Created  Nov. 31, 2014      Published Jun 21 017                      green 005,000  brown 720,000

Mental Competence


Sub-headings:
The Premise
Making Some Distinctions
The Advantaged vs the Disadvantaged
Gray Areas
Overspending & Greed
Predatory Lending
Making the Best of it



Accountability and Testing
Preying on the Weak
Contradictions



Related Articles


The Premise
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This article was started out of some ideas growing in my head that have both legal significance for law in general, and a psychological importance, if not a religious and moral importance. So begins this article on what mental competency is and is not, and then, what it perhaps should be. It might even reveal flaws in how much competence law typically demands today of ordinary people. Better said, if one person is far more knowledgeable of something and uses that advantage to take advantage of another person, then what is the accountability or not? Or should it be re-evaluated and even changed? Lets get started!


Making Some Distinctions

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What are the distinctions of mental competency as opposed to mental incompetence?

Glad you asked. I will declare my ideas. To me, mental competence suggests, even demands, that one be able to act to some degree, in their own long term interests, as opposed to sudden brief impulses which may be very strong and beg for satisfaction, but have no certain outcome or may even be quite harmful or detrimental to our long term welfare and benefit.

To act in or towards long term interests would also require that we be able to think and exercise our intellectual abilities to a good degree so that we could make a determination as to what our long term benefits and interests are.

Secondly, we would need a fair amount of control over immediate powerful surges of impulses which beg for immediate satisfying. This would mean that we would have had to made it thru childhood, learning some discipline and control over our immediate emotions and desires – impulses. Even in teenage years, these are difficult to come by, but by some time in early adulthood, say near to our full long bone growth, about 19 for most women and 21 for most men.

Legally, adulthood is often set at 18 for many things, and a bit older, 19-23 for some things accepted in law such as drinking age, perhaps. The Bible set the legal age at 20 for both sexes when determining who was to die in the desert wandering of Numbers and Deuteronomy and who was not. Anyone under the age of 20 would be spared having to die in the desert and could live to see Israel enter the promised land of Canaan.

And yet, the Bible also requires that all ages be obedient to the law of God in general, so that a violation of a serious law, such as murder or adultery, both which merit execution, was required of all ages. Ignorance of the law was no excuse. Anyone, man, woman, or child, was to die for committing either offense.

Law and order often require a certain deterrence or otherwise, one ends up with serious flaws in accountability. An example is how we do not make youths accountable to the death penalty for using guns and killing people. Drug gangs sometimes use minors for executions because they can often escape serious punishment for their “minor” age.

But in God’s eyes, the children should still know better and do better. The loss of a life demands a life in return. Life for life! Committing adultery, even if young, still results in death of both adulterous parties, the minor and the adult, if they happen to come together.

What this implies is that parents had best do everything in their power to enable their kids to understand God's laws in their entirety because the kids will be accountable to all of God's law. So parental responsibility is absolutely essential from God's point of view.

On the other hand, in the USA, parental responsibility varies upon the situation and circumstance. Since minors are often not deemed responsible or accountable, such as when having sex with an adult or another minor within 5 years of them in age. Minors can not enter into contracts nor drink alcohol, among other things. Minors can not be tried as adults in regards to murder or other serious felony crimes. A minor's parents can be held accountable for crimes that involve damages of a financial type on the part of the minor.

In most respects, minors had to account to God without parental responsibility. The loss of a minor to judicial execution might be deemed punishment enough for parents.

But in this all, competence and accountability were assumed in the Bible. In USA law, competence for minors is often considered as unreasonable. Lets look at that.

Do minors not have brains or parental upbringing? Should they know better? Should it have been obvious? There are good excuses such as not being aware of tricksters or con-artists (treacherous salesmen), or smooth talking seducers of the young. But in the eyes of God, parents are to train children to not fall for tricksters or seducers. Children could not engage in contracts since they were the property of their parents.

In the case of seduction, the child had to accept responsibility for their actions. God appears to see both parties, regardless of ages or age differences, as being equally vulnerable and accountable so that engaging in sexual activity makes the seducer accountable to the parents for damages, possibly paying a dowry and not having to hand over the daughter for it. It was expensive but no prison or anything like that. The daughter shared some of the blame.

Children are completely dependent upon parents to help them prepare for life. There is no way around that. Parents need to inform as much and often as possible, as God sees it. It is safe to say that children are always vulnerable due to lack of experience and a natural trust of others. But complete freedom from responsibility is not how God sees it. There is still some accountability in the young. stupid excuses are not allowed or tolerated. So much for the young.


