eThoughts : The Palaces of Hell

Brought to you by, Attempts at Sobriety and Levity,™ a division of Book-In-A-Drawer Publications.™

I am not going to pine for the past. I cannot imagine trying to live off the land or water. I cannot imagine being constantly at their mercy. I like cell phones, computers, television, and all of our technology and conveniences. I mostly like modern transportation, no foot or horse or Conestoga wagon for me. I like the new insulated walls, windows, roofs. I love Jacuzzis and fireplaces. I like being warm when it’s cold and cool when it’s warm. Can you believe central air and heating. Nice! And can you believe electricity—just thinking about not having it at all can ruin a perfectly good day. That air conditioning that made so many other places livable—you can thank electricity. And I’m delighted about “running” water—almost always we have access to water. Drinkable water. Hot water. What magic! And I don’t have to expend much energy thinking about food or clothing. In fact, I’m annoyed to have to go shopping. I am beginning to think that the food and clothing should just be here when we need it. Nonetheless, even though I’m required to go food shopping, we have people paying attention to our food supply—the quantity and quality as well as ease of access. I just have to select. Wow! And clothes—not only is our apparel protective, it’s stylish. Wow again! And we have medical care. Not always great or even good, but overall, you gotta admit it’s better than it not being available. Of course all medical care is not always available—there appears to be some notion of health/economic tradeoff influencing our healthcare reality. Yep, it’s not a perfect system, but humans have many more health options nowadays then we had before.

You get the point, so what’s the problem?

Stuff is good all right, but somehow it appears to own us instead of us owning it. We have set up a system that was meant to serve us, but now we may be serving it. Can you imagine if all we set up went sideways? What do we know anymore about finding food? What do we know about clothing ourselves? What do we know about herbs and healing? What do we know about keeping warm or staying cool? What do we know about getting around, especially since we don’t much exercise?

So how does this mean we are serving it? Because we are doing whatever we need to, to keep the structures in place. Look at our system of economics. No consumers, no economy. Consumerism is not such a bad thing in and of itself, but when we let it ride us instead of riding it, we’re in trouble.

And then there are computers. Amazing. I mean amazing. What happens if they break? It’s a mess. We rely so much on these creations that if they’re gone so are we—think Lord of the Flies.

The palaces of hell are better than the slums of hell for sure, but the palaces of hell are not as good as the slums of heaven. We’d better be able to tell the difference because what we primarily rely on better not be as ephemeral as stuff, even if stuff is good. But stuff does not have the same quality in our life as relationships. Heck, even stuff requires relationships—that stuff doesn’t just materialize. It’s true, relationships are not so easy, we’re all a bit weird and all a bit scared, and all a bit aloof, and all a bit needy. But imagine a world where we have all the stuff we need, but no relationships.

I rest my case.

If we recognize and practice the importance of our relationships, perhaps we can step up to the palaces of heaven and acquire a bit more sobriety as well as a bit more levity about our living sojourn on this planet.

May that come to pass.

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