Against Now Demands
I saw a poster in an elevator: “End Childhood Sexual Abuse Now!” I thought; a worthy cause unworthily served. What irritated me was that ‘now’. I looked at my watch; a few seconds had passed; yet childhood sexual abuse continued to exist in the universe. The poster had already failed!
I say it’s a trap. “Now” is supposed to denote passion, but really it denotes futility. Demand nothing ‘now’ unless you are a small child, or the thing you demand is a physical object in the hand of someone right in front of you. “Stop the Iraq War Now”; I saw that sign plenty of times in that longest-of-American wars.
Just delete the word ‘now’. End childhood sexual abuse! Stop the Iraq war! That’s passionate enough. Why jump off a time cliff just to prove your sincerity? Why even mention time? End the war in... ten years? Why not nine? Or eleven?
JFK made a time commitment; a man on the moon and back again by the end of the decade. The promise was kept because the task was definable and the opposition was nature not man. Technical solutions allow time commitments; but not a ‘now’ until the button’s ready to be pushed.
Ultimately every ‘now’ demand - especially for abstractions - is the sin of hubris; it claims the divine power of instant transformation of reality.