The Advantaged vs the Disadvantaged
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This is where it gets interesting. We must discuss brain abnormalities and brain damage due to emotional and physical abuse as well. And then we must address the very sophisticated and educated as opposed to those with little or no education from parents, from neglect, or from harm. What sorts of competence do we have or not?

Defective Brains

Some are born with brains that are not fully functional. We might call them mentally disabled or handicapped. Some are only mildly so or perhaps even undetected, but not quite fully enabled. Some might have suffered emotional deprivation in infancy and youth, or physical or emotional abuse. brain disabilities might be accompanied by abuse or deprivation as well.

Regardless of the combinations, what is the major distinction of these types?

I find they lack a certain amount of self control. In short, they are often moved by their impulses and desires, with strong emotions, reactions, hard to control. They might seem like mood swings or cycles of mania, then deep despair, often call manic depression. Intellectual activity is minimal. No joy derived from something you do not have. So they are moved by love of food, attention, sex, primitive drives and desires. They might be defensive, being afraid of being discovered as "defective." They are always in fear that they will get found out. Some will just try to stay out of the way and ask nothing for themselves but to be left alone with their obsessive compulsive desires such as hoarding, raising cats, feeding pigeons and squirrels, or whatever.

But when one is without normal self-control mechanisms that many might take for granted, how normal can they hope to be? Can we expect much of them? Well, I say that if they have little to no control over basic impulses and can not act in long term ways with long term benefits, then I find no evidence mental competence (some call it sanity). Such people need protection, but then again, society needs protection from them, too. They need a keeper to prevent them from harming themselves. The problem is that they do not want or appreciate help, because help denies them their primitive impulses that work against their own welfare and long term interests. Various addictions sort of fall in under this category. Drug addicts, alcoholics, sex addicts, etc. There are no easy answers to any of it.

What would we observe for those lacking as described just above? One who can not control his behavior poses dangers to himself and others. If that is not extreme, certainly his lack of direction toward long term benefits and interests would tip us off. Paying bills responsibly, reliable productive behavior such as being useful for labor, showing up on time, doing a good job, being cooperative, even if shy, maintaining good reasonable public behavior and appearance. These are some of the signs of good function and behavior that indicate one can work toward and accomplish long term goals and reap long term benefits, at least in some measure.

To neglect health or hygiene would be a detriment to an individual. Suffering ill health or cleanliness that could impact their health and well-being and even affect that of others, would be signs of lacking enough mental competence to function adequately and socially among a group of people or a community.

These above examples might be clear as to the problems in trying to help or care for such ones. They obviously have problems that they themselves prevent the correction of. They really are their own worst enemies.

So we have
1) dangers bordering on serious or nuisance criminal behavior; or 2) merely being exceptionally inadequate for functioning in a social environment and being a contributing member of the social group or community. They may not represent a serious danger as regards being criminals, but may impair society and make it vulnerable to unhealthy situations for all.

Of course, the above definitions can be abused by people if ill political motivations and society is never safe from those, either. but the abuse of good laws is a strong powerful signal that your society is corrupted and in danger of collapse or destruction. But in good groups with enough benevolence and decency, such laws as I have discussed should never end up being a problem. Incompetents, mentally speaking, if they are willing, can be cared for and controlled by caretakers, usually family related. If not, then a more serious restraint of those unwilling to conform may be necessary in typical city life. Civil liberties could be suspended but civility, decency, compassion, and consideration should never be kept from the mentally incompetent.

But criminal possibilities and dangers are a little different in that they might make it difficult to impossible to keep consideration and civility fully intact due to criminal being hard to impossible to restrain or kept in good behavior. Then you have a possible prison situation. Un-reformable prisoners may require far more stringent recourse. That is another subject.


Gray Areas
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But now I am going to make some more uncomfortable. How much eating is too much? How much laziness is too much? How much apathy or depression is too much?

Now I will go even further. What if due to a lack of interest in almost anything, one avoids trying to understand very much and has a very shallow intellect as a result? Is it willful? Can it be changed? What caused it? Is there any protection needed or required? Was there ample opportunity to pursue intellect and understanding; yes, gain competence?

I open this up for consideration. While they are capable of getting welfare, is there more help available. I ask because I don't think bureaucrats are good at solving anything. What I am thinking of is whether such ones are easy prey for money/credit lenders, and bill collectors.

