Much if not all of communication, especially news commentaries, comes out of the mood of the times, as well as from a person’s mood. There is the economic or political lake (swamp, as in these times) that hard-hitting columnists swim up from to gasp air and vent out their critical views. And there is the social or cultural environment out of which the literati and culturati pitch their scholarly observations. Likewise, there is the spiritual or psychological atmosphere that teachers of the Word or diviners of the soul descend from to preach their commentaries on the morals of society and the fears and hopes of the mighty and the weak alike. The personal dimension will defy description but is familiar to every person who has ever engaged in using words or other symbolic forms of communicating.
Whichever mood a writer writes from (or broadcaster/podcaster casts from), whether the external or the internal, we cannot possibly determine, although it can be assumed that, in general, the external conditions have much sway upon person’s mood and, therefore, what we feel and what one believes arise from the circumstances within which one lives and works. For some then, considering that they comment on certain technical or professional concerns pertaining to their educational or career orientation, their personal mood must certainly reflect and may even arise from the forces at work within their chosen field of endeavor.
Hence, an independent film producer will create a movie according to her or his evaluation of the realities of a particular setting, as colored by one’s experiences, beliefs and aspirations. A political journalist, whatever her or his partisan biases are, comments on events and personalities based on his or her own political goals or according to the rules and restrictions placed upon the work output required by the employer. That is, mainstream media outfits generally have a specific slant they must adhere to at all times. This puts pressure upon writers, especially those who value their independence as thinkers, defenders or advocates of their personal world-views. It goes without saying that many have to sacrifice their personal choices in order to simply survive. Eventually, many end up becoming clones of their employers or those who trained them to become minions of the master puppeteer. In a war of words, as in the war of bullets, the foot soldiers do the fighting and the dying.
It is in the arena of public opinion that the clashes of ideas and the ensuing clashes of human bodies that we see and feel for ourselves the mood of the times, as well as the mood of the people who purvey the news, commentaries, analyses and information on any matter that feed mainstream media and social media. In other words, what we used to hear only over the grapevine we hear and see everywhere because people are banking on the moods of the times, every media mogul, every news network, every podcaster, every blogger, every Tiktok uploader, every YouTube channel owner, every Twitterer, and every vlogger. We have a real, global Mood Revolution! No, a Mood Explosion!
Mood, as gleaned from Google’s definition, is the mental or emotional condition of a person, the general attitude taken by people within a community or within a certain era or period in history. When they wrote the song “In the Mood”, they wanted everyone else who listens to feel the same mood enough to want to sing and dance to the boogie beat, if not simply relive the period of the 30’s onward. And so, we do, as with so many other genres or stimuli aired over radio, television or cellphone. Everyone these days, in fact, consciously “sets or gets into the mood” using a colorful meme that banners “Good Morning”, along with a short prayer to-go before they hit the road, the floor, or the kitchen. Even hitting the gym has to have a mood-setter of sorts connected to it, perhaps Rocky Balboa’s fighting theme song, or a soothing 432-hz ambient music for yoga routines. And not to forget, the comfort food or supplements that help to tune our bodies to the tasks we have to face each day.
So, throughout the day, we shift from one mood to another, depending on what we allow ourselves to be exposed to in our homes, offices, streets and farms. Drivers have their stress-relieving music as they ply the fast or heavy lanes. Mothers, teenagers and managers have to have their hot coffee, fusion or milk teas, or sugary snacks to allow them to endure through their hectic schedules. And we all somehow survive through the complex interaction of our own moods and those of hundred others whose fluttering wings somehow cause the wind around us to vibrate either in soothing vibrations or jarring impact. And vice versa. The great hurricanes of life may affect many at one time; but the small storms of our individual connected lives, taken altogether, can generate more energy and more long-lasting effects than we can ever imagine.
The war in Ukraine sends jitters of a nuclear war around the globe, more so in the vicinity of that nation. Even the territorial claims by a great nation over a tiny island can produce the same effects upon a whole population or several nations. So much so that to weather such dire thoughts, people spend more time now in prayer or meditation. Yes, wars and rumors of war can rattle us like no other news can. And people in such a mood can be led to think of other negative things or do drastic moves in order to calm themselves. That is why we now have preppers everywhere hoarding food and supplies in their underground bunkers in case of a nuclear holocaust. Or droves of people deciding to leave the crowded cities to live in the countryside where life is fresher, slower and more peaceful. Our mood – and even our health — has much to do with where and how we live.
