Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Don’t lead us into temptation

Late May 2022, a romantic suspense writer (71) was convicted for murdering her husband in 2018 (eg, Guardian, NYT). In 2011, she wrote a blog post: How to Murder Your Husband. Where did her temptation come from? Her blog mentions 5 motives: money, lying & cheating, betrayal, abuse, and killing as a job.

Magpie Murders (eg, IMDb) is an excellent whodunnit on Amazon Prime. It mentions 4 reasons for the temptation to murder: fear, envy, anger and desire.

These 5 motives and 4 reasons overlap each other: (1) desire = money+job, (2) fear = abuse, (3) anger = lying & betrayal, (4) envy = money, betrayal.

My title is the (one but) last sentence in our Lord’s Prayer: don’t lead us into temptation.

In my view, there are 3 fundamental reasons for leading someone into temptation:

  1. Needs: like stealing to fulfil physiological needs (eg, food, shelter, sleep water);
  2. Wants: like obtaining information (eg, Delilah vs Samson, Mata Hari, sexpionage); and
  3. Beliefs: like advertising for stimulating human temptations, and taking someone’s life (see above).
    See my blogs on Needs, Wants & Beliefs.

Temptation is very powerful (eg, sexpionage). Why?

My 2016 blog on (resisting) Temptation argued that our brain prefers instant benefits over future wellbeing. This extends to economics & finance (eg, discounted cash-flow calculations, the time value of money), and medieval sayings (eg, A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush).

Considering our limited lifespan, instant gratification of our desires gives less risk (on fulfilling these) and more reward (eg, a sure thing) than delayed gratification (eg, a possibly maybe). After all, we are a calculating species (eg, homo economicus).

Since several years, TV series like How to Get Away with Murder are popular. I think, feel and believe we are overrating our intelligence – either individually (micro) or as humans (macro) – while underrating the dangers of temptation. In my view, this has resulted in misguided beliefs, like (eg, white) supremacy.

Some great quotes on (resisting) temptation:

  • “I generally avoid temptation unless I can’t resist it.” Mae West
  • “I can resist anything except temptation.” Oscar Wilde
  • “The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it.” Oscar Wilde
  • “Between two evils, I always pick the one I never tried before.” Mae West
  • “I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.” Abraham Maslow

Temptation (1983) by Heaven 17
band, lyrics, video, Wiki-band, Wiki-song

Step by step and day by day
Every second counts, I can’t break away
(Keep us from temptation)
(Keep us from temptation)
(Keep us from temptation)
(Lead us not into temptation, oh)

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless in quotes or stated otherwise.


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