"…wisdom, that I may tell the difference"
Your ultimate guide to finding fault in everything? Nah, just a litany of the Devil’s Advocate.
So you love love songs, but the song you're listening to reeks of selfish addiction. Don't you say you 'adore' him/her? Like he/she were god?
The generous cash you donated to charity is actually blood money - from illegal drugs, unfair labor practice, illegal gambling, and prostitution.
Your favorite shirt was produced, thanks to underpaid, overworked employees who labor in cramped sweatshops. The sugar you put in your coffee was manufactured using child labor.
Your favorite fastfood restaurant pollutes the river and the ocean, not to mention throws away non-biodegradable waste, including CFC-filled styrofoam boxes that wreak havoc on the ozone layer when burned. The chopsticks you're using may have been processed using chlorine bleach and produced by burning down the monkey-eating eagle's rainforest habitat. The tuna in your sandwich may have been caught using nets that also killed innocent dolphins and rare turtles.
The CD you bought is a bootleg copy, so you are somewhat guilty of theft. On the other hand, the CD the record label mass-produced is slapped with a price that should make the label guilty of highway robbery.
You know the guy you voted to the Senate will most likely initiate legislation on that hot-button issue you believe to be evil and reprehensible.
The prying concern you're showing your friend is actually a barely concealed desire for intrigue or simply being nosey. Your being friendly to someone you barely know is really part of a grand scheme. You initiate a conversation with others not because you truly care but because you have nothing else to do, and you’re actually a busybody and plain rumor-monger.
The desire to discuss someone's personal problems to unwilling and unauthorized third parties (i.e., the greater public) often leads to slander and rash judgment, which can only take root from a malicious ‘nature.’ ‘Outing’ oneself or someone’s sexuality, for instance, is malicious because one’s sexuality is the business of no one else.
The greeting of "Good luck!", though well-meaning, is quite erroneous if you believe that nothing happens out of pure luck.
Airing a public protest on anything you deem ‘immoral’ makes you sound judgmental and self-righteous, even if it’s for the best of intentions. However, keeping mum when you should speak out is a grievous sin of omission.
Your religious devotion is actually overspirituality, to the detriment of pressing, though more worldly, concerns. The dedication you pour into your work may actually be an escape from a personal problem you stubbornly refuse to face. The spirit of volunteerism or service you're relentlessly trying to pursue is actually meant to deodorize a low self-esteem, if not an obsession born of a tragic experience that scarred your soul in its formative years. It’s as though you got to prove yourself.
That facade of stoicism you put on is not necessarily equivalent to the virtue of hope in time of adversity but simply a mental exercise, a matter of proving the power of the human will.
Your silence can mean an unhealthy repression of anger. Your being a loudmouth may mean an uncontrollable urge to rant and be generally pompous or arrogant.
Self-deprecation can be a form of false humility: ("Forgive me for having given you a less lavish feast, my friends."). It can also mean an unhealthy look at oneself, a blindness to one’s dignity as human being.
"Falling in love" does not always mean committing to it.
The doting you lavish on your favorite son or daughter borders on overindulgence, you end up breeding a 'spoiled brat' for life. But your exercise of discipline can lead to discouragement if it doesn’t inspire similar harshness later in life.
You're actually exploiting your wife's submissiveness when you thought you're just asserting your right as the head of the family. Or you can go easy on your relationships and actually make an excuse for your lack of love or fear of commitment.
Men's view of manhood can subtly mean, "Women are weaker, i.e., the inferior sex" while women's brand of feminism can mean, "If men can do it, women can do it even better."
Freedom of speech can make a wrong turn and breach the thin line separating it from verbal abuse, or slander.
Freedom of expression in one's art can mean nothing but artful pornography. Remember how "free love" was used to mean sexual promiscuity? On the other hand, keeping a tight guard on morality (legislating good taste, for example) results in ridiculous overscrupulousness and unnecessary repression, which leads to something even worse, like dams bursting or volcanoes erupting.
Humility can also hide under the cloak of timidity, while zeal, under the blanket of overblown and misplaced self-confidence. Shyness is an obstacle to zeal, boldness can mean presumptuousness. While sincerity and candor can really mean uncouthness, politeness can appear to be this annoying act of merely wanting to be nice. Behind every gesture of diplomacy, tact, kindness, civility, and urbanity hides dishonesty, guile, and lies, lies, and more lies.
On the other hand, telling the truth to someone's face can be too painful a thing to bear, like stabbing someone with a knife. While you are just being honest and up-front, refusing to back-bite, you also end up hurting other people's feelings so much as killing them in cold blood.
Temerity, facetiousness, audacity, presumptuousness, nerve and gall - all can be mistaken for honesty, wit, candor and grit.
Tobacco, marijuana, and coca leaves – tagged as addictive things by the Dangerous Drugs Board - have medicinal value, while wine – synonymous to drunkenness - is touted to be good for the heart. These four organic products are not just associated with vice, they may be seen inherently as poison synonymous to sin.
In the same manner, gambling is inherently clean, good fun yet it could be considered vice when associated with gambling lords, corrupt policemen and an assortment of other shady characters.
Hobbies and things done “for fun” may turn out to be a serious form of sloth.
The personal effects you consider indispensable in your day-to-day life can be prima facie evidence of personal vanity and material attachment.
Advertising, no matter how good-intentioned, often contains half-truths and bare-faced lies and fosters commercialism and materialism, if not downright hedonism (creating needs we don’t really need).
Embarrassingly, the height of materialism is expressed during Christmas and Valentine's Day.
The Olympic Games, basketball games, intramurals and tournaments are not just a celebration of sport or a form of bonding, but activities fostering fierce competition, not friendship nor goodwill.
TV debates are not merely there to ferret out the plain truth from the burning issues of the day, but merely to provide debate for its own sake, to the glory that was Greek logic.
You seek higher education and absorb information trivia because of your lust for knowledge for its own sake.
You pursue a selfish political ambition in the name of public service, the “desire to serve,” your foolish facade.
You dress up not just because you want to look good, but because you want to convey a certain image, and it is certainly not one of humility nor even a healthy dose of self-regard.
Your entire lifework, if pared down to the bones, is a huge endeavor in self-centered vainglory.
Depending on who’s looking, ecumenism can lead to embracing blatant falsehoods in one's faith. Conversely, a strict, to-the-letter adherence to one’s faith may also lead to paranoia, militancy or extremism.
Answered prayers can lead you focusing on the gifts instead of the giver.
Devotion to an angel, a saint or holy objects can lead to totem worship, or simply idolatry.
The over-exercise of penance puts into question the mercy of God, making Him more of a punisher than a forgiving deity.
Sometimes, putting your trust in God leads to what they call 'hyperfaith,' a kind of faith that commands rather than submits to divine will.
Evil may lurk in just about everything and anything good that you do!
Updated version, of course
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