Tuesday, July 1, 2008


I heard the advertisement for a radio program (Radio West) on NPR about how upcoming generations are generally apathetic and that is causing many problems. I wanted to listen to it, but I missed it. So I figured I would blog about it, even though I don't know what it was about.

My last post on 'standards' generated some comments. I want to address those. One comment (which I will approach gingerly because it was from my mother-in-law) was about the difference between a 'standard' and a commandment in the religious sense. I suppose that I see some difference. For example, the ten commandments come to mind. Thou shalt not kill. That is one of my standards that would take a very high price for me to sell (like a severe threat to my family).

That is a straight forward religious standard, but I feel that most of my standards have a religious twist. For example, my standard to not drive comes from the fact that I believe that God gave us this earth and expects us to protect it and use it in a sustainable manner. There are certainly scriptures to support that and that is the source of my standard. I also believe that God gave us creativity and intelligence that lead to the invention of the automobile. For that reason I have a relatively low selling point for driving. I mentioned last time that I was more than happy to have my parents drive out to visit. That is a good use of a car and I'm fine with that. This week my wife hurt her back and we have been driving more than normal to get to doctor's visits and such. That is the purpose of a car. An able bodied person driving half a mile to pick up a gallon of milk...is that contributing to the stewardship that I feel that God gave me over this earth? I say no.

The point of this post is not to argue over what standards should be, but rather to point out that they need to be thought about and argued over. It is the lack of interest, the lack of questions, the apathy of the upcoming generations that is going to cause the greatest problems the world has ever faced. I have talked to many people about why they drove relatively short distances and one of the frequent responses was, "Oh, well I guess I never even thought about it". That's how you get places, you hop in the car and drive. My point is that we need to step back and think about it. Are our every day choices in line with our standards? I know that in my life the answer is often no, I do sell my standards at a certain price and I am sometimes OK with that, and sometimes I regret it. I don't care what the price is for your standards, we are all in different situations and while I am completely against the idea of moral relativism, people do find themselves in different situations and different situations are needed. The point is that we need to ask the questions.

One friend suggested that I was being too hard on myself. Sure, I'm critical of my decisions, but I don't see it as a bad thing (although it could be). I don't beat myself up over it, but I do think about it and try to make changes. I still love the quote by Hermann Hesse, "I want only to live in accord with the promptings of my true inner-self. Why is that so very difficult?" I center my life around living 'in accord with the promptings of my true inner-self'. First, I work to center my true inner-self with the desires of my God. Then I try to live in accord with what I have found. While I'm far from perfect, it is only through questioning that I could ever see where I need to be (will of God) or what I need to change to get there. I believe that it is the apathy of the upcoming generations that is leading to moral relativism that says that everything is OK. It is apathy that leads people to mindlessly spend money without ever knowing or caring the consequences of their actions. It is apathy that leads to the unquestioning destruction of the environment. I think that life is to be questioned. Why are we here and what are we doing? What are the consequences of our actions? Yes, we need to question all of our actions, even the small stuff. Without questioning we will never know if we are going in the desired direction. Without questioning we may not even know the desired direction.


Heather said...

Good post. I agree. To delve even deeper, what is causing a rise in apathy? Why is the rising generation more apathetic than the past? (I have some theories, but I'd like to hear yours.)

Oh, and your family photos are just adorable! You guys got a lot of good photos out of that one shoot!

Bri-onic Man said...

Too much hurrying and rushing to do stuff and pay attention to things that don't matter much. That can lead to apathy toward things that are actually important.
Although some might finger you a bit extreme, I appreciate your example and want you to know I biked to work yesterday (30 miles round trip), I'm riding tomorrow, AND I finally got the powers-that-be to render the shower free of stored items and operational! Yay!!!