No, this isn’t another forum for the ubiquitous Professor Brian Cox.

Just listening to the news this morning and there is a raft of serious ethical issues treated as ‘items of (practical) interest’, but without any time for proper consideration in the constant stream of mediated ‘news’:

  • Gazza’s alcoholism – and who, if anyone, is responsible for ‘saving’ him from himself;
  • Gay marriage – not only what happens to the institution of marriage (regardless of your stance on gay marriage itself), but also the assumptions behind the ‘equality’ language;
  • Nuclear waste – and how we make decisions about the earth and its resources when the consequences of those decisions will be borne by generations to come;
  • Banking – and whether splitting retail from investment risk covers all the moral bases and addresses the continuing underlying cultural issues;
  • Covert operations – when a society wants to be protected (and is harsh when protection fails), but doesn’t address what might be the limits of covert practice in providing such protection… especially given the reality that people working against states or societies aren’t always very nice and usually don’t play by the usual rules’
  • Industrial complexity – like when meat guaranteed to be halal is discovered to have forbidden pork in it… illustrating not just the complexity of industrialised food production, but also the need to respect religious and other human/societal sensibilities.

And don’t get me on to Manchester City and the money around the Premier League.

I guess most of us just lurch from one pragmatic judgement to the next when presented with complex moral issues at every turn. Life is complicated enough. But, it also suggests that we – as a society – need to create more space to slow down, think, reflect on long-term consequences of instant choices. Or, as I put it yesterday, to ‘think deeply’ about why what matters matters.

Maybe, as we approach Lent, there is wisdom in slowing down. Not busy is one way of starting. I need to pay attention to what it is saying, and I commend it.

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