This also explains why many seem to gravitate to such video channels that offer soothing music in natural settings: a pristine forest full of warbling birds or a cascading brook from a mountain spring. These videos can play for hours as we go about cleaning our homes, making handicraft, or cruising down a highway. Truth to be told, we can choose or create the mood we want to have. If we start a conversation with an undesirable person with a negative word, expect the negativity to escalate. And you will surely end up in a foul mood as well.
When Paul wrote Phil 4:4-8, he probably had just gone through a mood encounter involving himself or some people over some circumstances where he lived and wrote that letter. (Phil 4:2; 4:5 gives us a clue.) Surprisingly, he wrote it inside a prison! How can a person in prison write to tell so many people to “Rejoice in Yah always! And again I say rejoice!” He was practically cheering people who were more comfortably situated than he was to simply trust that Yah will make things work out and that being in a joyful mood was much better than to be worried, distressed or rattled. More than that, he gave the proper step toward achieving that joy. He writes: “Whatsoever things are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, . . . , think on these things.”
Think on these things! These verses were the very first verses from the Word that became my mood-setter, or more correctly, spirit-setter, throughout the past 50 years or so as a believer. For over 20 years prior, I had no idea of such a mood or mind thermostat. As Marcus Aurelius said, “As a person thinks in his heart, so is he.” Paul made it even more pointed by telling us where we should set our minds and moods to – Who else but Yahuah? Anyone would do well to be reminded of this world-changing process that has been replicated thousands of times in other people’s lives.
As a regular browser of Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, I offer a level-headed assessment of the prevailing mood, spirit, temper or tenor of each of these fora. Facebook, being a diverse collection of both real and virtual friends interacting on a daily and even minute-to-minute basis, the mood can be generally warm and amiable, even entertaining and educational. As such, many tend to frown upon the rare personalities who use it to air their gripes or personal issues. Also, people tend to visit it as if they were entering a favorite coffee shop where they can unwind and get the latest thing from friends and relatives. Rarely does it cause people to get worked up, unless one is into politics or religious issues. As in any gathering, some nasty arguments can happen. In this case, one can easily turn off the line of communication: Unfriend or Block. Or Cancel, which gave the phrase “Cancel Culture”.
YouTube, by its visual or visceral nature, is a notch higher in terms of causing people’s nerves to get frayed, although again it is by choice as to the subject one engages in. Carpentry, cuisine, hobbies, or playing instruments, for example, bring joy to practitioners. But current issues, such as the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, elections, and talks of the One World Order, can cause as much bile and acid to flow across the ether as in one’s bloodstream once you engage. Curses fly around. Threads can pierce like needles. And at times, some people resort to real violence because of spoken words. The Internet is much like a neighborhood where you might be listening to classical music, while your neighbor is into rap; and the guy on the street corner is silently cleaning his gun he plans to use to shoot a person marked for assassination. Yes, that actually happens, not once but so many times.
Then there is Twitter. Not many go to it mainly because people do not want to be limited in their words. Or they prefer to engage with the world more directly and more openly; that is why they prefer FB and YT. It takes talent to be succinct or economical in your words. Unless you are a writer or content maker, then you can just attach a video or document with a twit. In general, you have to be a trained or employed communicator to use Twitter. And so, it is not basically for people looking for fun or entertainment.
As a result, Twitter has probably the highest percentage of the most foul or moody (that is, in foul mood, even foul-mouthed) users of all. It is a corporate hothouse of hotheads! Considering the relatively lower patronage compared to the others, that black spot stands out as a badge of dishonor for this forum. A person gets into a foul mood in adverse reaction to something abhorrent, often producing the same reaction in the other person. The statement or issue need not be important or a big deal, as long as it is disliked or disagreeable to the person reacting. Whatever the issue then is (and every issue can be engaged in peaceably and intelligently), Twitter tends to attract so many people just raring to go into a foul-mood – also called “monster mode”. Or, more popularly, in a bashing mode. Of course, they will not accept that they are in a foul mood; that is just what they are and how they react. They probably do not find any value in “rejoicing” or “thinking” on noble, good, true or praiseworthy things. Such people simply love to rant and want others to share or imbibe their mood. They naturally say or see the negative even when you say or show the positive. It is a wicked attitude only a wicked person can welcome and feed on daily as a habit.
