Short-Sightedness as 8th Deadly Sin
“Remember the seven cardinal sins? You’re given the serious task of adding a new one to the list — another trait or behavior you find particularly unacceptable, for whatever reason. What’s sin #8 for you? Why?”
This was a Daily Prompt (which I use when my brain cannot think of a topic).
My 8th cardinal sin? Refusing to look down the road at possible consequences of (in)actions. Most of the problems we face as a nation, world, or even individually, come from questionable past choices. I am reading a book by Buddhist scholar Joanna Macy, “Active Hope.” Some nuclear engineer was bragging to her that the drums full of toxic waste in his area of responsibility would be leak-proof and vandal-proof for the next hundred years. She looked him in the eye and said, “And then what?” His baffled look was the response. Why he should care was beyond his imagination. Lust, gluttony, greed, etc., have nothing on short-sightedness.
I totally understand having a short time frame of reference. There were weeks in school when I had a few things due that week and that didn’t even count Barry’s doctor appointments. When someone would ask what I was doing two weeks later, my mind would go blank. I hadn’t even lived through this weekend yet. How on earth could I have a clue for something 336 hours away?
Part of the problem is the sense of urgency created by marketers. “You must take advantage of this offer today or you will miss it forever.” The problem? You don’t actually need what they are selling at all. There can be no urgency to purchase something that is utterly unnecessary to begin with.
The solution? As near as I can tell (and I am open to suggestions), the way out is to deliberately live a slower lifestyle. This is counter-cultural in the extreme. I believe that part of the cultural agenda is to distract us from how harmful our activities are to ourselves and others in the long run. I can do this now that school is over. In fact, my life is maddeningly slow at times, with Barry’s gradual descent health-wise. I am looking for a long-term vision and I know that that can never happen while being artificially motivated by marketers. The Huntington’s has smacked me off the ever-accelerating cultural merry-go-round. Perhaps gratitude is a better response than frustration.