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The Smell of Evil



Today I read an interesting article which seemed to suggests that exposure to disgusting items can contribute to making unethical choices.

“Cleanliness is next to Godliness”

How many of you had heard that statement maybe by a parent while you were a child? Well, it turns out Cleanliness is related to Ethical Behavior more than you know! Based on the article I am introducing, it seems that not only does a clean environment deter unethical behavior, but thoughts on clean content also influences the quality of ethical decisions we tend to make. I found this article interesting but it also presents something to consider in an appropriate environment setting and the impact it has on the outcome of our decisions.

The bottom line is that our responsibility of good habits with conscientious living can promote more ethical decisions we make in the future, and vice-versa. It sort of reminds me of a verse I once studied in the Bible.

“Enoch walked with God..” (Genesis 5:24, KJV)

The word, ‘walked’ is usually the Hebrew word haleck.
But here the word is Yith haleck

It actually means “self-enforced walk”. That is, when Enoch took a step he was reinforced, then he took another and another. The process of taking reinforcing steps is implied here. (1)


What does this have to do with my discussion? Well, if we make a practice of taking worthy steps, or living our daily life in an upright manner, we will be further enforced by our very environment which we have established to make more upright decisions. The Bible often refers to this idea is a very subtle way. If you look at the many references with a keen eye, you will see places where the verses state ” walking in the way of sinners and being in the congregation of the wicked”. Taking small steps (even in our thoughts) lead to greater saturation in the state we choose. Small decisions lead to bigger decisions and broader choices narrow our alternatives with every decision, even if we are not aware of the impact of former choices. How we think and live now have more of an impact on our future choices than we realize. Consider Psalms 1.



What I am addressing here is what is also true with our brains. In fact, we have a pleasure center and Judgment center. To fuel one is to deprive another. This is another topic which I will blog on later since time does not permit me to give it due justice at the moment.

But the question we must all ask is this:

Where do I want to find myself in the next five years?

How are my own thoughts today aligned with my “future me” I hope to be?

So, we do not have to understand how our thoughts impact our future. But we can embrace that our thoughts today, even in this moment will influence our lives tomorrow. May we all reclaim our future tomorrows in the mindful ever present.





Here is the original article…

Public Release: 13-Nov-2014 Study: Disgust leads people to lie and cheat; cleanliness promotes ethical behavior

Rice University HOUSTON – (Nov. 13, 2014) – While feelings of disgust can increase behaviors like lying and cheating, cleanliness can help people return to ethical behavior, according to a recent study by marketing experts at Rice University, Pennsylvania State University and Arizona State University. The study highlights the powerful impact emotions have on individual decision-making. “As an emotion, Small cheating starts to occur: the underlying mechanism.” In turn, the researchers found that mitigated, you should not see this (unethical) effect, ” Mittal said. ” disgust is designed as a protection, ” said Vikas Mittal, the J. Hugh Liedtke Professor of Marketing at Rice’s Jones Graduate School of Business. ” The People That’s “If you can create conditions where people’s disgust is People don’t know it, cleansing behaviors actually mitigate the self-serving effects of disgust. One way to mitigate disgust is to make people think about something clean. If you can make people think of cleaning products – for example, Kleenex or Windex – the emotion of disgust is mitigated, so the likelihood of cheating also goes away. but ” Vikas co-authored the paper with Karen Page Winterich, an associate professor of marketing at Penn State’s Smeal College of Business, and Andrea Morales, a professor of marketing at Arizona State’s W.P. Carey School of Business. It will be published in the journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. The researchers conducted three randomized experiments evoking disgust through various means. The study involved 600 participants around the United States; both genders were equally represented. In one experiment, participants such as antidiarrheal medicine, diapers, feminine care pads, cat litter and adult incontinence products. In another, participants In the third, participants these small emotions are constantly affecting them. colleagues found that ” Once effectively disgusted, Mittal and such as disinfectants, evaluated consumer products In another set of experiments, after inducing the state of disgust on participants, the researchers then had them household cleaners and body washes. condition. wrote essays about their most disgusting memory. watched a disgusting toilet scene When people feel disgusted, they tend to remove themselves from a situation. instinct is to protect oneself. become focused on ‘self’ and they’re less likely to think about other people. If I’m disgusted and more focused on myself and I need to lie a little bit to gain a small advantage, I’ll do that. from the movie “Trainspotting. participants engaged in experiments that judged their willingness to lie and cheat for financial gain. people who experienced disgust consistently engaged in self-interested behaviors at a significantly higher rate than those who did not. Those who evaluated the cleansing products did not engage in deceptive behaviors any more than those in the neutral emotion evaluate cleansing products, The findings should help managers and organizational leaders understand the impact, both ethical and unethical, of emotions on decision-making, Mittal said. “At the basic level, if you have ” Mittal said. ” Mittal said the deeper meaning of the study’s finding is that these powerful emotions can be triggered by various innocuous-sounding things when people are reading the newspaper or listening to the radio. “What we found is that ” Mittal said. “Small things can trigger each other.” if you have environments that are cleaner, workplaces that are cleaner, people should be less likely to feel disgusted, If there is less likelihood to feel disgusted, there will be a lower likelihood that people need to be self-focused and there will be a higher likelihood for people to cooperate with unless you ask people, they often don’t know they’re feeling disgusted, The question is how to make people more self-aware and more thoughtful about the decision- Mittal mentioned Warren Buffett as an example of a smart decision-maker who avoids paying too much attention to the news. “If you’re making important decisions, specific emotions, which can deeply affectpeople’s decision-making. making process.” how do you create an environment that is less emotionally cluttered so you can become progressively more thoughtful?” For a copy of the study, “Protect Thyself: How Affective Self-Protection Increases Self-Interested Behavior, ” e-mail For more information about Mittal’s research, visit the Jones School’s website:


About Me…..

Business Owner (LifeBank), Doctor (MD), neuroscientist, Medical Officer (D/C), Student of Life

Completed my Medical Studies;   awarded an M.D from the American University of the Caribbean in 1997. A graduate of Mount Vernon Nazarene University; double Major in Psychology(B.A.) and Sociology (B.A.).

Greg E. Williams, MD

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