With the amount of pressure and competition between companies, colleagues and even people you call your friends; it’s only natural to push yourself to do better. In today’s knowledge driven world where jobs and education are becoming far more challenging, the need to be alert, motivated and adaptable is more apparent than ever.
Of course, resorting to unethical or illegal ways to do this is where you need to draw the line. We’ve seen many cases of athletes using banned or illegal substances to enhance their performance which is unfair to their competitors. This brings us to the use of nootropics or “smart drugs” in the workplace and how ‘fair’ they are.
Benefits of Using Smart Drugs
By increasing levels of neurotransmitters and improving communication between neurons, nootropics can enhance multiple cognitive functions and promote better brain health. These positive effects smart drugs have on the brain can help one be more attentive, focused and creative when working. It is widely used by people who work shifts or don’t get enough sleep as it helps them stay awake and alert during work hours.
Other benefits include:
• Better learning capabilities, decision-making and problem-solving skills
• Improved memory, recall, concentration, attention span, mood and mental clarity
• Increased tolerance to stress and anxiety.
All of these enhanced cognitive effects can significantly help one adapt and excel in their work and career. However, the controversy lies in the fact that nootropics are clinically used to treat various cognitive disorders including ADHD, sleep apnea, etc, while their off-label use can benefit healthy individuals as well. This leaves many asking whether it is fair to take smart drugs to excel in the workplace when your health does not call for its use.
Using Smart Drugs at Work
Past surveys show a steep climb in the number of smart drug users in recent years. In fact, these number could very well be higher with many individuals choosing keep their use of nootropics private. Many students around the world also turn to nootropics to cope with ADHD as well as prepare for big tests or exams.
Stimulating the brain and improving cognitive functions can be done in various ways; in days gone by, people used natural means to increase brain activity by consuming certain ‘brain foods, doing puzzles, exercise or taking part in brain training activities. Today, however, most people look for convenient methods that enhance cognitive functioning more significantly and quickly. These come in artificial forms such as cognitive enhancers like nootropics.
While it is not illegal to take smart drugs for their off-label use, many are against the idea of taking supplements to get ahead in your career or outdoing colleagues. The ‘fairness’ in using smart drug to enhance one’s performance really comes down to personal opinion. There is nothing wrong with wanting to improve your memory and cognitive abilities even if it means doing it artificially. However, when it comes to working, it is up to higher authorities in the workplace to decide whether they believe it’s fair or not.
“Babylon” means different things to different people. To the disillusioned, disheartened, and disenfranchised of the land, leaving “Babylon” means to shake off the chains of our corrupt modern society. Leaving “Babylon” means to be free of materialism, prejudice, greed, pollution… to be liberated from anything that has enslaved them by robbing them of individuality, personal freedom, community, and spirituality.
The following is in no way a complete treatment of the subject, but what does follow is a brief overview of Babylon past, present, and future; and hopefully a meaningful presentation of some of the deeper implications of leaving Babylon.
I would like to suggest that we follow Jesus’ example of seeking the spiritual basics as we examine what “Babylon” is and how to leave it behind. So, in an effort to present a spiritual view, here is one man’s opinion…
Why does Babylon get such a bad rap? Ancient Babylon offered many wonderful contributions to the advancement of civilization, so why refer to a corrupt world system as “Babylon”? It all began with Nimrod who built Babel (Babylon) and its infamous tower. Babel was built in an effort to achieve prideful goals: to control man’s own destiny and to ultimately become divine (Genesis 11:1-4). Nebuchadnezzar and his many successors, continued the corruption, lust for world domination, idolatry, and forced world religion that was started earlier by Nimrod (Daniel 3).
Throughout the ages Babylon has been used as an example of man’s corruption and cosmic treason against the Father of Creation. Man’s pursuit of selfish ambitions and his prideful lust for power at any cost is the very essence of Babylon. Egotistical goals sought after without regard to fellow pilgrims, the environment, and most importantly, without any regard to a relationship to the Father of the Universe is at the heart of Babylon.
RASTAS, RAINBOWS, AND REVELATION:
The Rastafarians borrowed the concept of “Babylon” from Revelation to describe oppressive government – “the establishment”. In turn, the Rainbow Family borrowed the term “Babylon” from the Rastas in an effort to describe “mainstream” society and the world outside of the Rainbow Gathering from which they are trying to separate themselves.