The majority of Americans and I suspect, the world over, understand very little of the world they live in. They do not respect and appreciate the great jeopardy they can fall into with debt. We see this dramatically demonstrated in people not able to pay their mortgages and being forced into foreclosure. Usually, they lose their jobs and remain unemployed for a year or more. Or they suffer a medical problem that leaves them burdened with debt.

I want to explore many aspects of the situations just above. I'll start with some clarification and ground rules as extracted from the Bible, God's word.

Basic Rights: (according to God, says I)

1) Every man is entitled to an inheritance of land, enough land to grow his own food to sustain himself and a family, as reproduction is also considered a right of every human being.

This grants a man a means of self-support and independence for him and his family. It is an inherited right of a member of God's nation and God's National Laws. Does your country guarantee these things?

Today, we are at the mercy of employers and have no protections or rights, in reality. So called or said legal rights are a fraud and illusion, a lie. We can be bullied and abused and treated as of no account and given no decent treatment or respect. We own no land, pay rent (taxes) on the property that they say we own, or pay a mortgage on, at nearly loan shark interest rates, that amount to 2 or 3 times in excess of the value of the house.

Without a guaranteed means of self-support thru sizable land ownership, we could end up unemployed and lose everything we own. There are no guarantees of work. Factories and their owners have not legal obligations to those they once employed and got rich by.

Employer/employee work systems guarantee nothing. We will call this the industrial model of life support. Owning land to grow food and keep animals will be called the agrarian model. The industrial model gives all rights to the factory owners and none to employees and their families. The agrarian model provides for independent families that are self-sustaining thru agriculture. Such a system also allows for humane living for the families without a boss being miserable or unfair. Work place stress is a real, extreme epidemic. It creates many varied problems for a society. It allows for almost no dignity or humane treatment for individuals and families.

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2) Every man is entitled to have all his debts written off every 7 years. He may serve as a slave for the amount of time leading up to the every 7th year of debt release, known as a Jubilee Year in the Bible.

God recognized the element of greed in humans and so demanded that all debt be forgiven and written off every 7th year of a 7 year cycle so that no man could remain perpetually in debt as our modern industrial model so easily allows. Debt could happen in the agrarian model, perhaps due to bad weather, locust plagues, fire, attacking armies, and other natural disasters, as well as poor management of a farm or even laziness.

A man could sell himself into slavery to another neighbor who was much better off, for at most, 7 years. If he sold himself to his neighbor half way into the cycle, then he would only have 3.5 years to serve before being released. This was a form of charity in some ways, since the goal was to help the man and his family recover. In return, the neighbor (master) had a right to obedience while the slave served his master. The neighbor was extending himself and his resources were being unduly infringed upon in helping the slave and his family, so God reserved obedience to the master, who was really a savior, or benefactor to the slave. So the slave certainly owed this and gratitude to the one lending the help. No man was obligated to take on a slave so it was an act of kindness and mercy. But at the same time, no man capable of bailing out another man, could please God by ignoring the plight of a man in need. He was obligated to help, so he had rights over the slave for the period of time before the next Jubilee.

Mortgages today, are often for 30 or 40 years. You pay 3 or 4 times the value of the house in that 40 years. Outrageous! If you lose your job for very long, you lose every thing. Hardly fair. All your previous labor and income was in vain due to circumstances often far beyond your control. So God put limits on what a man could lose to another man for debt. Put another way, God put restraints on what one man could take from another man and for how long. Obedience to the master and serving the master's benefit rather than your own were requirements. If your labor made your master profit, that was his reward and due right. Meanwhile, you go to feed your family. The master could not without the familial support. That was the burden a master must accept. If your kids normally worked in the fields with you, I assume those were also employed for the master as well.

When the time came to release the slave, the master had to help the slave get back on his feet and get off to a good start. The idea was to enable a slave to get out of slavery and back into productive independence as was God's will.

In the industrial model, it is the goal of lenders to keep you in as much and deep debt as possible. The taxman has the same goals. Each business also seeks to charge as much for his services as possible. People are often at the mercy of businesses that render services no one can do without, and which are skilled services perhaps requiring special tools and equipment that average people can not afford. Again, people are at the mercy of others without any protections or limits. It is a system of a predator upon the prey. We can not live without their help and we become indebted to them or creditors who enable us to pay them. We have no means of self-support and self-sufficiency.

