Phyllis Beveridge Nissila
Distractionfare: warfare by distraction.
Mystify, mislead, and surprise the enemy. (Sun Tzu, The Art of War)
In a previous post I commented on a young man in a recent video who strode into an unusual scene (a black swan in Tiananmen Square), paused for a glance, then, resuming his determined gait, strode through the gathering onlookers on his way to wherever he had been headed.
I wrote about how unusual sightings in unusual places could be either happenstance or, during war, depoloyed as deceptionfare (the psychological warfare I wrote about in the post linked above), especially if such events portend either good or evil in the local culture.
Today I would add how such events could also be used as distractionfare, events engineered to delay, or as military strategist Sun Tzu put it, “mystify, mislead, or surprise”.
Thus the response of that young man on his mission was a good metaphor for staying the course, or staying on mission.
You might sum it up this way: take note but not bait, “bait” being whatever distraction might be tugging on your attention that could steal valuable time, focus and/or energy in any war when it’s time for “all hands on deck”.
And I am sure most would agree at this point that our world is at war, an unprecedented kind of war involving asymetrical, de-centralized, stealth, and technological strategies on literal and figurative, physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, psychological, logistical, geo-political, scientific, and fiscal battlegrounds (did I miss any?!).
To say the least, we live in very distracting times.
“Not taking the bait” means, simply, to note the existence of an event, determine if it’s deception, distraction–or simply some random occurrence–and proceed accordingly.
In battle lingo one might describe this as an OODA Loop (Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act, repeat, adjusting as needed. (See more commentary on this topic here.)
Analysis, if but for a few moments, is essential in wartime because although the bait, whether entertaining or ominous, might seem a one-off, or even “friendly,” it could also be a strategy, as noted above, to catch one off guard or take one off course because as per another recent commentary, there are many kinds of pre-designed, pre-planned, “gamed,” and carefully executed deception–and destraction–tactics perpetrated in war.
But maintaining one’s stride, so to speak, would be one way, at least, to avoid being deterred.
Not to mention that staying on mission helps keep the mind clear and focused.
Continuing on also helps keep us out of the grasp of those who want us to “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain,” the same bunch who want us to remain deceived–and who know well the art of the ruse.
Of course some events might require more attention than others–and the wisdom of one or several trusworthy counselors–but generally speaking, staying away from “rabbit holes” is good thing because they might be packed with IEDs, figurative or literal.
But there are other reasons to do mental and tactical reconnaisance when events during war take us by surprise, trigger red (or false) flag warnings, or just give us a “gut feeling”: they can cause doubt, fear, panic, and confusion.
The physiological effects of these responses may include immune-system compromise even as stress in general causes same if untreated. And these are the days to keep the immune system up, both figuratively and literally speaking.
Equally as dangerous, though, is the weakening of resolve and resistance, especially if the propaganda and ongoing putsch, some call it, is relentless and “top-down, bottom-up, and inside-out”.
What prompted this post in part is an article the other day that addresses not only the effects of such distractionfare but also the everyday, ordinary antidotes that are so powerful.
HOW TO DEFEAT DISTRACTIONFARE
“Let It Find Us”
The article I referenced above is “Let It Find Us” (American Thinker (9/10/21)) written by Andrew W. Coy. Coy comments on one particular distraction the world is infected with just now–a certain virus. His antidote: we should not allow it to unduly interupt our lives.
“Concerns [over the virus] are legitimate,” he writes, “but we must stop living in fear. Being careful is appropriate, but we should no longer allow this virus to determine our every move or dominate our thoughts. We must claim our lives back.”
To what his title implies, consider: as opposed to the constant drumbeat of the fearful, horrific, existential, defcon-1 threat level virus (or so this illness is advertised) clamoring for our undivided attention 24/7–and our fearful compliance with the blank “white coats” who bid us comply, comply, comply with their ever-changing “science”–we ought to switch our focus.
Let the news come to us, as Coy puts it, not us to it–searching behind every blade of grass, every social media hype, scripted “news”, and video “influencers” performing the talking points in catchy little tunes (to add some ways and means).
But it’s even worse.
There is also the “pop-up propaganda” on all of our communication gadgets constantly pinging for our attention.
But why would some want us to yield to such 24/7 incoming? The better to Pied-Piper us into submission?
Three more reasons were suggested in another recent guest video presentation where all the patents filed regarding said virus and shots to go with were detailed: the trifecta of power, money, and control.
But why and how all this wartime virus distraction takes place wasn’t Coy’s major point, nor is it mine today.
It is to emphasize (my comments here) that when we are tempted to march in lock step behind the power, money, and control-mongers, we need to take care of ourselves lest, amid the deceptive and distracting din, we fail to notice what withers away as we dodge those blades of grass and become both terrorized by and addicted to the din-mongers.