In Revelation, chapters 17 through 19, Babylon is used to describe the corrupt oppressive one world government of the antichrist and his one world religion supported by an apostate church. The Babylon of Revelation is named “Mystery” Babylon, which is to say that it is hidden, unseen, and yet to be revealed (Revelation 13 & Revelation 17-19). This “Mystery” Babylon is presented as a corrupt political, economic, and religious world power. Babylon is also described in the second chapter of Daniel as a series of kingdoms starting with King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and ending with a ten nation federation that will be destroyed in the last days by the Kingdom of God.
There are many possibilities as to the identity of “Mystery” Babylon. It is possible that “Mystery” Babylon is the world power described by Daniel and manifested now as the European Union or even the United Nations. Another possible clue to the identity of “Mystery” Babylon is found in Revelation 18:9-19, where we find the description of “Mystery” Babylon’s status as a world trade power which closely resembles the United States of America.
The exact identity of “Mystery” Babylon may not be revealed for some time, but we can be sure of this, we are rapidly approaching a time when the fulfillment of ancient prophesies will become daily headlines. One thing is evident at this time – Babylon is literal and figurative; physical and spiritual; historical and prophetic and therefore it must be viewed from more than just a political perspective.
BUILDING A UTOPIA OR SEEKING THE KINGDOM OF GOD?:
The desire to separate from “Babylon” and live in a utopian world has caught the imaginations of many over the ages. It is a noble goal to live in a peaceful, eco-friendly world. But with the exception of brief periods of time, utopia has not been reached totally and continuously without some type of dependence upon the outside world. Although the Rainbow Family has come the closest to an ongoing utopia, creating a utopian society that is truly separate from “Babylon” and self-supporting has not been realized with any great long term success.
Political and social efforts to completely overcome “Babylon” and its influence on our lives has proven to be only superficial. Leaving “Babylon” with all its corruption and greed is more than just living in a low-tech, eco-friendly utopia. The excess waste, abuse of nature and ill treatment of our fellow pilgrims that is so prevalent in “Babylon” has its source in the selfish ambitions, lust for power, and egotistical goals that make up the heart of “Babylon”.
We have to keep in mind that “Babylon” will not be overcome by man (Revelation 18:20-21) and that the establishment of the Kingdom of God comes not by human efforts, but by the hand of God (Daniel 2:42-45). Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The Kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the Kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:20-21) Any utopian society based solely upon external issues while ignoring the deeper questions of our cosmic treason against the Father of Creation is only a temporal, man-made shadow of the Kingdom of God and therefore not a true utopia. Being free of the bondage of “Babylon” has deep spiritual implications that we need to explore more fully.
COME OUT FROM BABYLON:
“Then I heard another voice from heaven say: ‘Come out of her (Babylon), my people, so that you will not share in her sins (cosmic treason), so that you will not receive any of her plagues; for her sins are piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her crimes’” (Revelation 18:4 -5) “Flee from Babylon! Run for your lives! Do not be destroyed because of her sins (cosmic treason)…” (Jeremiah 51:6)
This warning to come out of Babylon is not based just on a physical exodus or the changing of outward practices; it is a higher call for a personal, spiritual separation from the corrupt world system. The “Babylonian” system can not be fixed until the individuals that make up “Babylon” change first, “We would have healed Babylon, but she cannot be healed…” (Jeremiah 51:9). If we are to use Babylon to describe the corrupt world system in which we find ourselves, then we must consider the possibility that its corruption might be present within our hearts as well.
Jesus warned about making external changes that are superficial and devoid of any real sincerity. Jesus, talking to “the establishment” of his day, made a plea for genuine change, a change of the inner person. “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean. Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.” (Matthew 23:25-28) This inner change, a change in the heart, is what leaving “Babylon” is about. All other types of change are only external and amount to no more than treating the symptoms of “Babylon” – they are no more than just “cleaning the outside of the cup” with no real lasting change.
The pervasive corruption found in “Babylon” has its roots in the corrupt hearts of the “Babylonians” themselves and just changing geographic location or making outward changes would only serve to spread the corruption, not cure it. “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9), Jesus taught us that the system is corrupt because the people’s hearts are corrupt, “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander” (Matthew 15:19). To find true freedom from the bondage of “Babylon”, the chains of bondage must first be broken within the heart of the individual.
