Minor Inconveniences

Caravaggio – The Sacrifice of Isaac

Can we all contribute a little bit to make the world a better place? It sounds easy, and it feels good. There are thousands of web sites and campaigns clamoring people into donating a few percent of their wealth to the Good. There are even courageous politicians who dare to ask people to drive a little bit less in cars that are a little bit smaller. After reading these first three sentences, I am quite sure you felt these are the words of a cynic, am I right? You had this discomforting feeling that a disillusioned sore soul was sneering at you, someone who was once, in a former life, a hypermoralistic puritan. Am I right?


Have no fear. I’m not trying to “get to you” and make you feel guilty because you don’t comply with my pompous ├╝ber-moral. I just want to write something about minor inconveniences. How could we define them? “Inconvenient” means “not suited to our comfort”, so how about “not completely suited to our comfort”? A fly that sits on your computer screen, not enough space in your refrigerator, a TV without a remote control, a room too cold to take off your sweater, a torch that has to be recharged, a shower that takes time to heat, sharing a room with someone else, sharing a car with someone else, or a less than perfect air conditioner. These might be examples of minor inconveniences, as opposed to major inconveniences like your car stolen, your house burned down or your loved ones lost. But it’s a slippery slope, isn’t it?

Do be afraid. With 7 billion people on the planet (and projected to grow to 9.2 billion by 2050, and 10 billion by the end of the century) all craving a convenient life with convenience products, all craving energy-guzzling plasma TVs, big cars, air conditioning, lots of meat and plastics, we are going to feel the consequences in our own generation, let alone the horror we bequeath to our grandchildren. Read the scientific reports, read the analysis of authors without vested corporate interests, and judge for yourself. The solution does not only consist of changing to renewable energy and phasing out the mining of new materials. Every expert will tell you that without some minor inconveniences on the consumer end, it can’ be done.

Should we willingly accept minor inconveniences? Every inch we drive less, every degree we turn the thermostat up or down, every penny we invest in “renewables” is an invasion into our privacy, a gross insult to our very being and our “Way of Life”.

Any intended inconvenience is, by definition, a self-sacrifice. It might sound impossible after the death of God in the 19th century and his burial in the bogs of last century’s cruelty, but when I look at the numbers it is exactly what we need.

S E L F – S A C R I F I C E

Enjoy!

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