From the cradle to the grave, most live as people in constant debt and continual abuse, always under stress and duress.

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I brought up these 2 points to make my own assertions now. It is not possible for a person born to parents already in debt, to avoid debt themselves. Once the cycle begins, it can not be broken. If you are one of the lucky few that finishes paying of your mortgage, you may very well end up having to sell it back to a lender, who then takes possession of it when you die. You don't get to pass it on to anyone. Most will never finish off paying their mortgage.

We can not ever be debt free, if land and a means of living and self-support are granted thru inheritable rights, rather than earning enough income to pay off debts incurred getting an education in the first place, to justify a decent paying job, if there are any. The industrial model does not allow for inheritable rights. The agrarian model does. Our government system that we supposedly voted for and support, should grant land and a house, free, as an inherited right of adulthood. We should not need to participate in any gainful employment but should be able to grow our own food and sustain ourselves with it.

Any participation in labor manufacturing or similar should not be of necessity but of willful participation which can be ended at any time. If jobs are a must in our society, then there should be many levels of protection guaranteeing proper respect and courtesy from bosses and all toward all, with a termination requiring the two thirds of employee peers approving, and always subject to review and legal action. Any termination or review to termination should involve the terminated getting full pay until all reviews and legal actions are exhausted.

In essence, as much power needs to be in the hands of employees as there is in those who employ so that neither side has the advantage. If loans and debts are to continue, then we need a Jubilee year of debt erasure every 7 years so that no mortgage can last any longer than 7 years. Same for credit card debt, etc. If such measures as these as put in place, then you could begin to punish those who truly did not want to work, or be cooperative, or civil, respectful, and socially acceptable and responsible.

But as it is today, we blame welfare people for not wanting to work and I think there is that attitude in some measure. But again, we have no jobs to give them, anyway. We sent all those overseas and did not protect our own jobs and industries and nation. Our nations reps allowed our nation to be destroyed by not requiring any corporate loyalty to their nation and its citizens, our people.

We require a man to support his wife and kids if he decides to leave them. But corporations are not expected to do the same. A a man is required to pay alimony but a corporation does not pay alimony to its employees and support their kids if the corporation decides to leave.

God builds checks and balances in His system. We avoid all those so that the wealthy in power can enslave us and our children and descendants in debt and servitude labor forever.

Does a man on welfare require a caretaker? They call it caregiver now. Not if the jobs going away are not his fault! Is he to blame for many of his problems? He might be, but they still would not likely exist if we had protected our jobs. Even then, there are going to be a few who would not manage things correctly. Then such ones would need a master to try to help bring them back to competence and self-sufficiency.

Why do I bring this up? Many have been the suggestions for reforms of welfare. But poverty is the biggest cause of social injustice, not welfare. If we do not grant land, then we can not demand self-sufficiency and self-support for a family.

We do have a problem with people not living within their means.
We do have a problem with lenders readily lending money they know can not be paid back.

We have a problem with distributing goods and resources somewhat evenly and fairly.

We do have a problem with a small percentage of the population having far more wealth and resources than the large majority have;

Say the top 1% having 40% of the wealth, while the other 99% has to divide up the other 60% of the wealth. 10% likely hold about 60% of the wealth while 90% divide the other 40% wealth. The truth is likely that 33% have 90% of the wealth, leaving the remaining 66% with only 10% of the wealth and resources.

So can we hold those who live beyond their means severely accountable, while allowing the greed of the small minority to not get punished and actually be rewarded for their selfish criminal behavior? I think not.

God strove to contain greed and reign it in. Hence the Jubilee 7 year cycle where all debt of wiped out so that everyone sort of starts over fresh and on a more equal footing.

Our current system says the rich have a right to charge excessive prices and bully us with debt and make us pay their way as well as our own. The welfare people get far less compensation than the rich do. The rich get most of the real welfare, obtained with wick laws that do not restrain greed.

The middle class is far too stupid to see where the real injustice lies.


Overspending & Greed
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Overspending or living beyond one's means to pay up front, is a form of greed, really. We want what we can not pay for and we want it without paying for it. This is known in the Bible as Covetousness. Parents of the 50s often started out with meager circumstances and then slowly acquired some of the luxuries or conveniences that were coming along at that time.

Most families had only 1 car, a 4 door one, of course. Many still lived in apartments in the city. Even in the 60s, 1 car families were the norm. The village apartments I grew up in, Redbank Village, South Portland, Maine, had driveways that only accommodated 1 car. By the 90s, many of those same apartments had enough for 2-4 cars. Most moms still stayed at home to care for the kids.

