Phyllis Beveridge Nissila
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus Philippians 2:5
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).
Entrainment is a phenomenon that occurs when two things with a common element synchronize. Miriam Webster Online describes it as “(determining) or (modifying)the phase or period of something”. Examples include circadian rhythms entrained by the light cycle, and pace makers entrained with heart rhythms. This phenomenon was first discovered by Dutch physicist Christiaan Huygens, the inventor of the pendulum clock, who observed that two of his clocks mounted on a common board eventually synchronized, pulled together you might say. Further studies confirmed this.
Now for the comparison to what may be an element in today’s political rage.
In this political era when more and more people are being swept up into a rage of seemingly biblical proportions where reason no longer seems to hold weight in civil debate, rather, the money seems to be on (and often supports) suppression of sanity* Americans observe with dismay and growing fear the vandalism, vitriol and violence that increasingly shuts down not only free speech but also actual/real solutions to political and social problems. In a way, you might say that the “common ground” of the scene of protests-cum-riots reveals a sinister kind of entrainment and a powerful one. Of course, mob mentality, peer pressure, and terror also explain why people are pulled into lock-think when destruction reigns.
But whether ages-old persuasion techniques or, as it might now be dubbed, social entrainment explains the increasing state of political rage, the results are the same: people become more fearful of expressing their needs and less inclined to speak truth to the powerful–and increasingly dangerous–violence-mongers. Old-fashioned fascism (newly marketed but with irony intact) increases its iron grasp of minds and hearts and another nation based on democratic principles may soon bite the dust.
Because the end game of evil is more evil.
Whether or not this deteriorating state of affairs is the darkening prelude to the real Armageddon I will leave to prophecy experts. But few people are left who have not noticed something wicked this way comes unless it can be stopped by those who dare to resist the violence, hatred, bigotry, chaos, and destruction.
Some believe the violence is justified, going so far as to cite how Jesus Christ overturned the tables of the greedy money-changers in the temple. He was displaying righteous anger, to be sure. But Jesus didn’t remain angry. He knew well the admonition to not let the sun go down on that potent emotion. And, more importantly, after exposing the evil, He moved forward with the solution in the order it had been prophesied. And His mission wasn’t to destroy, rather, to free.
By contrast, what is being exposed now in the fast-deteriorating political climate in this 21st century is only anger. And anger, like misery that loves company (another form of social entrainment?), only intensifies as working for actual solutions is (literally and figuratively) shouted down. Let’s only hope true progress doesn’t disintegrate altogether.
So, how is a body to resist? Overcome? Get back to civility? Whatever happens on the ground, believers have another power. Consider.
ENTRAINMENT WITH THE MIND OF CHRIST
As noted in the Scriptures cited above, in addition to reason, believers have another recourse to resisting the emotional instability–and dangerous entrainment–of today’s rage-filled and reason-challenged political climate.
If we are to “know” (come to know, learn, realize) Christ as born again believers, there are certain benefits, one of which is sound-mindedness [sophronismos: derived from sṓphrōn, “truly moderate”– properly, safe-minded, issuing in prudent [“sensible”] behavior that “fits” a situation, i.e. aptly acting out God’s will by doing what He calls sound reasoning [used only in 2 Tim 1:7].)
The other benefit, of course, is what wisdom comes when we submit to the Holy Spirit that Jesus gifted believers on their spiritual re-birth–and through the Baptism of the Holy Spirit— that continues to guide us in tough situations such as today’s chaos-entrained political realm and such as when we want to know what God’s will is (not “the people’s will,” whomever they may be, whatever that may be, fickle, greedy, and untrustworthy as the race tends to be, left unchecked).
Make sense? I hope so. I pray so.
Carry on in the mind** of Christ, brothers and sisters, for what destruction we may allay in what time remains.
And don’t forget to armor up.
*Consider the following, just one of the latest examples of alt-left-think that has rational folks scratching their heads in utter disbelief. But this is likely to happen when reason is banned from–or forced out of–the debate and the (mental) door is left open to what may enter:
**This definition from the Greek is best savored–and pondered–in toto:
5426 phronéō (from 5424 /phrḗn, “the midriff or diaphragm; the parts around the heart,” J. Thayer) – properly, regulate (moderate) from within, as inner-perspective (insight) shows itself in corresponding, outward behavior. 5426(phronéō) essentially equates to personal opinion fleshing itself out in action(see J. Thayer). This idea is difficult to translate into English because it combines the visceral and cognitive aspects of thinking.