Terms and conditions apply
Terms and conditions apply - by P.K.Odendaal - March 2014.
Although we are free to do what we wish to, sometimes to a limited extent depending on how heavy we have compromised ourselves previously. Every action of us is a cause which has an effect. That is a law like gravity and there is no escaping it.
The exciting thing is that we never know what the effect is, because similar effects do not have similar causes - or at least our knowledge is not sufficient so that we can forecast the effect of causes accurately. In science it is quite certain what the effects are, but in the broader social and spiritual field it is not.
What we need to realise is that if we do something, terms and conditions apply.
But, what keeps us really busy is obviating those effects. We are never satisfied with the terms and conditions. So, realising too late that we have made a mistake, we concentrate all our efforts in trying to change those effects - and that is the hardest thing to do - much harder than the act and with an outcome much more difficult to predict. What we forget in the process is that our actions, to negate the effects, are new actions in themselves with new effects - some of them even worse than the first effects we are trying to erase and even more unpredictable.
As a crude and basic example I can cite murder. If we commit a murder, we start lying about it to cover it up - or even worse - if we lie, we start murdering to cover that lie!
Although I do not like to write about contemporary events, I cannot resist the temptation of writing about the current Oscar Pistorius case. His girlfriend's fate was not sealed that night of the murder, but many years earlier when he bought his first gun, or even earlier when he became a ... sorry, I have to be careful - the truth hurts. What happened after he bought his first gun was just a continuation of the effects of those causes until it culminated in her murder. It is such a classical example of someone who exercised his free will incorrectly every time and who constantly used dubious means to erase his actions. That road is a dead end - sorry for the pun.
It would behove us to think deeply about our actions and try and establish what the terms and conditions are.
To go back even further to history, which I do like to write about, we can cite Eve. Eve thought that the fruit she was offered was so Gen 3:6 ... good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat.
So, her next action would be the lie and the terms and conditions would be death itself. It is so basic and true and sure - and yet we fall for it every time. It is as if we are programmed for the evil - and that is what the word original sin really means. We were contaminated by the evil because of her disregard for God's directive that she would die if she ate of that fruit. God explicitly told her what the terms and conditions were beforehand.
If we are creative or innovative, we will stretch this envelope even further, and that is why most of these creative or highly successful people are normally on a road of self-destruction. They are pushing towards unchartered waters and later disappear in the Bermuda triangle - figuratively speaking.
And whilst we ponder terms and conditions on a general level, we might as well look at them on an inter relational basis.
If we enter into a relationship with someone, regardless of the type, there are unwritten or even mutually agreed terms and conditions, and we often veer from that for personal gain, and we are then shocked to find that we did not read or realise the small print - figuratively speaking.
The old adage sometimes leaves us cold, but it was manufactured over many centuries: Act in haste and repent at leisure. How many of us have so often regretted what we did or said too late. Sometimes wishing that we have instead bitten off our tongue.
It is best in all situations to first reflect before we act or talk. I we shoot from the hip, we hurt people and we all know loose cannons are a menace.