Thursday, June 17, 2010

War II

Let me remind you of a fun game you can play with your 1 year old child.

Step 1) Wait until they pick up something you don't want them to put in their mouth (Like your game console controller).

Step 2) Approach them very carefully by getting their attention with a toy you know they will be interested in. (Sorry Mom, for the dangling participle....I'm getting lazy.)

Step 3) While handing them the toy with one hand, casually extract the controller with the other, hide it behind your back and "Voila!," they forget they had the controller in the first place.

Psychologists call this Re-di-rec-tion.

Normal people call it, distraction.

It is a powerful technique by any name.

Let's try it with war: Operation Overlord or D-Day occurred June 6, 1944. The build up to the ultimately successful invasion of Eastern Europe by allied forces required months and months of build up of forces and supplies. The allies were faced with the realization that the Nazis would know that "something" was coming and thus, turned to a remarkable and ingenious series of "redirections" or "distractions" to keep the Nazis from focusing on the real danger. For example:

"An entirely fictitious First U.S. Army Group ("FUSAG"), supposedly located in southeastern Britain under the command of General McNair and General Patton was created in German minds by the use of double agents and fake radio traffic. Dummy tanks (some inflatable), trucks, and landing craft, as well as troop camp facades (constructed from scaffolding and canvas) were placed in ports on the eastern and southeastern coasts of Britain, and the German Air Force was allowed to photograph them. The Allied Forces even went as far as to broadcast static over Axis accessible radioways and convinced Germany to expend efforts to try to decode white noise, further leading Germany away from the upcoming Normandy invasion." (Wikipedia "Operation Overlord") ((Yes...I use Wiki.)

Amazing what we humans can do; how wars are won, with lies.
I think our ability to "redirect" pales to white in comparison with our enemies'. One of the greatest weapons he has is his ability to convince us that we should be looking at all the "bright and shineys" over here rather than to the "boring stuff" over there. A few practical examples:

I could have spent 30 minutes this morning reading, but instead surfed the internet. I could have awakened early and prayed...just for 10 minutes or so...I slept that extra 10 minutes. I could have averted my eyes from the attractive pictures...but didn't. (That was just a made up example for the blog honey.)

Now. I don't know if we have a personal "demon" or "demons" which fly around after us with little red bat wings whispering temptations in our ears. Knowing just a little about human nature, I believe that would be overkill for most of us because the layers and layers of lies have been crafted to hit us right where we are weakest. Freud called it the Pleasure Principle and Immediate Gratification. We like what we like when we like it. It's unconscious, it's immediate, and, in the moment, it's Oh so good.

But it's all a mirage, a redirection. "Just one little smoke. Just one little drink. Just one little peek. Just one little...."

Just one little doesn't exist for most humans. If that "one little" feels good, our animal selves note that it didn't kill us, so, why not go for a second little...

So we who were "set free" decide to trade our chains for blindfolds and ear muffs.

Why practice the fight when we can watch TV instead? Why study when we can go out? Why listen to the truth when the lies feel so good, and seem so the moment.

The bible writers called it our "flesh." Over and over they drew a distinct divide between our flesh and our spirit. Our flesh, ruled by instinct and urges, and our spirit, able to be changed, filled, "born again."

Either way. "Born again" or not, I know most recognize this famous quote from the apostle Paul:

"For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwells no good thing. For to will is present with me, but how to perform that which is good I do not find. For I do not do the good that I desire; but the evil which I do not will, that I do." Romans 7:18-19

In other words: When I pause to reflect, I know exactly what I should be doing...but 95% of the time, I choose the alternatives...and there are so many!

In a way, Paul seems to be identifying a battle with himself...yet we were created to not suffer this war. Thus, the war has been brought to us...the enemy preys on what have become our weaknesses.

We are at war against an enemy who simply has to turn up the volume, or shine a brighter light on those things which will tickle our desires...and we drop out of the fight.

So what weapons do we have against this enemy.

"So humble yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you." James 4:7

Practically, what does this mean. Pray? Verbally rebuke "Satan?"

Whatever works...but I think once we realize we are faced with some temptation we need to resist, part of the battle has been turned in our favor. The curtain is pulled back, or the "veil over our eyes" has been lifted enough for us to realize and acknowledge that we are in a battle...a serious battle.

I used to, and still sometimes do say, "Shut up!" I've prayed before for strength and faith in those moments. Recently, what really seems to work for me when I do it is simply say clearly, "That's a lie." I don't know what that does on a "spirit" level...or even if it does anything at all. I do know that, on a flesh level...I HATE lies. And I HATE, HATE being lied too. The recognition that I (or maybe even the enemy) is trying to lie to me gives me the emotional "UMF" to "turn away" and go about my business.

That's my two cents on just one of the many weapons at the enemy's disposal...the invisible weapon of redirection.

War III will involve the weapon which all of us know all too well...which threatens to defeat me even today. It bears a little more resemblance to false threat warfare (E.g. "You don't have time to pray, you're about to lose your job!")


  1. Good post.

    Another "redirection" ploy used by the Allies in WW2 involved a dead guy, a briefcase, and Greece. Something out of an Ian Flemming novel. Partially because it was dreamed up by Ian Flemming!

    The link is to a podcast that talks about it. Worth the download and listen!

    31/05/10 Pt 3: WW2 Caper

    WW2 Caper - Dead men don't tell lies, do they? How a prevaricating corpse changed the course of the Second World War.

  2. Thanks! I'm going there to check it out now.

  3. Wow. Good stuff. On a day when I really needed it. :)