Editor's World - About the greed

7-8 2007 Slovo redakce English
obálka čísla

Among the "Letters to the Editor" in today's paper you can read an extensive reflection by Ivan Trefny concerning morality: "Do unto others as you would want them do to you."

He says: Here are my thoughts about the character of a nation. How it originated, how it was influenced by history, which is of course was created by its people. What should be done so that the minority of people who are decent, honest and who follow the above quoted passage will be transformed into a majority. Such a world- shaking transformation occurred for example during the Czech national revival in the past. But as long as the majority of people steal, lie and accumulate material possessions and power - nothing will change.

It is not pleasant reading, even though the author occasionally tries to write in a lighter style.

However he tells us the truth. It appears that the civilized world has been stricken by blindness. The more we surround ourselves with the latest technical inventions and material things, the more it seems we lose our natural instincts and the so-called horse sense. The same theme is followed by our Czech Dialog section called "Kocourkov" (Or Foolsville).

Recently I got very interested in an article written by a physician. He was visited by his former schoolmate who has become a successful entrepreneur. This person was clearly very stressed, was shaking, was unwell and suffered of sleeplessness and headaches. He came to the doctor to get some pills. The physician gave him something but mostly he was trying to explain to him that - in order to be well again- he would have to change his way of life. That one could not live only to accumulate more and more - more things, more money, more power. That it would not bring real contentment, that we only are fooling ourselves and are trying to pacify our unhappy feelings by acquiring still more of everything. And thus we become sick. However, the patient did not want to listen. He insisted on getting the pills believing that one can fix the body the same way that we repair our cars.

The newspaper MFDnes recently had an article (June 21) about how many new shopping centers there are in Prague in spite of the fact that the number of shoppers is declining. (Evidently they are now more spread out.). There are 12 shopping centers in Prague and more will open soon. The managers are dreaming up various attractions to lure customers to their stores- customers who have now found a new way of spending their free time- instead of enjoying hikes in the country or visiting some cultural eventthey go shopping!

And they buy everything. Mountains of food and big refrigerators and freezers to have a place to store it, hectoliters of unhealthy drinks and various kinds of water, and alcohol. Also clothes, shoes, dishes, new electronic devices, televisions and all kinds of building materials for weekend cottages. This is interesting: Not even the arrival of capitalism had put a stop to this Czech phenomenon. Yet it changed quite a lot because one can now buy different things. Instead of sickles and scythes we now have lawn mowers. Hatchets and saws were replaced by power saws and electric or gas-driven pruning sheers. The romance of campfires disappeared, we now buy outdoor grills. Swimming in the river? We now have a pool- we must make use of it. We will buy a pool cover, so that leaves won't fall in, and also a vacuum cleaner to keep the pool spotless. And we keep on shopping in those gigantic shopping centers for all sorts of stupid and nonessential things that we really don't need; but we succumbed to advertising which has been bombarding us from all sides. For all of this we need money. Therefore we must earn more and more of it so that we can buy more and more junk. And so it goes- round and round. But enough about all that greed.

Some time ago we published and article reflecting on the fact that we like to celebrate Czech martyrs. For example, the murdered St. Vaclav ( in 935), or Jan Hus who was burned at a stake 587 years ago. Luckily there are also more pleasant moments in our history. Tomorrow is the anniversary celebration of Cyril and Methodus. For several days already there had been celebrations at Velehrad with many thousands of people attending. I am very pleased that so many came- they cannot be called a minority, as Mr. Trefny indirectly called them. It is proof that we are still capable of cherishing such moments in our history that brought us education and Christianity.

Eva Strizovska,
Translated by Marie Dolanska
July 5, 2007

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