The pace at which we now live, and consider normal, precludes responsibility. Since not enough time is given to question one's response, our knee-jerk reactions are too often irresponsible. In order to be responsible one must first be considerate. In order to be considerate over what one is saying or doing, one must first have time to consider it.
Like machines in a factory, in the name of timesaving efficiency, we've been trained to act without thinking. We're expected to respond to directive stimulus without considering any personal responsibility for what we've done. Someone else is making the moral and ethical decisions for us because, were we to take the time and make the effort to make these decisions for ourselves it would only slow us down and decelerate the industrial machine. In our effort to live lives of personal integrity we would be compromising the corporate integrity and profits of the plan mapped out for us.
Robbed of the time needed to be considerate and responsible, naturally enough, we feel rushed and driven, as if there were no time left for us to live or enjoy life. Repeating the mantra, "for the sake of family", we continue to yield to the pressures that destroy family cohesion. "For the sake of community", we yield to pressures that destroy neighborhoods. "For the good of the nation", we abdicate our regional responsibilities. Finally, allowing this mantra to dominate our thinking, eventually overshadowing personal integrity, "for the good of all mankind" we destroy the world.
When what we needed most is to mind our own business and seek to live quiet lives in all purity and godliness with reverence for God and love for one's family, friends, and neighbors, the industrial complex has displaced and usurped our natural loyalty. We tout our integrity to the corporation, to the state, to the nation, to the environment, and to the world and yet we lack the integrity we need to live responsibly in the personal sphere of our daily lives and relationships.
We yield to government and corporate expectations and are duly rewarded with a new placard on our door, a diploma to hang on our wall, a higher credit allowance and, unfortunately, the increase in our workload the system and its managers feel justify the benefits we've received. We are successful -- most of us -- in the eyes of everyone excepting our family, our friends, our neighbors and our God.
To restore a measure of sanity to our lives we must do the one thing the world considers inconsiderate, irresponsible, and bordering on insane -- we must stop punching the debt clock and begin to live within our means. Any debt we accrue should belong to us alone and not to the children of future generations. The tools and skills we lack we must develop for ourselves, humbly learning from others and bartering for what we cannot buy or learning to live without.
Our morality must not sink to the level of needing to be legislated but must rise to the level of loving our neighbor as our self. In other words, we must learn to be considerate. But consideration takes time and until we step off the whirring merry-go-round of profit and prestige, we will never have enough time to be truly considerate. To be considerate, we must take time to consider it.
Michael Leonard Hennen