But in the 80s, most young adults upon graduation, expected to have what their parents had while the kids were in middle school (junior high in my day) or high school. But their parents did not start out that way or maybe 10 years earlier. Many started out with little to nothing and slowly acquired their bigger homes and conveniences, 2 or 3 cars, etc. But their kids wanted what the parents had later in their life, not at their start. Expectations were high but without justification as I see it.

Parents started showering kids with many luxuries that the parents never had. In the 90s, kids either had their own cars to go to school in, or the parents had a 3rd vehicle the kid could use. The parents had rode the school bus. Many had to walk to school and back. Each kid now had their own TV. Most families of my peers only had 1 TV set in the 60s. Without going into too much detail, many luxuries had become the norm, when they had not always been that way. Most forgot the difference or distinction between necessity and luxury.

Now we want the world and everything in it. We do not want to have to wait for anything or pay for anything upfront. We will put it all on credit and hope our jobs don't fail. They frequently fail. I see high school kids going to Dairy Queen, or other similar places for fancy expensive drinks and maybe treats. Huge sizes, of course. Cups the size of a quart, I swear. We played sports like football in the day, and practiced in the afternoon. Now the have 6 million dollar football fields to practice on, under the lights at night. That electricity is not cheap. We want the best of everything. We want and demand an awful lot and we pay some very heavy taxes for it. We can not say no to ourselves in regards to anything. Whatever we desire, we insist it be satisfied and satiated immediately.

Remember what I said about being driven by our immediate impulses? Can we say no to ourselves any longer? Can we understand that we have to pay for everything we want? The government charges us far more for the cost of a 6 million football field. If they only charged us the cost of the field, we might be OK, but the government always doubles it all to justify the outrageous amounts they tax us for.

We no longer seem to understand the real cost of our impulses and desires. We no longer care about the consequences or even know that there are any. We have become so stupid and unaware of what we are doing to ourselves, that I believe strongly, that we are the equivalent of small children who are unaware of family budgets or anything like that. We have, by nearly any definition, become mentally incompetent in the way we are spending and living. We drive our own costs thru the roof and wonder why we can not pay or survive.

We have been cultivated for a very long time by our leaders and big business to not know what is going on or care. We will let someone else juggle the books for us. We let others do everything for us so that we do not have to do hardly anything for ourselves. See the problem? We can't do anything for ourselves, anymore. We have now become dependent upon the "others." Children are dependents. Now adults are dependents as well. Now we are all the equivalent of children. Shameful beyond words.

God now wants to separate the useful from the useless. I can't blame Him there! Can you imagine a man who can not wipe his own bottom in the bathroom? That is nearly what we have become. Any excuse for it? Not that I can tell.

But now we must balance the picture, as well with the next section.


Predatory Lending
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Now suppose you were a very rich powerful banker who worked with other rich powerful bankers who all worked together to their mutual benefit.  You want idiots to lend to, so you can price gouge and charge nearly loan shark rates of interest, creating outrageous profits, at the expense of the nearly retarded child-like adults, who work most of the day every day with little compensation for substantial labor that many make profit on.

These are hardly what we can call fair terms for both sides. It is a one-sided deal. Those with money and powerful have all the advantage and elect all the leaders of most nations with their influential donations to various politicians for "campaign" expenses. So the laws and courts all favor the lenders over those getting the loans. The people are said to be mentally competent, whether they are or not. They are not.

God knew the nature of wealth and power. So He created the 7th year Jubilee with all debts canceled that 7th year. This reset the balance between the sides. As well, since a lender could only get the labor of a slave for at best, 7 years, it kept them from taking away the hereditary rights of the borrower/slave. The salve would get his land back and his kids as well. Further, the master/lender could only get the labor of the slave and his family, preventing the lender from charging too much interest.

Now some will say, the borrower did not have to accept the terms of lending. True! but then again, does the borrower really have a choice when he does not make enough upfront to buy a house in the first place? In fact, young couples first starting out, are paid poorly so there would be few chances of any of them having any money their earned on their own power at the beginning of their entry into The working world. They begin their adult life with debt or high priced apartments that will not enable them to save any money while renting. Same with a new car. Many also have school loans to pay off, which are often substantial and often do not result in good jobs, either.

