We Want To Be Busy

“We Want To Complexify Our Lives.”

Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge.

Ps. 46:10-11 (NKJV)

Busyness means being constantly engaged in activity and/or preoccupied with the things of this world. Our culture finds meaning in busyness. Busyness makes us feel important. Busyness implies responsibility for our culture says important people are busy. Busyness leads to self-deception: I think I am achieving great things, if I am busy. Busyness is vanity: I am important if people, places, and things need my attention. Busyness does not reflect on God or meditate on his greatness. Busyness is laziness for I never have to stop and ask what is really important. Busyness is self-absorption. Busyness contradicts the Christian life’s focus on rest, joy, and peace. Busyness is distraction from the really important relationships of life: God, family, and friends.

I have often said that the soul cause of man’s unhappiness is that he does not know how to stay quietly in his room.

Blaise Pascal, Pensees

We ought to have much more time, more leisure, than our ancestors did, because technology, which is the most obvious and radical difference between their lives and ours, is essentially a series of time-saving devices. In ancient societies, if you were rich you had slaves to do the menial work so that you could be freed to enjoy your leisure time. Life was like a vacation for the rich because the poor slaves were their machines. . . . [But] now that everyone has slave-substitutes (machines), why doesn’t everyone enjoy the leisurely, vacationy lifestyle of the ancient rich? Why have we killed time instead of saving it? . . .

We want to complexify our lives. We don’t have to, we want to. We wanted to be harried and hassled and busy. Unconsciously, we want the very things we complain about. For if we had leisure, we would look at ourselves and listen to our hearts and see the great gaping hold in our hearts and be terrified, because that hole is so big that nothing but God can fill it. So we run around like conscientious little bugs, scared rabbits, dancing attendance on our machines, our slaves, and making them our masters. We think we want peace and silence and freedom and leisure, but deep down we know that this would be unendurable to us, like a dark and empty room without distractions where we would be forced to confront ourselves. . .

If you are typically modern, your life is like a mansion with a terrifying hole right in the middle of the living-room floor. So you paper over the hole with a very busy wallpaper pattern to distract yourself. You find a rhinoceros in the middle of your house. The rhinoceros is wretchedness and death. How in the world can you hide a rhinoceros? Easy: cover it with a million mice. Multiple diversions.

Peter Kreeft, Christianity for Modern Pagans, Pascal’s Pensees Edited, Outlined, and Explained, (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1993), 167-169.

HT: Justin Taylor


Do the Right Thing!

Making the Right Choices

I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.”

Deut. 19-20 (NKJV)

Moral Choices: Three things in moral theology that distinguish between good and bad: act (object), intention (motive), and circumstance (situation). The act is doing the right thing, the intention is the right motive, and the circumstance is the right way. All three must be in place for the action to be morally right. If the right thing is done for the wrong reason: giving money for the poor for the purpose of recognition, then my action is morally wrong. If I tackle a man to prevent him from preventing another man from reaching his goal in a football game then it is morally right, but if I do the same thing in a restaurant, the act is wrong. Each act done separately leads to error: legalism (keep laws to be right), subjectivism (as long as I am sincere, then it is okay), and relativism (because things change the situation dictates what is right and wrong).In summary, know the right thing while having the right heart making the right choice by discerning the right time and circumstance.

Peter Kreeft, Making Choices: Practical Wisdom for Everyday Moral Decisions (Cincinnati, OH: Servant Books, 1990), 30.