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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Pollution and the Assumption of Arrogant Entitlement

Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out to the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food….The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” (From Genesis 2 NIV).

For a vacation, would you rather go to the mountains or the seashore? Why? (Serendipity Bible 10th Anniversary Edition, page 1161).


The sea was rough, the day was hot,
And no fish were aboard
And so the crowd began to drink,
As men do when they’re bored.

So each one popped his can of beer.
Then each another round,
And overboard the cans they threw
Which floated all around.

And by and by each can filled up
And sank down to the reef
And rested on the coral there
ln that bright world beneath.

lt takes nature ten thousand years
To build a coral strand,
To shape in infinite detail
The boulders, fish and fans.

And beauty such as God can make
ls there for all to see,
With balance perfect in all things
As life was meant to be.

So often have l seen in life
The best that one could do
Besmirched by careless words or acts
By those who never knew.

Like beer cans settled on a reef,
The digs, slurs and complaints
Reveal how shallow is the mind
Of those whose souls are faint.

Who always cuts his fellow down
And grinds him underneath
ls like the fisherman who throws
His beer cans on the reef.

From Time and The Kite by Andrew H. Hines, Jr.

In virtually every case the ultimate source of pollution arises from a sense of arrogant entitlement on the part of human beings. There is no reverence or sense of being blessed beyond deserving—rather we hold arbitrarily that we are entitled to the world and it is our assumed right to abuse it in any way we damn well please for selfish ends. As Andy concludes in his poem above, this presumption doesn’t end at the perimeter of the natural environment, but pollutes human affairs also. Not only do we look at the world as open to the whims of our manipulative self-interest, we lose respect for others and besmirch them as readily as we do lakes and streams with the excrement of arrogant entitlement. 

Mother Courage- Meryl Streep

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