Something to ponder in the new year

The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less; we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom. We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.

We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life. We’ve added years to life not life to years. We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space.

We’ve done larger things, but not better things. We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We’ve conquered the atom, but not our prejudice.

We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less.

We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes.

These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill.

It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete.

Remember; spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever. Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.

Remember to give a warm hug to the one next to you because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn’t cost a cent. Remember, to say, “I love you” to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you. Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again. Give time to love, give time to speak and give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.

From Words Aptly Spoken, 1995 by Dr. Bob Morehead, former paster Overlake Christian Church, Redmond Washington.


7 thoughts on “Something to ponder in the new year

  1. You know, I used to think this for the longest, and I believe it’s a common perspective among those who ?think? (for lack of a better demographic). I’ve actually rather been growing towards the opposite view over the last couple of years though, and I think my stay in Africa really cemented that.

    Not trying to be argumentative, but let’s take some of the claims:
    -Shorter Tempers. This seems unlikely to me when considering how historically clan wars, violent family feuds, and etc. could be started over something as short as an insult. And the mere fact that we do have those taller buildings implies that we are able to function cohesively to build such things. A society with a shorter temper would, in the least, have a harder time doing this.
    -Narrower Viewpoints. The world is getting more secular, more open to varied religious affiliations, and surprisingly, for the first time in America’s history, is starting to consider sexual orientation openly and legally. Recreational Marijuana just became legal in Colorado. Our views in science have expanded to consider legitimately very wacky, broad, and competing views (quantum, general relativity, multiverse). Clothing styles of all sorts abound.
    -More conveniences, less time. This was definitely something I learned more about in Africa (which to me, was kind of like a step back in time). The idealized “simple life” really just isn’t that simple. Basic activities such as merely fetching water could an arduous couple-hour process. Even thinking of the 40 hour work week (which I do admittedly abhor hah), we can see that historically work weeks were longer. For those times when there was no scheduled work week (a la farming), we could then think about the lack of conveniences again. I did see some people with large amounts of time, but this was generally because either they A) weren’t the ones doing the work, or B) didn’t sleep half as much as an American would.
    -We’re less happier. I just don’t know how we could earnestly quantify this. Seems very presumptive.

    I feel I could go on. I think the reason we tend feel this way (and believe me, I do to sometimes) is because the paradox is really that we are more aware at this time and history. We are standing on the shoulders of all humanity’s progress and can freely and quickly read the thoughts, revelations, and perspectives of the multitude. We have access to the best minds throughout history, are taught their ideas, and can share our own almost instantaneously through the internet. I believe that we are increasingly becoming aware of where we “should” be or what we could be while at the same seeing where we actually are is what feeds this perspective. Despite all the talk of a polluted soul, it might well be that humanity’s soul has developed in sight quicker than its hands have achieved.

    Looking back on all we’ve accomplished and where we’ve come from, I don’t feel it follows that humanity is not getting better. We’ve just got some cognitive dissonance about it because we know just how much better we probably could/should be now.

    My thoughts at least. /rant

  2. I loved this list from Dr Bob Morehead. As Page 28 effectively points out it is a generalisation but I think it’s a great starting point for discussion.

    Picking up on a couple of Page 28’s comments, in the ‘first nations’ I think there is evidence that we are less happy – the rise in depression in particular, and evidence of the effects of chronic stress which modern working methods and the promotion of individualism over community have caused. I didn’t see this when I travelled in Ecuador (and much of the rest of Central and South America): work is hard and lifespans are comparatively short but working together, community values and having fun are much more important.

    I also travelled in Mongolia where there was no ‘working week’ as such. Men went out to work and did what was necessary to get jobs done: the nomads are livestock farmers who tend their animals and sometimes gather hay for winter feed. They work as long as they need to and then they stop. Nobody counts the hours, the only clocks are the rising and setting of the sun. The women’s day is similar but around the home: they cook, they clean, they care for the children. There are no time-saving conveniences but nor is there any internet to spend the saved time on. Work is communal and little is done without some physical exertion, so there is no need to use saved time going to the gym to keep fit. Sure, it’s not all an idyllic life: the climate is harsh and many animals die in the Mongolian winter with hunger and even starvation just a bad winter away. But there is gentleness among the people there that it seems is lost to stress or hidden away in more developed nations.

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