The Paradox of Our Time

Happy Friday y’all! I came across this poem/essay in my email from over a year ago, and thought it made for a great way to end the week :) If you haven’t stopped in a while to consider the path you’re on, now’s a great chance to do so!

Thanks to my boy Andy for sending this over:


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.

[Rumor has it that everyone from George Carlin to the Dalai Lama has written this, but according to Snopes the real author is former pastor Dr. Bob Moorehead. Who wrote it for his sermons and radio broadcasts under the title, “The Paradox of Our Age”. Good stuff to think about!]

Photo by Temari 09

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  1. William @ Bite the Bullet April 26, 2013 at 7:15 AM

    Profound… and sad. But only for people who look to stuff and achievements for their happiness. I grew up in a third world country and (fortunately) saw at a very early age that the happiest people around me oftentimes (not always but remarkably often) were the ones who didn’t have the good stuff, and upon whom society often looked down.

    1. J. Money April 26, 2013 at 1:19 PM

      I didn’t know you grew up overseas – very cool! I bet you experienced a lot!

  2. William @ Bite the Bullet April 26, 2013 at 7:22 AM

    Right after posting that comment, the very next thing I read was this article:

    which had this quote: “But the factor Vaillant returns to most insistently is the powerful correlation between the warmth of your relationships and your health and happiness in old age.”

    Hard science, done over more than 30 years, costing millions of dollars, confirms what the most uneducated native in dark Africa or Asia already knows: happiness starts with relationships…

  3. Free Money Minute April 26, 2013 at 8:38 AM

    That sums up American culture to a tee in today’s age. I think we have lost sight of what is really important.

  4. Jake Erickson April 26, 2013 at 8:52 AM

    This is definitely interesting to think about. It’s amazing how times have changed since our grandparents were young.

    1. J. Money April 26, 2013 at 1:21 PM

      For the GOOD too at least :)

  5. Jon B April 26, 2013 at 9:24 AM

    This is really good! Thanks for sharing!

    1. J. Money April 26, 2013 at 1:24 PM

      Wow you’re fast! Haha… Love the addition of “what to do” in yours – I just skipped it entirely, didn’t I? ;)

  6. @debtblag April 26, 2013 at 11:00 AM

    Pretty sure George Washington wrote this on his Google Nexus after throat-punching Adolf Hitler, while Ayn Rand nodded approvingly.

    1. J. Money April 26, 2013 at 1:30 PM

      Hahahahaha…. It’s a good thing I just finished my coffee or it would have gotten completely over my screen!

  7. Giddings Plaza FI April 26, 2013 at 11:09 AM

    Thanks for sharing. I also love the photo, and got lost in it for a few seconds…right on that we have MORE of what we don’t need (big houses, more money, more crap) and LESS of what we do (time with friends and family, time to care, time to feel alive).

  8. Nick @ April 26, 2013 at 1:28 PM

    Thanks for sharing this J, it gives me a lot to think about. I know there are several areas in that poem where I could improve.

  9. J. Money April 26, 2013 at 1:36 PM

    I think we can all improve for sure – and maybe not today or tomorrow, or even next month – but what I loved about this is that it at least gets us to *STOP* and think for a bit. We need that every now and then :)

  10. Grayson @ Debt Roundup April 26, 2013 at 2:46 PM

    Now that is a poem. It is a true, yet very sad poem because we are losing focus in this day and age. We are forgetting what our values are and we are polluting our physical world along with our emotion minds.

  11. Shafi April 26, 2013 at 10:03 PM

    In this day and age, we tend to give more importance to money and material things. When I was growing up, my parents give more importance to togetherness of the family and good neighbors. Divorce was almost unheard of.

  12. stephanie April 26, 2013 at 10:38 PM

    I agree with @William; spend years living in a 3rd-world country and find out a lot about yourself, and the traditional American perspective toward the rest of the world. It will definitely open your eyes! Like William, I read this poem and thought deeply about what those years mean to me, and how they truly make me different than the majority of people who surround me day to day. And I’m very happy for that. The day I put material goods above the love of my friends and family I hope someone gives me a good swift kick in the a$$. If I ever give up the beauty of time spent with those important to me, someone just slap me. Material goods can be bought; time, joy, happiness, shared tears cannot.

  13. J. Money April 27, 2013 at 8:35 AM

    It really is about relationships and family! Though a sprinkling of awesome material things doesn’t hurt either ;) Just a matter of balancing and prioritizing.

  14. Mike@WeOnlyDoThisOnce April 27, 2013 at 6:14 PM

    Thanks for sharing this brilliant poem. Hope you have a great weekend.

  15. 30kto30million April 27, 2013 at 7:22 PM

    I think it just comes down to responsibility… people have lost it when it comes to there own happiness, success, well being, life direction and caring about there fellow man…

  16. CashRebel April 27, 2013 at 10:54 PM

    “Steep profits, and shallow relationships.” That phrase just really epitomizes the biggest problems with our economy. Thanks for the inspiring change of pace!

  17. One Frugal Girl April 28, 2013 at 7:55 PM

    Yes, yes, yes. This reminds me of the quote: “The world went and got itself in a big damn hurry” from the Shawshank Redemption, my all time favorite movie. If not handled appropriately progress in the world, isn’t really progress at all. Thanks for sharing!

    1. J. Money April 29, 2013 at 5:23 PM

      GREAT movie! And quote!


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