What is the best way to stop smoking? Catholic Times' column on human rights answers: stop. It sounds non-sensical but the more you think about it the more sense it makes. There is no other way.
One is not able to control himself and drinks too much liquor. Next day, he suffers a hangover, and vows not to drink. However, relating with people in society, he again grabs the glass. One enters the confessional deciding not to sin, leaves the confessional with a new resolve but because of that person or situation, it couldn't be helped, and sins again.
Problems in society are the same. We are moved to fix the barn after we lose the horse. We vote and find that nothing changes and are sorry for voting the way we did but next time we vote the same way. The leaders of society promote competition in society and put the academics in positions to continue more of the same, and we become a cog of a wheel in an unfeeling society looking only for efficiency.
We find ourselves on a treadmill-- a vicious circle, and there is only one way out-- to stop going around in circles. When no action follows and we just complain and get upset there will be no change. In a standardized society, where competition is stressed and we look only for efficiency and humans are no longer at the center we have a disordered society; we have to refuse to be a cog. This choice will alienate us from the majority, be pointed out by society and even suffer financial difficulties.
More than my desire the common good, not an easy choice to make but it's the example that Jesus gave us. Without that choice nothing changes. We have to free ourselves from the treadmill we are on.
Pope Paul VI in Evangelii Nuntiandi reminds us: "It is often said nowadays that the present century thirsts for authenticity. Especially in regard to young people it is said that they have a horror of the artificial or false and that they are searching above all for truth and honesty.
"These 'signs of the times' should find us vigilant. Either tacitly or aloud- but always forcefully- we are being asked: Do you really believe what you are proclaiming? Do you live what you believe? Do you really preach what you live? The witness of life has become more than ever an essential condition for real effectiveness in preaching. Precisely because of this we are, to a certain extent, responsible for the progress of the Gospel that we proclaim" (#77).
In conclusion, the columnist wants us to realize that we are on this earth to change the world. That is our mission and where we will find joy, and as Christians that means freeing ourselves from the treadmill we are on.