(“Withers away” as in weakens, deteriorates, languishes, and/or loses heart, motivation, or courage.)
And the best kind of antidote for all that is readily available–even more available, even, than all the 24/7 flash, clash, and trash cycling the world in a decidedly downward trajectory.
Such an antidote, rather, collection of them (that can’t be withdrawn or denied, by the way) is essential, because if you can get everyone smashed together in the corner of the prison cell called FEAR with seemingly no way out, you can do just about anything you can get away with by insisting you are only there to help (with a little assistance from your fiends called deceptionfare and distractionfare).
The antidote suggested by Coy, which I would expand, is simply getting back, as much as possible, to the ordinary things of life, reclaiming them, as he framed it.
Getting back to normal life and love and productivity and creativity and above all PEOPLE who need us even as we need THEM, close, full-faced. full-throated, fully engaged with reality, thinking critically, arguing, laughing, hugging, crying, rejoicing, dancing in the moonlight, singing in the shower, writing poems about our common humanity and uncommon valor, composing anthems and symphonies dedicated to the eternal hope that has and never will be wholly conquered, and (fill in the blanks of all the other things that make us fully human and healthy and engaged in this amazing and challenging experience and gift from God called the business of LIFE).
For if you think about it, therein lies the most powerful antidote to the civilization-suppressing (and destroying) toxic agent called “divide and conquer,” which, arguably, is behind the curtain of this massive, global, distraction where the science, rules, standards, and mandates can change frequently and petty local, state, and national tyrants are revealing themselves day by day by coming up with each their very own mandates.
It almost seems like a competition, right? for who can get away with the most draconian measures?
Which is no way to run a local–or global–virus crisis.
For believers, there is another mission, too, that is to say, the Great Commission Jesus assigned us to after His resurrection and before His Ascension back to Heaven.
A Commission with not only local or global but also eternal effects.
STAYING ON THE GREAT COMMISSION
Jesus knew there were dark days–dark centuries–ahead, but he didn’t dwell on the dark side.
He shone the light–His light even as He IS the Light, Way, and Truth–on our Commission which transcends and overrides all earthly tasks, assignments, and challenges. As put in Matthew 28:16-20,
Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you…
Now, did He know how side-tracked, rabbit-holed, confused, mis-directed, deceived, conned, mind-boggled, etc., we can be that distracts us away from said Commission, let alone the earthly tasks and challenges we face?
That in part is why He died for us.
Because we can all be easily led astray from time to time and get stuck there.
But was He worried for us about all those distractions–especially the distractionfare?
I mean, our real enemy, the real one behind the curtain, aka the Father of all deceptive ways and means, aka lies, no matter what skin he’s currently in, is ancient and brilliant and potent, and he doesn’t belong to any nation, alumni organization, country club, investor’s circle, literati, gliterati, or politerati (if that’s a word) except his OWN.
He’s described thus:
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:12)
And dude is mean.
Whereas Jesus, who never was or will be like that entity, said in the next sentence:
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.* (John 10:10)
So to finally answer the question “is Jesus worried” about the distractions that face us daily?
It is finished…
…He said, with the remaining oxygen left in His remaining blood cells after having shed all the rest on the cross for our redemption.
But that’s not all that happened on that cross.
He also shed His blood to the last drop so that mankind could be reconciled with God. It was this agreement He and the Father had for us, as noted in John 3:16,
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
It was originally set up that we, like the first humans, would fellowship with God in an Edenic environment, but the arrangement didn’t last long (see Genesis, book of). You see, there was this other powerful gift He gave us, besides dominion over creation: free will. (See more on free will in commentaries here.)
So God the Father knew we would succumb to temptation, become tyrannical and be, ah, tyranicalled (if that’s a word) from then on.
But right there at Eden’s East Gate as God ushered Mr. and Mrs. First-on-Scene out of perfection, after providing them with clothing, He prophesied future redemption “in the fullness of time.”
So He already had a plan, and God, in concert with His only Son Jesus, worked their own mission that continues still, on our behalf.
But here’s my favorite part of this post: Jesus is not worried about us, or for us, because, as an old preacher once said: “After all, it’s God’s Devil,” meaning, the Devil is not greater, smarter, or more powerful than his Creator.
In other words, as smart and sinister as Satan (et al) is he’s on a short leash, and God holds it until another fullness of time (see Revelation, book of).
And Jesus, Who, on His way back to Heaven after the Resurrection and right after commissioning the Church, added this to encourage, inspire, and empower us when all the “warfares” conspire against us:
…and surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
No matter how dark, chaotic, evil–and distracting–things look and become…
I encourage all of us to take note but not bait, be on the right side of our individual histories, and to keep on mission and Commission despite all the unusual and/or fearful sights, tempting rabbit holes, and inclinations to wither away.
But most importantly, if you haven’t yet chosen your Commander in Chief, I wouldn’t wait.
Today would be good.*