So born into debt is truly the way it is. God saw to it that having a house and family was an inherited right. Oddly, ironically, many people hate God and swear at Him as they wallow in debt that God forbids. Seems to me that we would be better off with God than without, but people prefer that He stay out of their lives so He does. You get what you ask for, sometimes.

So while we can find some fault with most people having become mentally incompetent, really, the greatest portion of blame, that I can see, belongs with the rich and powerful. If we enabled land, independence, and sustenance (equivalent of jobs without the abuse of the boss) as inherited rights of each new born citizen, and wiping out all debt every 7 years, then it would be impossible to be in debt for more than 7 years, period!

Lincoln and Slavery

Lincoln never even came close to freeing the slaves. That goes for white, as well as black slaves. There was no real way to gain independence if you were not born into a rich family. You were labor all your life and labor is never debt free ever. As well, as the 19th century came to a close, a man even had his children's labor taken from him as a supplemental source of income so they could be programmed by government schools the way the government of the rich wanted.

For Lincoln to have done this, he would have needed to at least create a debt forgiveness every 7 years or something near to that. He would have needed to enable some sort of inherited land as a right, without cost. The whole USA not inhabited by Indians or relied upon by the Indians for support such as grazing land for buffalo, etc, would have had to have been carved up for future couples, even as God carved up Israel into inherited tribes and families. As well, Indians should have been given land grants, which could not be taken back, even if gold or oil was discovered on them.

As well, God would have enlarged Israel's borders, had she remained faithful to God and grown bigger than the land would have supported.

So when schools, ever the liars, tell you slaves were freed, you can just laugh silently because you know better. We are all slaves who are not born into elite families.

So in reality, the rich and powerful have herded the cattle, I mean sheeple, I mean people (its been a long night you know), into corals and forced them into slave labor and debt. The "funny" thing about all this in our age is that we have done the same as every empire before us, but Romans did not hesitate to call it what it was, slavery. But now in the age of deceit, we say men are free. But they are not free. The cuffs and chains are not physical, but the laws and courts make them just as certain as if iron were attached our ankles and wrists. We are slaves in every real sense of that word.

I choose to embrace that word and call myself a slave and the "n" word, too. Blacks would prefer to help the government and system lie about it and insist they really were freed from slavery. So the blacks are free but I am still in chains and so are the rest of you unless you're Black. To the Blacks: if you change  your minds, let me know and I'll change this paragraph. So in reality, most Blacks, to some degree, really are Uncle Toms. They perpetrate the ongoing lie.

so we have no real choice so the poor and enslaved are just that, poor and enslaved. They have no choice when advancing from less to m ore debt. The game was rigged that way.


Making the Best of it
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I write this to Christians primarily, or those who aspire to be Christians. Debt is a fact of life. So is slavery, I mean, labor. But we want to minimize our debt and minimize as much as possible, our need to work more than we need to, in order to meet our monthly expenses for living and to be able to spend as much time reading and studying God's words in the Bible. Most people carry lots of debt so that they have to work a lot.

I never have owned or driven a car less than 7 years old. Never! I had my first car in 77. 1977, wise guy! I'm not that old yet, though maybe not that far away, either ;-) I never got a loan to go to college because I never believed in investing in something without a guaranteed payback. I knew I'd always be working low paying jobs and accepted that. I knew I was never part of the elite that enjoy "connections" that land good jobs. I stayed at home since I was welcomed there and did not aspire to independence since I knew that price of that was too high as well. At the age of 20, I pursued God thru Jehovah's Witnesses. It was a bad start, but a start, nonetheless. I left them by design, in 1990 and progressed far more after leaving them and in a much different direction.

Choosing the least expensive options allowed me to not be dependent upon jobs or lots of hours and that I could afford to survive if I became unemployed for a time. When employees were offered chances to go home early (without pay of course) I often accepted those offers as I preferred my studies religion and science/archaeology in their support of the Bible.

Because of not asking much of life, I was able to pursue what I felt had meaning and purpose in life so that my labors were not totally in vain. I feel it paid off, big time! I have little in material things, but rich in knowledge and skills.

My advice is to reduce your "luxuries" and demands of life and take the simple cheap course that allows more time since time is what we need most if we are to pursue the knowledge of God.

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But let this be said as well. There are many things in us that are pretty much a sort of instinct. One study done long ago in psychology sat 2 people at a table with a plate set on each side. One was planted there to test the other, who did not know they were being tested. The Tester pushed his cup or plate onto the side of the tested. Nearly all reacted odd or uncomfortable with the intrusion. Many pushed it right back. Humans seem to divide up space equally when all things seem equal. Any attempt to unbalance it one way or the will be resented.

