eternal sunshine on the spotless mind

the paradox of our age

by Dr Bob Moorehead

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 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 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.

Remember, spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.

Remember to 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.

10 thoughts on “the paradox of our age

  1. Interesting and good thoughts, but are they really true in a literal sense? And compared to what time frame?

    “We have bigger houses but smaller families.” Is true. But all the other claims are definitely wrong.

    Perhaps I am just too concrete in my thinking…

  2. “We have become long on quantity, but short on quality.”

    Mikael, are you sure, the others are “definitly” wrong?

  3. Yes I am sure. We are definitely long on quantity, and quality as well. At least compared to the much darker ages that have preceded us. We know much more now than before, that surely must count as a sign of quality?

    I know that many totalitarian ideologies and religions romanticize about previous dark ages. But absence of reason and rational thought is not the same as “quality”.

    Besides, I question whether Dalai Lama should have any special authority on these matters? His credentials as leader of an esoteric cult are not that impressive, roughly equal to those of the pope.

  4. I am catholic. But we always made it easy to ourselves. Because that’s what the catholic church told us: there is us and there’s the bitter rest. We have become an institution rather then a source of inspiration. And speaking of “dark ages” – we live in an age of constant fear – “war on terror” has become a common catchline, we#re fighting (at least some of us) a global war, with nukes popping up anywhere from pakistan to iran. I am totally against what the US are doing, but Mr. Einstein had it right: I don’t know what World War 3 will be fought with, but in World War 4, they will use sticks and stones again. That is, what I call a loss of quality. (And by the way: I find it rather polemic to call a peace-nobel-prize winner a leader of an esoteric cult. Of course this way, it’s easier for the us, the establishment, to deal with things wer don#t like, right?)

  5. What I like the most about these words at the moment is that I can see how they make us think. Not just think, but at the same time question what our own reality is. That his words have this effect are credentials enough for me.

  6. I am sorry if I have hurt people’s feelings. I too find the words interesting. But I wanted to point out that they are indeed wrong (at least in a literal sense). There is no need to become too gloomy and pessimistic.

    It also disturbs me that a leader of a religious sect (which literally is what he is) should be adressed “His Holiness”. In fact it disturbs me that anyone should get a title that the person in question has not deserved. And being picked by priests as an infant is not what I would call “deserve”, although I admire his stance against the Chinese occupation of his country and the obliteration of its culture.

    In my mind the peace prize is the Nobel prize with the least prestige. To my mind it is the symbol of political correctness, not necessarily of reason or of being right. Known terrorists and war-mongers are among those awarded the prize.

    And yes, all times have had their dark threats, now as well as before. But I must say that I can see many times through history when darkness has loomed much more heavily than now.

    I try to be a man of reason and science, and to further the ideals of personal freedom and the right to pursue individual happiness. In my world authoritarian religions are the worst threats to human happiness. Thus I can not see Dalai Lama as a role model, although the religion he represents is an unusually peaceful one.

    My worst dark fear is that we will sink back into a world dominated by religion and authoritarian ideologies. A new dark medieval age. I think the chances are pretty slim, but there are strong forces out there working towards that end.

  7. Didn’t you take most of this from a poem by the Dalai Lama?

    If so it is a bit cheecky to say “by Dr Bob Moorehead” at the end.

  8. Colin apparently did not look at the snopes article referred to just above his comment. I just did and found rather interesting the description of how Dr. Bob Moorehead wrote the piece. This may be worth looking at before dismissing the ascribed author. Unfortunately, the snopes article didn’t mention anything about the Dalai Lama writing it. George Carlin was apparently even given credit for it before, which he denied…

    Whoever wrote it, there are some interesting thoughts presented.


    Is that we have taller buildings, but shorter tempers

    Wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints

    We spend more, but we have less.

    We have bigger houses, but smaller families

    More conveniences, but less time.

    We have more degrees, but less sense

    More knowledge, but less judgement

    More experts, but more problems

    More medicines, but less wellness.

    We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values.

    We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often

    We have learnt how to make a living, but not a life.

    We have added years to life, but 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 have conquered outer space, but not inner space.

    We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted our soul.

    We’ve split the atom, but not our prejudice.

    We’ve higher incomes, but lower morals.

    We’ve become long on quantity but short on quality.

    These are the times of tall men, and short character;

    Steep profits, and shallow relationships.

    These are the times of world peace, but domestic warfare,

    More leisure, but less fun; more kinds of food, but less nutrition.

    These are the days of two incomes, but more divorces;

    Of fancier houses, but broken homes.

    It is a time when there is much in the show 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 make a difference …. or just hit, delete.

    – The 14th Dalai Lama

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