- Pauline Rittel (Department of Social Welfare)
Department of Social Welfare
Convenience is the Damocles’ sword of our generation.
The metaphor of the sword of Damocles that is hanging over someones head, has its roots in ancient Greece, where the servant Damocles called his king the luckiest person in the world thanks to his title and position. As a response to his frequent encomiums, the king offered Damocles to change roles with him, offering to the servant his position and throne. But before doing so, he attached a heavy iron sword over the throne, that was held by nothing but a hair from a horse tail.
When, or whether at all, the hair would break, letting the sword fall down on the thrown and decapitate Damocles was unpredictable. And this is just the same with the convenience we aim at in our life and that we value in inventions and goods. The morning coffee, that we get on the go and that saves us time in the morning that we can spend in bed, throwing its disposable cup away once we finish it, is truly convenient. The fact that these cups pile up in landfills and oceans, decomposing to microbits that will never fade or at least not in the next 600 years, andwill come to endanger our ecosystem is much less. We do know this, but comfort is our highest value.
The take away food and snacks that we get whenever we are hungry are not only convenient as we do not need to worry about where to keep them fresh, but also because they are available pretty much 24/7. The fact that it is not only a harm to our environment because of all the shiny, colourful wrappings but even more for our health as it contains at least 3 different colorants and 2 preserving agents is shocking, but easily ignored.
Our smart, intelligent devices facilitate our lives by providing us information about everything from the quickest bus connection to updates about our friends and families. These handy friends are over all convenient. But only a small percentage of us recognizes that they also tend to make us lonely, as the time we spent on them is time that we can not spend in actual company.
After opening your mind to this thought and stepping out of the hustle and bustle that today’s life is, I would like to ask you to take this moment of deceleration to ask your self the question what matters to you.And in the best of all worlds, all those who read this will take this moment and a deep breath. And they will have the chance to realise what a difference they can make in their own lives. What a huge difference they can be. And hopefully they will not attempt to hide themselves behind the frequently used excuse, that the decision and actions of an individual can never make a difference in society as a whole. Leave the convenience of this behind! Because you (and yes, right now the feared index of the author is pointing right at you my dear reader) DO have a responsibility for what happens to thisglobe - and even more important - to YOUR microcosmos.
So let me challenge you: to have a look at your habits, your choices. And see how much of what you do can be called a conscious, aware decision and not just a blind acceptance of the dictation of the dominant persuasion of our time: Convenience.
So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact
and remember that Life's a Great Balancing Act.
Dr. Seuss, Oh the places you’ll go, 1990
Pauline Rittel firstname.lastname@example.org