Shall we continue in sin?
Once in a while a letter to the editor comes in out of the blue that is amazing, notable, and not the least boring. The following letter's tone is that of resignation and gloom -- a far cry from "Howard Beale" raging at the world, in the 1976 film, "Network":
"I'm as mad
and I'm not going to take this anymore!!"
What ever happened to that reaction to the sins of the world? The "sins" of complacency and apathy are becoming the norm. These "sins" can be described better as "Acedia", a Latin word, from Greek akedia, literally meaning "absence of caring". Acedia can also lead to God's wrath! Perhaps this letter writer is onto something here:
Shall we continue in sin?
North Shore News
Published: Wednesday, January 09, 2008
Do you ever get the feeling that history is on auto-pilot, that despite the uniquely human advantages of consciousness and free-will, history is unfolding according to a script that's already been written, including the final chapter?
Historical inevitability has always been an integral part of the fundamentalist creed. Vengeful gods and higher forces at work provide a perverse kind of unity and resignation. Why get involved with the secular conundrums of the here-and-now when the Apocalypse is just around the corner?
(con't )...Notwithstanding the prognostications of scripture, could it be that
this sense of historical inevitability is a product -- the flip side --
of our ambiguous relationship with progress/technology, and the
realization that somewhere, very recently, we've made the ultimate
Hobson's choice? Even if we came to this realization in say, 50 or 100
years, would it be possible to change course?
In embryology, the
sequential narrowing of options is known as the "cascading effect";
once an organism has been exposed to a particular developmental
pathway, future options become increasingly constrained, and the final
outcome, while never 100 per cent certain, becomes more and more
There's no better evidence for a "cascading" view of
history than the model of development known as the Washington
Consensus. With an emphasis on privatization, deregulation, tax reform
and direct foreign investment, the Washington Consensus is a
corporate-sponsored ultimatum. If there's a definitive message it's:
"Trust us, we know what we're doing."
As an environmental
harbinger, the Washington Consensus is about as gloomy as it gets. As a
"free trade" offering, it's an arrangement where all roads lead to
Rome. Particularly perverse is the assumption that what the United
States does, indeed what the United States is, is the norm, and it's
simply a matter of time before the rest of us catch up.
Canadian government's endorsement of the Washington Consensus requires
the same fundamental misreading of history -- from communism to climate
change -- that has bedeviled America since the beginning of the Cold
War. It's important to note that nearly every western democracy besides
Canada and Mexico has signed off the Washington Consensus, for reasons
that are becoming more and more obvious.
If you're convinced that
Canada is a major force for innovation, consider the Alberta Tar Sands
Project and the stupid to-the-last-drop mentality of the regulatory
powers. To find less efficient government-subsidized energy production
(or a bigger carbon footprint) you have to go to China.
closer to home, consider British Columbia's Gateway Project which, over
the next 10 years, doubles the number of automobiles on the road. Or
consider the "wisdom" behind the decision to eliminate an entire
ecosystem for the 2010 Olympics. Or the "management" of fish stocks,
old growth forests and endangered species from coast to coast.
hard not to think of behaviour, where the damage is so unforgiving and
the responsibility so equally shared, as something closer to the
Perhaps "sin" is the key word, and what we need is
a different religious model and a new broader definition of "sacred" to
match the new ethics of conservation, one that delivers us from the
prognostications of scripture.
© North Shore News 2008
... I don't have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows
things are bad... and there's
nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there's no end to it.
know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat. And we sit
watching our TVs while some local newscaster tells us that today we had
fifteen homicides and sixty-three violent crimes, as if that's the way
it's supposed to be!
We all know things are bad -- worse than bad -- they're crazy.
It's like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don't
go out any more. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we're living in is
getting smaller, and all we say is, "Please, at least leave us alone in our
living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted
radials, and I won't say anything. Just leave us alone."
Well, I'm not going to leave you alone ...