Today I’d like to talk about some
of the notions in our society which are
misleading our young people and causing
a lot of unnecessary misery. Firstly,
the idea that you must earn a living.
Within the notion of “having to earn a
living” is the assumption that you don’t
automatically deserve to be alive.
For some reason this tends to make people
feel somewhat depressed. I have it on
the highest authority, however, that the
only way to really earn a living, once
and for all, is by being born (and I’m
talking here about physical birth, not
any religious metaphorical mumbo-jumbo).
After that you deserve to relax.
Another misguided concept that I’d like
to shoot down is the belief that you should
be responsible. This whole idea puts people
under tremendous strain, because you end
up feeling responsible for all your imperfections.
Society holds us accountable if we don’t
comply with its definition of our
responsibilities. You don’t choose your
genetic make-up or the conditions in which
you grow up, yet all the unfortunate things
that happen are your fault. It’s
time we let go of this burden of false
What we are really talking about here
is that strange phenomenon called masochism.
It is my belief that we are a deeply masochistic
society. A prominent politician recently
said “if it isn’t hurting, it isn’t working”.
This statement was calculated to appeal
to our need for the type of dogma that
insists we must suffer. Any belief which
maintains that it’s our duty to endure
pain, is guaranteed to be popular.
All of this is against the natural order
of things. If God wanted us to have a
hard time, why did he give us such an
enormous capacity for pleasure
our brains are juicy pleasure organs,
not guilt machines. The divine doesn’t
talk to us in terms of duty and effort
it whispers peacefully to us of
fulfilling our deepest longings and desires.
If what our friends,
the psychologists, tell us is true, our
minds are programmed largely by the language
that we habitually use. They say emotions
are bodily reactions to the thoughts we
have, and that thoughts are largely verbal
expressions (it is said they are performed
by silent laryngeal muscle movement).
Presumably this means
that if we wake up in the morning feeling
miserable, it may simply be that the negative
verbal phrases echoing through our heads
far outweigh the positive
So every time we think
“should”, “ought”, “have to”, “need to”,
“had better” or “must” we are programming
ourselves to feel gloomy and helpless.
All other authorities
are hereby superseded by this sermon.