The Paradox of the Times We Are Living In

This is one of my favourite poems, written by Octavian Paler.

Translation and adaptation: Michaela Fengstad


Historically, the paradox of the times we are living in,is that we have:
Larger buildings but smaller hearts;
Wider highways but narrower minds.
We spend more but we own less,
We buy more but we enjoy less.
We have bigger houses but smaller families,
We have more gadgets but less time.
We have more titles, but less intelligence
More knowledge, but less common sense.
More experts, yet more problems
More medicine, less health.
We drink too much, we smoke too much,
We spend too carelessly,
We laugh too little,
We drive too fast,
We get too angry,
We go to bed too late, we wake up too tired,
We read too little, we watch too much TV but
We seldom pray.
We multiplied our wealth, but we reduced our values.
We talk too much, we rarely love and we hate too often.
We learnt how to earn our existence, but not how to make a living,
We add years to our life but not life to our years.
We reached the moon and back, but we are challenged
when we have to cross the street to meet a neighbour.
We conquered the outer space but not the inner space.
We made bigger things but not better.
We cleaned the air, but polluted the soil.
We got past the atom, but not past our prejudices.
we write more, but we learn less.
We plan more, but we accomplish less.
We learned to hurry but not to wait.
we made more computers: to hold more information,
to produce more than ever copies, but we communicate less and less.

These are the times of fast food and slow digestion; of big men and mean characters;
quick money and superficial relationships.
These are the times when we have two incomes, but
more divorces,
Nicer houses, but broken homes.
These are the times with fast trips, disposable diapers,
low morals,one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that induce
any state: from happiness, to quiet and to death.
These are times with too many windows, but nothing in the stores.
Times in which technology can bring you this letter and in which you can decide either to share this point of view,
or to delete these lines.

Remember to spend time with your loved ones,
Because they will not be with you forever.
Remember to say a kind word to the child that worships you, as that child will soon be grown up
and leave you.
Remember to give a loving hug to your partner because this is the only treasure that you can offer from your heart and won’t cost you a penny.
Remember to say “I Love You” to your partner and all your dear ones, but say it with all your heart.
A kiss and a hug will alleviate the pain when they come from the heart.
Remember to hold your loved ones’ hands and to share those moments because one day, that person will not be standing by your side anymore.
Make time to love, make time to talk, make time to share your precious thoughts.

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