Wednesday, September 2, 2009


In May 1998, Jeff Dickson posted the 'Paradox of Our Time' essay
to his Hacks-R-Us online forum.
The essay has since been attributed to
comedian George Carlin,
an unnamed Columbine High School student,
and that most prolific of scribes, Anonymous.
The true author of the piece is neither George Carlin nor Jeff Dickson, nor is he anonymous. Credit belongs with Dr. Bob Moorehead,
former pastor of Seattle's Overlake Christian Church.
The essay appeared under the title "The Paradox of Our Age" in Words Aptly Spoken,
Dr. Moorehead's 1995 collection
of prayers, homilies, and monologues
used in his sermons and radio broadcasts.
eleven years later ... it's still as relevant and still speaks to me
it speaks to me of hope

The Paradox of Our Age

we have taller buildings but shorter tempers;
wider freeways but narrower viewpoints;
we spend more but have less;
we buy more but enjoy it less;
we have bigger houses and smaller families;
more conveniences, yet less time;
we have more degrees but less sense;
more knowledge but less judgement;
more experts, yet more problems;
we have more gadgets but less satisfaction;
more medicine, yet less wellness;
we take more vitamins but see fewer results.

We drink too much;
smoke too much;
spend too recklessly;
laugh too little;
drive too fast;
get too angry quickly;
stay up too late;
get up too tired;
read too seldom;
watch TV too much
and pray too seldom. We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values;
we fly in faster planes to arrive there quicker, to do less and return sooner;
we sign more contracts only to realise fewer profits;
we talk too much;
love too seldom
and lie too often.
We've learned how to make a living, but not a life;
we've added years to life, not life to years.

we've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbour. we've conquered outer space, but not inner space;
we've done larger things, but not better things;
we've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul;
we've split the atom, but not our prejudice;
we write more, but learn less;
plan more, but accomplish less;
we make faster planes, but longer lines;
we learned to rush, but not to wait;
we have more weapons, but less peace;
higher incomes, but lower morals;
more parties, but less fun;
more food, but less appeasement;
more acquaintances, but fewer friends;
more effort, but less success.

we build more computers
to hold more information,
to produce more copies than ever,
but have less communication;
drive smaller cars that have bigger problems;
build larger factories that produce less.
we've become long on quantity, but short on quality. these are the times of fast foods and slow digestion;
tall men, but short character;
steep in profits, but shallow relationships.

These are times of world peace, but domestic warfare;
more leisure and less fun;
higher postage, but slower mail;
more kinds of food, but less nutrition.

These are days of two incomes, but more divorces;
these are times of fancier houses, but broken homes.
These are days of
quick trips,
disposable diapers,
cartridge living,
throw-away morality,
one-night stands,
overweight bodies
and pills that do everything from cheer, to prevent, quiet or kill.
It is a time when there is much in the show window and nothing in the stock room.

Indeed, these are the times!
these are the times
when technology can bring this essay to you
and a time when you can choose
either to share this insight
or to just hit delete...
these are the times
more than ever
giving a warm hug
to special people
in your life
is one of the few
treasures you can give
with your heart

1 comment:

  1. Great post Sue. Like your own contribution at the end....i always wondered where that poem/essay came from....have seen it in a few staff prayers.....which reminds me!!!!!!