Payments due

I love books. I love reading, I love holding books, I love having books… I especially love the library! So MANY books 🙂

I really love it when a character in a novel I’m reading suddenly espouses a world view that completely blows me away. Like this:

“There’s a Spanish proverb,” he said, “that’s always fascinated me. ‘Take what you want and pay for it, says God.'”

“I don’t believe in God, but that principle seems, to me, to have a divinity of its own: a kind of blazing purity. What could possibly be simpler, or more crucial? You can have anything you want, as long as you accept that there is a price and that you will have to pay it.”

“It seems to me,” he said, “that we as a society have come to overlook the second clause. We hear only ‘Take what you want, says God’; nobody mentions a price, and when it comes time to settle the score, everyone’s outraged. Take the national economic explosion, as the most obvious example: that’s come at a price, and a very steep one, to my mind. We have sushi bars and SUVs, but people our age can’t afford homes in the cities where they grew up, so centuries-old communities are disintegrating like sand castles. People spend five or six hours a day in traffic; parents never see their children, because they both have to work overtime to make ends meet. We no longer have time for culture – theaters are closing, architecture is being wrecked to make way for office blocks. And so on and so forth.”

… “We’ve taken what we wanted and we’re paying for it, and no doubt many people feel that on balance the deal is a good one. What I do find surprising is the frantic silence that surrounds this price. The politicians tell us, constantly, that we live in Utopia. If anyone with any visibility ever suggests that this bliss may not come free, then that dreadful little man – what’s his name? the prime minister – comes on the television, not to point out that this toll is the law of nature, but to deny furiously that it exists and to scold us like children for mentioning it.”

… “We’ve become a nation of defaulters: we buy on credit, and when the bill comes in, we’re so deeply outraged that we refuse even to look at it.”
The Likeness, Tana French

Why did this strike me so much? Because, although the author presumably wrote this book in early 2008 or even earlier (the copyright is 2008), I think she hit the nail on the head when it comes to the current dilemma in the world.

For many years we in the world, but especially in America, have been taking and taking and taking. Now it’s coming time to pay, and our answer is to tell the banks to give (lend) us more. And to be outraged that there’re payments due (psychic, karmic, however you want to put it, it’s time…).

And for me? I’m outraged that all the talk is of MORE lending, MORE payments due in the future, whether our own, our children’s, or even their children’s. When Obama et al talk about “money to the banks to lend to businesses and people” I *never* hear them also talking about how/when that money is going to be paid back.

Does it outrage you too?

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One thought on “Payments due

  1. Yes! It is the all-consuming, never-ending sense of entitlement that people have for things and happiness. Like the world “owes” them this fantastic life, and they are going to be super-PISSED if they don’t get it notnowbutrightnow. Whatever happened to the idea that you had to work for things and if you couldn’t afford those awesome super big screen plasma TVs (one for each of the kids), you didn’t effing buy them? Why do so many people seem ignorant to the fact that happiness is not automatic; it requires effort on one’s part to be happy?

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