“Governments often decide to subsidize opera performances or sporting events, even though the money could otherwise save lives if spent on health care. Another example: ‘The French government knows that a few people die in accidents every year solely because of the avenues of trees lining the roads; yet we do not think it monstrous that they have decided not to sacrifice such beauty.'” – Jonathan Aldred, The Skeptical Economist, p. 160
Terrifying. The above quote makes me terrified to think of the cost my living can have on others’ lives. I’m becoming more conscious that my long, hot shower may be horrid when some people live without adequate drinking water. Can I never again spend money on nice clothing? Should I spend all of my time seeking to end world-wide suffering (or helping folks in my own “backyard”), acting in ways highly conscious of the cost my living has for others?
And yet, I’m conscious of the beauty of life – the joy of gazing at the vast, starry sky in the midst of a cold, crisp evening. Is that moment of joy ill-spent because I didn’t use it researching human pain so that I can best make a case to policy-makers about how to alleviate said pain?
I think not. Yahweh created that beauty and I’d be remiss to not enjoy it with his pleasure. This topic holds plenty of weight and urgency; I’ll continue to think about it (and perhaps post about it).