Consequential Thinking

Unbroken restlessness. An urgent sense that, because time is unforgiving, immediate action is the only reasonable choice. Delays set fire to options. Act now, I hear myself say, or regret your failure to take advantage of diminishing opportunities. But I also hear pleas to give myself time to consider the ramifications of acting too quickly or without sufficient thought to the potential consequences.

Consequences. Both action and inaction carry the potential for consequences. No. Not potential; certainty. What is the best route to the least dangerous decision? Impossible to say.


Make a list of your friends. Your true friends are the people who would visit you in prison, two states away. Now, revise the list accordingly.


Everyone breaks rules occasionally. Most of the infractions are minor. Speeding. Running a red light. Slight inaccuracies on tax forms. Removing money, that does not belong to you, from a bank. Getting in bar fights. Stabbing a neighbor. Bludgeoning a supervisor at work. Launching nuclear missiles without a permit.

At what point does deviating from the norm become intolerable? Is there a single point, a universal measure, of unacceptable wrongdoing? Every behavior has its own unique tsingleld. Accidentally running into a pedestrian while driving is frowned on but excusable in certain circumstances. Intentionally murdering a city councillor with one’s car is intolerable.

Life would be simpler if a single go-no go point existed. A point at which coveting some else’s wife would be permissible but trimming a neighbor’s hedges without permission would be punishable by public flogging. But that would not work, would it? Of course not.


The day has begun. Late, though.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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