This has amazed me about Twitter. FB and YT can be toxic at times, as we said. But Twitter is a class of its own. And every social media practitioner who has sincere or good intentions knows this. There it is! I truly believe that to be in a good mood, or to choose to be in a good mood and also desire others to be in a good mood, you have to have a good heart. So, what does that say to such people as I see in Twitter who choose to be in a foul mood even when so many others are promoting good or are striving hard to create a political, economic, social, spiritual, cultural and communal environment that we can all benefit from? It is baffling, to say the least, seeing how intelligent many of these people are.
But the cure to this social malady is so simple. People only need to imitate imprisoned-Paul’s attitude: Rejoice in the Lord always! And think on the many, many good, good, good things that can lift up your soul and spirit. Then the “the peace of Yahuah, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Yahusha Masshiak”. For we get into a foul mood because we are not at peace with ourselves, with others, and with Yahuah. Our hearts and minds will surely go wild, like a raging lion or fierce beast, without the peace of Yah controlling us.
Peace to those who think this piece is bashing their foul-mood! No one can bash peace and come out a winner.
For peace is a personal thing, not a national or global condition to be achieved by any means. For the nations and the whole world have set themselves against the Prince of Peace. And there is but One Prince of Peace. He deals with us individually. Just as a gun or a nuclear bomb can be set into action by one person, peace can also be achieved or destroyed by one person. World peace is an illusion as much as a truly United Nations is a dream. We saw it during the last UNGA when the powerful nations called for war while the smaller nations called for achieving peace and developing faltering economies. Who hold the nuclear bombs? The big nations. The ones calling for war.
So, who holds your heart? Who sets it into action, to love, to hate, to care or to reject? Who controls your mind? Who decides what it believes and what it disbelieves? You are a gun-holder or a bomb-setter, in reality. A twit, a post or a video can set fire to your life or to other people’s lives.
King David had his own “regime bashers and detractors” – the man after Yah’s own heart did have real and virtual (that is, invisible) enemies. He wrote, no, sang about them to expose their deeds! (Yes, bashers deserve to be admonished, corrected and reminded.) Hello, composers and singers: Who among you will forget for a while about making money in order to write in defense of our traditional values being trashed or neglected in favor of the dark schemes of Yahuah’s enemies? But often, many of us choose to sing only good-mood-setting hymns and psalms in the assembly or at home and not fighting-mood songs to prepare us for the real battles we have to face every day of our lives.
So, finally, here I leave David’s psalm for us to consider, whatever true, noble, just, pure, lovely, good news, virtue, or praise it might contain. Meditate on those things.
Hear my voice, O Elohim, in my meditation;
Preserve my life from fear of the enemy.
Hide me from the secret plots of the wicked,
From the rebellion of the workers of iniquity,
Who sharpen their tongue like a sword,
And bend their bows to shoot their arrows—bitter words,
That they may shoot in secret at the blameless;
Suddenly they shoot at him and do not fear.
They encourage themselves in an evil matter;
They talk of laying snares secretly;
They say, “Who will see them?”
They devise iniquities:
“We have perfected a shrewd scheme.”
Both the inward thought and the heart of man are deep.
But Elohim shall shoot at them with an arrow;
Suddenly they shall be wounded.
So He will make them stumble over their own tongue;
All who see them shall flee away.
All men shall fear,
And shall declare the work of Elohim;
For they shall wisely consider His doing.
The righteous shall be glad in the Yahuah, and trust in Him.
And all the upright in heart shall glory. (Highlighting provided)
Yes, even David knew the righteous shall “be glad” or “rejoice” in Yahuah. The most celebrated warrior of all knew how to valiantly fight Yahuah’s battles. (Psalm 60:12) For today’s spiritual warriors: Remember, communicating (even singing) is part of engaging in the same ongoing fierce battle. And the reason they can rejoice like David and Paul did is because the victory already belongs to Yahusha through Ruach Ha Kodesh (the Holy Spirit). Communicating is a Ruach thing. Think of it.
Again, I say REJOICE!