Phyllis Beveridge Nissila
As a metaphorist, that is, one who perceives the spiritual in the natural, who is inclined to regard what we see, hear, smell, taste, and touch as symbolic of the spiritual world, I’ve been observing how the myriad ways the real enemy of humankind ever morphs to new manifestations of attempted power (when once the truth emerges) in order to accomplish its ultimate goal: global dominance and the destruction of all that is good, true, noble, and holy.
As a career literature instructor, I would cite mythology as one such (figurative) representation of reality with spiritual relevance.
See what you think…
immortal able to live forever
The second of the 12 labors of Hercules…was to kill the Hydra. However, when one of the Hydra’s heads was cut off, two more grew in its place. The monster also had one immortal head. To defeat the Hydra, Hercules called on his friend Iolaus for help. As soon as Hercules cut off one head, Iolaus would seal the wound with a hot iron or a torch so that nothing could grow to replace it. After removing the Hydra’s immortal head, Hercules buried it under a large rock. He then collected the monster’s poisonous blood. In later adventures, he dipped his arrows in the blood so that they would instantly kill whomever they struck. (source) See below* for the literal definition of a hydra.
For this post, the hydra of mythology is compared to the various ways and means the literal destruction of all that is good, true, noble, and holy is accomplished in today’s real world…at least until, once again, it is exposed.
The multiple “heads” that crop up once the original is destroyed might be described, literally, as not only warfare but also law-fare (a legal “head”), word-fare (aka propaganda), institution-fare (when destruction filters through academia, religion, entertainment, etc.), crisis-fare, cyber-fare, and media-fare (a combination of all five strategies when the war-mongers consume and replace truth with here a little spin, there a little obfuscation, and so on).
You get the picture.
So to speak.
My purpose in bringing this up today is, thanks to the current crop of truth-seekers also multiplying by the day, it seems, there is a lot of exposure happening, dots being connected, links traced, and truth outed. Here is just one example of many…while cyber-fare still permits free speech.
Of course one more “-fare” is often employed to disorient and discourage the masses when truth is exposed. The name of this one is “conspiracy theory-fare”(another example of word-fare when attached to emotions) where conspiracy facts are immediately rendered conspiracy theories as another way to disparage the reader/listener from even considering truth.
Conspiracy theory-fare is very powerful because it is an emotion-grabbing, thought-stopping shaming mechanism.
When someone vets a conspiracy as truth, due to the power of emotion-based shame that can easily override critical thinking in people who are unaware, uneducated, and/or already mind and emotion controlled by the powerful and intimidating hydra of deception, the battle is won.
At least until the truth emerges…which it always does…
(Side note: and when once shame works its intimidation power, yet another -fare emerges: virtue signaling-fare, i.e., what happens when out of shame, an individual goes on the defensive to try to convince the enemy the individual isn’t one of the shameful masses who would possible BELIEVE such theories! Unfortunately, however, one soon realizes that the enemy is never satisfied…and more warheads emerge, both literal and figurative…)
That is where discernment comes in along with holding-fast to the larger truth. See below, “On God-fare,” for more on this.
And this brings me to perhaps the most important point about the state of warfare in the election season of 2020, one more highly effect -fare: the “October surprise”.
Only this October has seemed to have acquired a figurative meaning to include multiple Octobers–and every other month of the year–as one hoax after another has surfaced to be seared by the hot iron of truth, only to be replaced by some other means of warfare, even multiples at the same time.
Using another analogy, there have already been multiple fires to put out, many surprises, thus not only confusing but also wearing down the populace to a place of submission-by-fatigue.
And while time is getting short before the election, war-mongers are getting desperate.
One tell is that old debunked conspiracy theories are being brought back out, dusted off, and the enemy, relying upon the short attention span (thanks in part to addictive social media whizzing by) of an easily shamed and controlled populace, seems to be going for broke.
Insults have degraded to threats which have degraded to burning and looting inner cities, which have degraded to physical assaults, which have degraded to murder.
Thus it warrants remembering the relevance of both the figurative and the literal course of events when the full array of warfares are deployed:
- when once the “head” is exposed and destroyed, multiples emerge;
- when once the “head” multiplies, the destructive forces grow;
- it takes courage to combat the exposed enemies as it/they grow in number;
- as the collective enemy show its real nature, that is, “the ends justify the means,” it takes strength for resisters to stay the course of truth as the multiplying fires of distraction also grow in number (in this riot-plagued season aided and abetted by complicit leadership);
- it also takes considerable wisdom and self-control when emotions (not only shame but also rage) are stoked and used as force-multipliers;
- and–most importantly–it takes a greater power than the hydra of both myth and material to “torch them all,” as it were, and to remain “weaponized” against them because a hydra will hydra every time it is allowed to come out from under its rock…
But speaking of a greater power, consider also this, most importantly this…
From previous posts on various of the warfares cited above, these reminders and encouragements (source):
BUT YET…STILL…GOOD NEWS
As believers, however, we have the following real news,
But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world. (John 4:4, NLT)
The following real weapons,
The Whole Armor of God
10 A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12 For we[a] are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. 15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. 16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. 17Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. (Ephesians 6:10-18, NLT)
And the following real promise,
Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 This I declare about the Lord:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
he is my God, and I trust him.
3 For he will rescue you from every trap
and protect you from deadly disease.
4 He will cover you with his feathers.
He will shelter you with his wings.
His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
5 Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night,
nor the arrow that flies in the day.
6 Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness,
nor the disaster that strikes at midday.
7 Though a thousand fall at your side,
though ten thousand are dying around you,
these evils will not touch you.
8 Just open your eyes,
and see how the wicked are punished.
9 If you make the Lord your refuge,
if you make the Most High your shelter,
10 no evil will conquer you;
no plague will come near your home.
11 For he will order his angels
to protect you wherever you go.
12 They will hold you up with their hands
so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.
13 You will trample upon lions and cobras;
you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!
14 The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me.
I will protect those who trust in my name.
15 When they call on me, I will answer;
I will be with them in trouble.
I will rescue and honor them.
16 I will reward them with a long life
and give them my salvation.” (Psalm 91, NLT) [**]
Although the weapons of modern warfare, law-fare, crisis-fare, propaganda-fare [word-fare], and cyber-fare are formidable, we can still “look up for our redemption draweth nigh.”
And we needn’t look up in fear,
Because the Captain of our army has already cued us in to the outcome.
And it is good.
Hydras are a member of the phylum Cnidaria, class Hydrozoa. They are a solitary polyps that usually measure between 0.1 and 0.3 in (3 and 8 mm), though some can be larger. Hydras are freshwater species and occur in many parts of the world […]
Most hydras reproduce asexually by “budding–off.” In this process, a small extension of the parent animal forms on the body wall. As this grows, a separate mouth and set of tentacles develops until eventually a replicate of the parent hydra is produced. When the young animal has fully developed, the two separate and the young hydra drifts off in the current to become established elsewhere. In certain circumstances, particularly where seasonal drought is a regular feature, some species may also practice sexual reproduction, which involves the production of a fertilized embryo enclosed in a toughened outer coating. In this state, the hydra is able to withstand periods of drought, cold, food shortages, or heat. Once normal conditions resume, the outer casing dissolves and the embryo recommences life. (same source as above)
**For an entire, free, booklet of devotions on Psalm 91, the go-to encourager for believers in any conflagration, click here.
Image of hydra from Wikimedia Commons