I think this is the crux. Discovering what matters is part of the process of maturity. Having to earn a living for yourself, commit yourself to a partner or raise a family gives you perspective on what does and doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. I don’t know where we’ve gone off track, but it seems like we think we’ve divorced ourselves from long-term consequences.
It’s almost as if we’re certain that our personal lives will turn out ok so it’s fine to watch the world crumble on tv. As long as my team is “winning” on the news, I’m happy.
But of course, the reality is that political, moral and cultural trends aren’t sports. If a football team loses a game, maybe they lose a few bucks in merchandise or don’t make the playoffs. Otherwise, the consequences are limited to the field.
But the aggregate of our choices as a society has very real consequences for a child’s access to food or education. It makes a difference to an elderly person trying to live on Social Security. It matters to a recent college graduate trying to buy a house or start a career. It’s important for people who live in my neighborhood.
I’m a big believer that we have to define a personal morality for our time. Not one handed down to us from a man in the sky or dictated from an ancient book, but something that we each commit to in order to make our shared tomorrow better than today.