Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Money Affects Our Sight

Discussions on the tragedy surrounding the sinking of the Sewol Ferry continues with prayers, condolences and diagnosis. Writing in a pastoral bulletin a priest explains Heinrich's law:1:29:300. The theory says  for every serious injury, there are 29 minor accidents that precede, and cause minor injuries and 300 accidents that precede these minor accidents with no injuries. Looking at all the facts surrounding  the sinking of the ferry it was just a matter of time before we had this disaster take place according to the priest. We are given many signals that we choose to ignore but there comes a time when our eyes are opened.

There is no reason to quibble about the truth of  Heinrich's law, for our common sense would give us plenty of reasons to believe that cause and effect are operative when we  deal with catastrophes. The familiar proverb: 'A stitch in time saves nine' and 'An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,' are saying the same thing in different ways. Korean society has been hearing of the corruption that has been uncovered in the aftermath of the accident and wants to see some changes made. The President has in her message to the  nation vowed to take some very serious steps to prevent future problems. 

In a society in which  money is all  important, the big corporations and business enterprises consider that when they do well the smaller enterprises and the society at large  will benefit with the 'trickle-down effect' of their success. With this understanding more than persons and their dignity what is important is  money and ways to make more of it.

The writer lists  different problems that we have in society when money becomes all important to the disadvantage of the persons involved. In one case, workers who were recently fired from one of the big companies, 25 of the workers and members of their families have died or committed suicide. There are many accidents and diseases that workers suffer on the job, and are overlooked by the companies.

The numbers of suicides in Korea are the highest among the developed countries. The numbers of the young who have thought of killing themselves is also the highest among  the developed countries. There is a need to set some new priorities and values for our society.

Many in society see a need to change our standards and ethics. or we are asking for more problems in the future. Money does influence the way we think and what we choose to see. The culture that material success has nurtured influences all of us. Pope Francis says it well in Evangelii Gaudium: "One cause of this situation is found in our relationship with money, since we calmly accept its dominion over ourselves and our societies. The current financial crisis can make us overlook the fact that it originated in a profound human crisis: the denial of the primacy of the human person! We have created new idols. The worship of the ancient golden calf (cf. Ex 32:1-35) has returned in a new and ruthless guise in the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose. The worldwide crisis affecting finance and the economy lays bare their imbalances and, above all, their lack of real concern for human beings; man is reduced to one of his needs alone: consumption" (#55).

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