TRUE LIBERATION FROM BABYLONIAN BONDAGE:
What is this “Babylonian” bondage that is so pervasive and its corruption so great that it not only permeates all of society, but it actually flows out of a spring deep within the “Babylonians” themselves? To what exactly are we enslaved to? Jesus replied to this very question, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins (commits cosmic treason) is a slave to sin” (John 8:34). Paul states that we “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
It is our very own treasonous acts of rebellion against our Heavenly Father and his creation that has enslaved us. This bondage is self-imposed and self-perpetuated, as the proverb states, “The evil deeds of a wicked man ensnare him; the cords of his sin hold him fast.” (Proverbs 5:22) “…for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him” (2Peter 2:19).
Remember that Jesus teaches us that it is “out of the heart” where evil flows from. It is our heart, our inner-person that needs to be set free from the bondage of “Babylon”. Paul laments about the corruption of his own heart – “I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out… What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:18, 24 & 25) Paul looks not to himself, but to Jesus Christ for his liberation!
Jesus claimed that His mission here on planet earth is summed up in this ancient prophecy, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18-19). Jesus said of Himself that “if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36), and that “you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). Jesus said “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6) – Jesus is the Truth that sets us free, He is the Way to liberty from the oppression and bondage of “Babylon”.
This liberation from “Babylonian” bondage needs to begin with a changed and liberated heart. Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the Kingdom of God unless he is born again” (John 3:3). “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2Corinthians 5:17). As Jesus taught, we must “first clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean” – we must first let Jesus lead us out of our captivity to “Babylon” that exists in our hearts so that we can in turn be liberated from the bondage of “Babylon” that surrounds us.
WHAT MUST I DO TO BE LIBERATED?:
Breaking the chains of bondage and making the exodus out of “Babylon” requires action. Consider these passages that call for personal action: “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” (Acts 16:30-31) “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” (Acts 3:19) “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord’, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, ‘Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.’” (Romans 10:9-11)
The Father of Creation loves us and wants to be a Father to each one of us, He wants us to be his children. “Yet to all who received him (Jesus), to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” (John 1:12-13) “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1John 3:1)
The Father’s love is so great that, even while everyone on planet Earth is committing cosmic treason against Him, He reached out to us. “At one time you were alienated and far away from God. You hated Him, and were His enemies in your minds, and in your hearts because of your evil behavior.” (Colossians 1:21) “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners (cosmic traitors), Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8). Through Jesus Christ the Father has made a way to bring us back to Himself. “But now Christ himself has died on a cross, and he has brought you back to God. Christ will bring you before God holy, clean, and good.” (Colossians 1:22).
It is our choice, we can choose bondage and death or we can choose freedom and life, “I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life” (Deuteronomy 30:19) “For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live!” (Ezekiel 18:32) “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
You my not even believe that there is a God, but if this freedom that is presented here is something that you desire, then just talk to the Father. A simple prayer is where to begin. Prayer is just talking to God, and a simple prayer is all that is necessary, no fancy words, just what is on your heart. You could pray something like this:
“God, I am not even sure that you are real but I am tired of being in bondage to the things that are destroying me. Please forgive my cosmic rebellion (sin) and set me free from “Babylon”. Make yourself real to me. Please help me to be a new person. I invite Jesus to come into my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen (so be it).”
If you prayed a similar prayer to this and you were sincere, you meant it from your heart, then the Father of Creation has liberated you from “Babylon”. The exodus has already taken place in your heart. “Giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in the Kingdom of Light. For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the Kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:12-14) You have been rescued from the bondage of “Babylon” and transferred to the Kingdom of Light – YOU HAVE BEEN LIBERATED!
PILGRIMS JUST PASSING THROUGH:
Jesus prayed to the Father about His followers and their relationship to the world (“Babylon”), “I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.” (John 17:14-18)
Peter writes – “Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.” (1Peter 2:11) James reminds us – “…don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.” (James 4:4) And John warns us – “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world; the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does, comes not from the Father but from the world.” (1John 2:15-16) Paul urges us – “do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2)
SOME CLOSING MEDITATIONS:
To effect real change in the world around us there first must be a real change in the hearts of us all. The importance of keeping a spiritual focus in our lives is paramount. To come out of “Babylon” and be totally free from bondage we first must be free spiritually. Spiritual freedom is a freedom that no one can take away from us because it is not external – it is internal… it is not political – it is eternal… it is not social – it is spiritual.
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”
-JESUS (John 8:36)
“See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.”
-PAUL (Colossians 2:8)
“The time has come, The Kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the Good News!”
-JESUS (Mark 1:15)