Yesterday, I was talking with a thoughtful person who works for a high-powered company. His insight is that, even though this is a solid company for which he likes to work, there is a problem. That problem, very obvious to him, is this: the end-point or goal of the company is to make money.
His point was this: Making money, a thousand years ago, used to be a means to an end, not an end in and of itself. Now people in modern cultures do not even think twice about this. The central goal of too many companies is to make money.
When means to ends (such as making money) become desired ends, then our purpose in life can get fuzzy. After all, if the means is the end we have stood our priorities on their heads and so our quest for genuine meaning in this life gets obscure.
When we do not know why we are here, we feel pain and experience confusion. When the pain and confusion settle in, there tends to be a quest for diversion, entertainment, a moment’s pleasure spent to block the pain and avoid thinking about the confusion.
Diversions themselves now have become a large part of our ends in modern societies. After all, how much per capita per year is spent on entertainments and diversions? When diversions then become ends, we weaken in persistence toward meaningful goals. After all, diversions call for change, variety, pumping adrenaline for a few hours of pain reduction.
When we lose sight of true goals and fall into diversions and fall into the trap of constant variety, we lose our sense of persistence and our strong will weakens.
So, then, what does all of this have to do with forgiveness? Precisely this: I have seen that too many people come rushing into the practice of forgiveness with enthusiasm and passion, but then just cannot sustain the effort over months and years as they quest for the next “new thing.” And even that “new thing” gets old fast when diversion and pleasure and money-making are the culturally-created ends.
And so forgiveness does not mature and when the pains of injustice come, there is no strength to meet the pains with mercy and love and so the pains are passed to others who now must divert from their pain…..and on it goes.
We need, first, insight that this is happening. Then we need to take a courageous look at our wills to persevere in the necessary issues that make us and others more human and forgiveness is one of these. And we need to persevere in these necessary issues and not let diversions dominate….for the good of humanity. Long live forgiveness. Long live our pursuit of it.