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Conceit

February 19, 2018

     Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits, Romans 12:16.  Some years a go when I had small children, I was walking with one of them past the toy section in Walmart.  As he held my hand, his eyes lingered on some of the big battery powered ridable toys.  He looked up and told me that he knew why those things cost so much. With childlike innocence he explained to me that the people who worked there liked some of the toys so much that they jacked the price way up so that people wouldn't come in and buy them. 

     What he expressed was a childish imagination trying to understand something for which he did not have enough real life experience nor knowledge to come up with a proper understanding.  He expressed a conceit.  We can excuse that in a child and in fact we find it funny.  It's not funny when it it us.  There are many definitions flying around in the late 16th century and the early 17th century for the word conceit but they all boil down to imagination taking the place of fact.  Conceive and conceit have the same root.

       The rich man's wealth is his strong city, and as an high wall in his own conceit, Proverbs 18:11.  It is often frustrating when dealing with a wealthy man.  The rest of us are subject to real world pressures such as paying for transportation, housing and meals.  When our thinking gets out of whack there are many financial pressures that come to bear on us.  A man fearful for his job is less likely to boast about his idiotic notions at the water cooler. 

       We are witnessing an independently wealthy billionaire holding the office of the President of the United States.  Whether we like or dislike his ideas, the lure of rich foundations, speaking fees and corporate perks are absolutely no temptation to him.  If you agree with his policies, it is refreshing.  What we can all agree upon is that if his head gets filled with self generated nonsense, (conceits) there is not much leverage to get him to change his mind. 

       The sluggard is wiser in his own conceit than seven men that can render a reason, Proverbs 26:16.  If you have ever had the misfortune to contend with a sluggard, you probably didn't get far.  He has had endless time to perfect the loose ends of his folly.  If you ask an engineer why he used a particular design when constructing a bridge, he can render a reason.  If you asked him what would have changed if he had found the soil to be more sandy, he could explain that.  If you were to ask him what he would have done if a particular type of steel had not been available, he could answer that. 

       Eventually, our questions would stump our engineer.  No reasonable man can go on forever explaining every nuance of his thought process.   Our sluggard is not so hampered.  We could assemble seven hard working men who are well accomplished in seven different fields, but they could not hold a candle to our sluggard if we queried them long enough about their reasoning.   He has had nothing better to do than to justify his idiocy.  He has thought it out in detail after detail.  It is one of the reasons that conservative thought is at such a disadvantage on Sunday talk shows.  Lazy thinkers play to lazy audiences who will not take the time to find the facts.       

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