievance is a psychological coping mechanism for dealing with grief by blaming some vilified enemy as the isolated source of our grief, rather than fully recognizing how our own behavior was influential in producing an experience of vulnerability so terrifying that we may go around with a grievance (ill will) as we search for someone who is mature enough to accept our grievances as functional and healthy.
We may be receptive to someone who does not condemn us for our condemnation of others. We may be receptive someone who is not threatened by our experience of others as a threat. We may be receptive to someone who does not vilify us for our past behavior patterns of vilification. We may seek clarity, salvation, humility, goodwill, and even new concentrations of prosperity.
Prosperity varies in regard to how much wealth and power is concentrated around different groups and different individuals. Resources alone are not wealth. Wealth involves the way that we organize our resources. Wealth involves our patterns of behavior and speech. For instance, two adjacent plots of land that are nearly identical can produce very different yields of harvest depending on what methods of agriculture are used (if any).
English: An old farmer woman, Eastern Europe.

English: An old farmer woman, Eastern Europe. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Again, if there are two farmers and one is confused, distracted, agonizing, panicking, and terrified of failing, then that farmer may be quite ineffective and unproductive. Another farmer may be clear, experienced, mature, resourceful, and insightful and may even take actions to impair the clarity and productivity of a competitor (to contribute to the confusion and ineffectiveness and poverty and agony of the other farmer).
Again, different patterns of behavior produce different patterns of results. Possible results include clarity or confusion, goodwill or ill will, prosperity or poverty, and agony or salvation, as well as rewards and punishments.
Young’s Literal Translation
“but seek ye first the reign of God and His righteousness, and all these shall be added to you.”

In the tradition of bribing children in to conforming to desired behavior through the story of Santa Claus, we can recognize a deceptive method of influencing the behavior of others (those who are relatively naive or unperceptive) through indoctrinating the children with mythical language that obscures the outright bribery which we also may practice quite openly in other cases. In other cases, indoctrination in regard to promoting false expectations takes the form of other religious programming, public school programming, and mass media programming (including marketing). Programs in language influence attention, which influences perception, which influences behavior.

 

The Ten Commandments are displayed outside the...

The Ten Commandments are displayed outside the Wallace Courthouse (Photo credit: Ríona)

Behavior change (James)

Behavior change (James) (Photo credit: James BonTempo)

We are trained (programmed) to respect the systems of coercion known as governments. We are trained to be obedient to mandatory systems of redistributing wealth, whether in order to save ourselves from eternal torture in hell (called tithing), or the more openly coercive forms of wealth redistribution called taxation or extortion. When a particular form of payment is the only accepted form of payment for invented liability claims (of extortion AKA taxation), we can call that a court-enforced currency. The impersonal threat of violence from the operators of court systems (with no personal ill will toward the targets of the wealth redistribution program) results in public demand for a particular currency. The public will value that currency simply because that currency unit is dictated to be valuable for the payment of invented tax extortion claims.
Bill of Rights

Bill of Rights (Photo credit: david__jones)

To the extent that the public is intimidated by a particular court system of organized coercion, that system’s currency will be popular and valuable. When the public no longer deem a particular currency as holy or sacred, a court system may raise or lower tax rates in an effort to increase public compliance with their system of organized extortion. When a population no longer perceives a particular government or their myths and founding documents as holy or sacred, then a new system of organized coercion may develop to promote a new form of law and order (“justice system”) within that population. That new development may take the form or revolution or civil war or invasion by external opportunists, or the more moderate adjustments of treaties and constitutional amendments (even to revoke prior amendments).
Bill of Rights, Durban South Africa

Bill of Rights, Durban South Africa (Photo credit: bistandsaktuelt)

Each distinct system of religious justice cultivates distinct expectations in their target population. One universal element of all systems of ideology promote the worship of each particular system for governing and regulating human populations as “the best, the most holy, the most just, the most righteous, etc….” Again, programming of expectations through language influence attention, which influences perception, which influences behavior.
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