Once upon a time not too long ago, there were certain rules that most people played by. Many of them were unwritten but they acted like strong guidelines, keeping one on the straight and narrow. This was especially true when it came to money. We spent what we had. It was a shame to borrow. We used what we spent on. It was criminal to waste.
Somewhere along the line, these time-tested ethical boundaries became a bit blurred. First, it was the convenience – no more carrying wads of bills around. The credit card was just a plastic representation of the money you had in the bank. The changing ethical values crept in insidiously. Just a little short? Oh, we’ll cover you – all you need to do is pay a small charge for the short period till you get some money into your account. The wiles of Mammon are hard to spot so we never know till we’re so entangled that it seems impossible to get out. Let’s look at the temptations to which we succumbed when it came to credit and credit cards.
Temptation#1: Looks Good, Feels Good
Our feet left the ground – just a little bit but it felt good. We secretly felt superior to so many people we knew – we could flaunt a bit of plastic. At this point, it was convenience, yes, but it also defined us as belonging to a different stratosphere.
Temptation #2: Fly Now, Pay Later
The temptation to keep up with the Joneses reared its head – ugly? No! All it did was to paint beautiful dreams – dreams that we had the power to make real. Whatever it was we wanted had a magic key – that piece of plastic became our Abracadabra.
Temptation #3: No One’s Getting Hurt
We weren’t borrowing from anyone we knew – we were helping to keep the economy running. A faceless entity created a suspension of disbelief. Floating as we were above solid ground, it felt like a rush of adrenalin, making us feel all-powerful against the cards that Fate had dealt. Up there, there was no right or wrong – it was a different dimension. Where every want became a need and all it took for gratification was that little piece of plastic.
Temptation #4: So what?
How long do the winds of credit hold you up? Who cared? The view from up there was sooooo good – we never wanted to come down again. If walking on a credit cloud meant we could have anything or almost anything our hearts desired, so be it.
We never saw the shadowy figures of the puppet masters above us. Were we flying or were we just puppets on a string? How hard would we fall when the game ended?
Coming back to earth is never easy. We need to get acclimatized to the dust, the dirt, the practicalities. When we’ve singed our wings Icarus-style by flying too close to the sun however, it’s time to get back and grow our land legs. The great thing is that Mother Earth, in spite of the raping and the pillaging of her resources has her arms wide open. She’s got something for everyone. It’s up to us to reach out, take it and make it work. Like fallen angels, hanging up our wings (or were they marionette strings?) and our endless wants along with them and working our way up in the arena we were created for – the earth and all its goodness. This time around, within the framework of ethics, not yielding to temptation.