Friday, November 05, 2021

Option And Choice

 We live in an age of options.

I can go to a restaurant and thanks to the wonders of technology can have one of 65 flavors of soft drink (vanilla being my favorite, of course).  I can watch any number of different media types streamed directly into my home via streaming services (and that does not count the endless variety of things on the InterWeb).  I can order literally anything from almost anywhere, and have it delivered in a week.

But in the course of our rush to optionality - which apparently has become our birthright - we have come to view people in the same sort of way.  It matters because how we treat people is ultimately how we form and manage society.

The reality is that organizations have come to the same conclusion and now view the individual in the same way:  something to be called upon if needed, and ignored if not.

If necessary, of course, organizations will make "allowances".  For example, every year many organizations through a fund raising campaign.  In my past history in churches (mostly mainline Protestant denominations), the older members are the vast majority of the givers.  To make sure that they stay engaged, churches will often try to hold a traditional service, while their time and energy (and new things) are funneled elsewhere.  "We have a traditional church option" they crow (as if the traditions of one's beliefs is a major accomplishment).  And having raised the money, they move that segment to the back burner of importance and move on.

Other organizations are not immune, of course.  Political parties create programs and want money and votes; charitable organizations declare "Founder's Day" to elicit tradition; distant acquaintances in need of a moving buddy or a resource suddenly "befriend" us on social media.  And once the money or votes or support comes in, they immediately revert to type and move on with their agendas, not those of the people that gave their time and money and effort.

In other words - and to the point of the picture - people and organizations often treat those from whom they need something but whom they do not really agree with as optional.

We, in turn, need to start treating them as a choice - and acting accordingly.

The reality - right or wrong - is that people and organizations always treat us exactly how they actually feel about us, whether they realize it or not.

So we get to make a choice - no, we have the power to make a choice.

To simply walk away.

To withdraw support.

To move on to more productive exploits.

Yes, I know this is not "vigorous" enough for some folks.  They demand great actions, Thunder and Lightning, calling down the wrath of the gods.  And perhaps there is a time and place for that.

But often the greatest  damage - or change - to a structure, edifice, organization, or relationship happens slowly over time, as the supports and binding things wear away unrealized, until the moment comes when the thing collapses or ends.  Everyone is usually surprised by this - "How could this happen?" when in point of fact it was happening as people made choices or wind and weather worked their slowly, steady magic.

It is only ever a surprise to those who treated such things optionally.


  1. The Catholic Church, at least out here in the West, has been engaged in an orgy of pandering to Mexicans. The people who founded the parishes, raised the money for the buildings, and peopled those parishes have been largely discarded in favor of filling the pews with our neighbors to the south. The major masses are bilingual; read "long and confusing for all." The books in the pews are titled in Spanish with an English subtitle. Nothing is thought wrong about the Mexican kids doing pagan Aztec dances in front of the church. And then there's the Mexican fanaticism with Mary... The church just shrugs its shoulders. I became an outcast in my own church. Realizing that, I walked away... I was no longer needed...

    1. Pete, the acceptance of not necessarily other cultures but other practices is the most alarming thing. there is no discrimination.

  2. Businesses should be allowed to stand or fail based on consumer preference.
    Not because they won't bake a cake or give a discount to people who pray before they eat their meal.
    Or did I over simplify what you were trying to explain?

    1. No, that is one aspect Linda. Owners have a right to run their business; the market will decide if they accept it.

  3. Anonymous10:48 AM

    There are many places on line that give you the statistics of most organizations. Last time I look Bono org for something was 92% cost to run and 8% went to help. His was the worst. If they are paying their CEO a million or more then they don't get 1 very thin dime. Always check out what they do with each dollar you give.

    1. It is critical Margi. I mostly do not give to major charitable organizations precisely for that reason. Mostly local or small scale.


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