As people look around them at other people, they might notice that many seem to have quite a few nice things. Many do not stop to think that it is all charged up on credit cards or loans at exorbitant rates of interest and spend most of their time working to pay it all off rather than enjoy it. This shows 2 things. First, it is not right to live a life far better than that of other people. It hurts those denied and it does not feel justified to those below. As well, it might even cause stealing, vandalism, or war.

2nd, those below with less should not be envying what others have that is substantially more than those envying have. This is called envy and covetousness in the Bible. If we are getting by, then we ought to be grateful to God and be content with our lot. God will right all wrongs in time. Meanwhile, we might think of others who have even less than we do. The Bible is loaded with warnings not to ignore the plight of the widow and the orphan. Those who ignore widows and orphans will be severely punished by God someday. Widows and orphans had it tough without a man to take care of the work and defend his family among their peers. Those in power often take advantage of the weak and defenseless.

There is a great reward from God for looking out for those less fortunate than you. So do not sit there in self pity and begrudge those who have more. If they live rich lives, they may have to answer for those. You make sure you are not displeasing God or ignoring suffering.

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A common frailty of humans is that they often never have enough or are never satisfied no matter how much they have. The rich and powerful are like that. Its never enough. Recall that in the wandering in the desert under Moses, Israel asked for meat (Numbers 11:30 account). So God brought meat to them but with the requirement that they only take what they need for a day or so. But even the very least of them grabbed 5 bushels (10 homers) of quail, far far above a 1 or 2 day supply. They went crazy with greed and hoarding when God made it clear not to.

Today, hoarding is a major problem, one quite new in comparison to most vices/obsessions. But our very productive manufacturing, and many stores to shop, and garbage to ponder over, some can't help wanting anything they of what they perceive as valuable. We are often driven by hidden deep seeded impulses that are irrational and out of control. God, in His way, tries to get us to strengthen our intellect and restrain our dark inner impulses that can be so strong and overcoming. We need to try to overcome them and subdue them.


Accountability and Testing
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This is a two-fold principle here. Accountability and Testing refer to our accountability to answer to the law. We are responsible for knowing the law and obeying it. God and men seem to agree on this one. But there are distinctions and differences as well. In essence, we are put to a test to see if we will seek out knowledge and develop ourselves as God wants us to.

Cities, States, and Nations pass so many laws and often write huge multi-volume works on regulations alone, such as the tax code, or trade codes, building codes, etc. Some are so difficult that professionals are hired to mediate between 2 parties, the law or code vs. the one trying to obey the code or accused of violating the code. I would say that when legislative bodies pass new laws, they are obligated to give fair notice. That does not mean they will or are required to, but they should.

God's laws have not changed in nearly 2000 years. And He had His book published in nearly every language on earth so that we have all had time and opportunity to have read it, explored it, discussed it, analyzed it, all over the centuries so that we ought to be able to please God in most things. As I see it, many of Jesus' words are quite plain and clear and yet many who claim to follow him violate those words and warnings often.

The problem? They are not making close critical examination of themselves and their deep inner motives. There is no scripture that directly says that, but if we are to be made accountable to Jesus' warnings and commands, then we will have to make that inner examination. There is no other way and many are going to be be surprised and it won't be the good kind, either. Many will be rejected, though they thought they were doing just fine, but they were only half-heartedly looking at themselves very gently, non-critically, and easy-going, flattering themselves, really. That won't work with God.

But if you are tough on yourself, then God will go easy on you. So we are tested for fitness of mind and heart, as to whether we will be good obedient subjects or useless, lazy, and defiant ones who lie to themselves more than they do to others. God hates all liars.

Also wrapped up in all this is a form of mental competence. Now pay attention. Being smart is not hard! I know, I have said it takes a lot of effort and it does, but effort is not the same as difficulty. If we are persistent and constantly try to learn and understand God's requirements, God then opens our eyes. I would say that He built a subconscious process in our brains that automatically analyzes and processes information to enable us to understand something. God will supply whatever else is required beyond that.

Let me put it this way. No one ever taught a baby a language. God designed that to happen automatically at a key period in their development. We all learned language without any instruction or difficulty, really. It just came to us. So one does not have to start out smart to get smart. He or she just has to give it a try and never stop trying.

