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27 March 2009 @ 05:03 pm
No. 35: What Is Your Motto?  

I didn't think I had a motto until this afternoon. I'm not completey sure whether it could actually be called a motto, either, but it's a principle that surprisingly often seems to baffle people. It's what you do every day that counts. To me, it's a simple and obvious truth: there's no point in avoiding plastic bags one single day a year because they're bad for the environment; it doesn't make you a good person. There's no need to give up vegetarianism altogether because you don't want to miss out on the fabulous, marinated steak your friend cooks at the annual midsummer barbecue party. Enjoy that steak on that day (and why not the leftovers on the next), then go home and eat beans the rest of the year; it doesn't make you a bad person. Getting epically drunk a couple of times a year doesn't make you an alcoholic, and as long as you keep eating several bags of crisps a day, the occasional martyric salad for lunch won't make any change whatsoever to your weight.

There's two sides to this: firstly, there's too many once-off, conscience-soothing, noncommital happenings that fool people into thinking that they're good people. Of course, there's nothing bad about wanting to be a good person, and possibly those things could lay a foundation for a positive frame of mind in some people, but really: it's what you do every day that change reality. Do you leave the computer on when you leave work, do you drive a car to the gym, do you routinely buy food that comes in triple packagings? That matters infinitely more than whether you turn off the lights for an hour tomorrow evening.

Secondly, where does the idea that being consequent is one of the prime virtues of modern man come from? (There's a question about Most Overrated Virtue somewhere in the Questionnaire, and this is definitely a contender.) Being consequent and staying with your principles whatever happens is not good. Being able to adapt to situations, to see the needs of others, to react to the way things actually are at precisely this moment, that's good. Not blindly and martyrically sticking to the rules you've set for yourself.

(Written on an extremely low sugar level, a long, long time after an unsatisfactory lunch. Don't hesitate to tell me if I'm being too Scroogey about World Earth Hour, but unless there's something I've missed, it's pointless to the bone and the energy that goes into this unintelligible make-believe "action" would have been better spent trying to get people to make changes in their daily lives. Right?)
Frescafrescadp on April 1st, 2009 01:32 am (UTC)
Um..... I missed the energy-saving event altogether. Did we save the world?
mrs_conclusion: Nau Napparimrs_conclusion on April 3rd, 2009 05:47 am (UTC)
*peeks around*

*sniffs air*

...seems OK...