A hope note
Whenever we pass through a room, we unknowingly remove something and leave something behind.
So said French forensic scientist Edmond Locard, who fathered poreoscopy (study of pores in fingers) and ridgeology (study of ridges in the skin of fingers) 100 years ago.
Locard had in mind primarily fingerprints, but that principle came to apply to dust and fibers and other things like DNA that criminologists can study under a microscope. The principle is now known as The Locard Exchange.
Naturalist Annie Dillard makes a similar point. She notes that everything in nature is going through an exchange process. Woodpeckers and worms, praying mantises and people nibble and are being nibbled on, feed off others and in turn feed others.
We are a society of consummate nibblers. On our pass through this room called life we stuff our backpacks and bellies with all we can.
An obesity epidemic is ravaging our youth.
As we approach the trillion dollar mark in financing the Iraq war, our leaders call not for sacrifice but to go to the malls and keep on shopping.
The month that begins with Thanksgiving and goes through Christmas has become a national orgy of consumption.
Insatiable nibbling ‘ shopping and spending and gorging ‘ is killing us, body and soul.
Humanitarian and social critic Lewis Mumford noted that six of the seven deadly sins ‘ greed, avarice, envy, gluttony, luxury and pride ‘ have transmuted in our time to virtues. Self-denial is out. Greed and avarice, envy and gluttony, luxury and pride are in.
Hope calls us to discipline our desires ‘ to think more about what we’re leaving behind, less about how much more we can accumulate in our one walk through this room called life.