So whether we learn, progress and become insightful and quite skilled in God's word, is not dependent upon being clever or smart. It happens without thought if we just read and observe and think about things. So we are accountable, even if we do not know. What, you say? If we do not  know, it is because we did not try, for it we tried, we would have succeeded.

Most of us were born mentally competent, with the exception of those born with brain defects. We just have to apply ourselves. But there are still things to consider as Christians.

For one, we start out, some smarter than others at a given age or level. We progress at different rates. Some are sharper than others. So we do have to take into consideration the amount of time one has been at something. If one has spent 20 years in study, we might expect some good progress. On the other hand, someone just coming around to God and beginning to learn, will take some time to mature and gain understanding. So we have to be careful in judging each other.

As well, some had parents who did little to no thinking. So the children received little to no thinking or what might be more properly called more stimulation of the mind. A mind needs stimulated and fed, so to speak. Our bodies also need stimulation and feeding. kids not stimulated with love, teaching, and proper nutrition will not have anywhere near the advantage of a child who gets all of those in good measure.

So many some kids have an advantage because their parents are better at parenting. Other kids are at a disadvantage for not having good parenting. Yet, it must be noted that great success stories have sometimes come from poor disadvantaged backgrounds while some with every advantage in the world amount to nothing. Some are lazy for it and expect it all handed to them.

Many in significant places of power and privilege are often near useless. They are where they are because they cooperate with the status quo power and obey that power without question. Rising in society has never been based on merit and never will, as long as the devil rules. God will change that, however.

I might also note that most governments, powers, and ruling authorities like dumb brainless people as subjects and slaves. That is to say, power loves mental incompetence.


Preying on the Weak
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Our world runs upon ruling minority subjugating the majority of the human race to ignorance, slavery, and indignity. So mental incompetence is deliberately nurtured and reinforced among the common populace. Stimulation is withheld and feeding good sensible logic is forbidden. Mass forced schooling was created, not to teach kids, but to deprive them of the superior teaching they had been receiving from the parents and small communities they belonged in. Not only deprive them of good teaching, but to condition them to obedience without question and to prevent kids from getting "addicted" to mental stimulation of thought.

While it is the world of men and increasingly, of women, that appears to be holding people back, it is actually the plan and operation of the devil, who wants to numb our understanding and keep us as far from God as is possible. So we are forced to seek out our own understanding and mental stimulation. We must use the Bible and God's ultimate gift to each of us, our brains. We will have to become self-made men (and women, natch!). We will have to pick ourselves up by our own boot straps. When the going gets tough, the tough get going. All others will die for not having attempted to reach their full potential.

God wants us to take advantage of what He created in our minds and use it to its full potential. That is the essential starting block for Jehovah, the God of everything. If He is to have a world and universe that proceeds upon order and using full potential, then He must have an entire society that operates on those principles. He had intended to cultivate Adam and Eve to achieve their full potential of their minds and bodies, but the devil wanted the worship of humans for himself, so argued for it to God in front of all other spirits and was allowed to test human creation with the understanding that if the devil failed to corrupt and ruin every last soul, and fail the ultimate test of testing a human who was brought to full potential in the form of Jesus and getting Jesus to compromise and sin, then the devil would lose his life with it was all done.

The devil has already lost that battle so his fate is sealed. Now what remains is to see who will reach for their full potential and become an adequate member of God's family, that God can use to build a perfect obedient race who uses their potential rightly.

In the mean time, "we live in a world of shit." (Full Metal Jacket movie quote). It is true.


Contradictions
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It is interesting that a world and in the USA, our society, that we use law to establish justice, supposedly. Law defines mental competence. But honestly, in a world where incompetence, ignorance, boredom, and lack of any meaningful intellectual stimulation is the rule for those ruled over, it is absurd and an atrocity that we hold average people to be mentally competent and equipped to be accountable to a world that is designed to trip us up and block our every attempt to defend ourselves and exist in some measure of justice and respect, where our labor benefits us more than others. That is real equality. We have never had that on earth.

Most are not mentally competent and rulers know that full well. As well, the system is built on lies and deceit where professionals such as judges, lawyers, doctors, and leaders of corporations and the owners of those corporations, as well as governing ruler and their administrators, rig the system to prevent us from being able to obtain justice and dignity.

As well, when those of the status quo powers seek to exploit someone, they will  use the technicality of competence to make people accountable for debt and other circumstances. Truth is, most people do not grasp the system they live in.

 



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