Irrespective of the author, it’s always the words that count.
Just recently, a very good friend of this blog sent me a wonderful and inspiring set of words attributed to George Carlin.
As is usual, I took a quick dip into the internet to learn more about how these words came to be. I soon came upon the Snopes website and their page The Paradox of Our Time.
Here’s what I read:
In May 1998, Jeff Dickson posted the ‘Paradox of Our Time’ essay to his Hacks-R-Us online forum, loosing it upon the Internet. That essay has since spread far and wide and has commonly been attributed to a variety authors, including comedian George Carlin, an unnamed Columbine High School student, the Dalai Lama, and that most prolific of scribes, Anonymous!
George Carlin very emphatically denied he had had anything to do with “Paradox,” a piece he referred to as “a sappy load of shit,” and posted his comments about being associated with this essay on his own web site. (The line about “His wife recently died” which was added to many forwarded versions referenced Brenda Carlin, the comedian’s wife, who passed away on 11 May 1997 of liver cancer. Carlin himself died in June 2008.)
The true author of the piece isn’t George Carlin, Jeff Dickson, or the Dalai Lama, nor is he anonymous. Credit belongs to Dr. Bob Moorehead, former pastor of Seattle’s Overlake Christian Church (who retired in 1998 after 29 years in that post). This 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.
Now, of course, what is presented on the Snopes webpage also may not be correct. But does it really matter? No!
What matters are the words themselves and the ability of words to inspire us and change the way we think about our lives. So with that, here are those words.
The Paradox of Our Age
The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider Freeways, but narrower viewpoints.
We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less.
We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time.
We have more degrees, but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.
We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.
We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.
We’ve learned how making 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 a new neighbor. We 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 conquered the atom, but not our prejudice.
We write more, but learn less.
We plan more, but accomplish less.
We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait.
We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.
These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete…
I chose to share this with you. (Dear reader, feel free to share this as well!)
That good friend also included some of his own wisdoms.
- Remember, spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.
- Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.
- Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn’t cost a cent.
- Remember, to say, ‘I love you’ to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.
- Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment. For someday that person will not be there again.
- Give time to love, give time to speak! And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.
AND ALWAYS REMEMBER:
- Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.
See you all tomorrow.