Today’s Scripture Reading (August 28, 2016): Proverbs 14
In the Star Trek Voyager episode “Bliss,” which first aired on February 10, 1999, the crew of the Voyager is tricked into believing that they have found a wormhole which will finally take them home. What they had really found was a space dwelling life form that was a kind of “pitcher plant” which lured starships into its mouth to be consumed as food. The luring was in the form of mental images that convinced unsuspecting space travelers that all of their dreams could be found within the confines of its yawning mouth. The plot line of the story hovers around the idea that the crew, all except for the reformed Borg Seven of Nine, the Doctor, and the young Naomi Wildman, believe that they have found their way home. As they fall into their trances, their minds are filled with images of family and pictures of home. Everything seems right about the wormhole. Yet, the passage home is nothing more than a trap that will kill them as they are consumed by the organism. Seven of Nine, on the other hand, is seen as nothing more than a false prophet of doom. It is thought that her fear of earth is making her see boogiemen where, in truth, none exist.
Sometimes I feel a lot like Seven of Nine. It seems that our whole system of advertising focuses on this one idea – how can we make the buying of our products seem right and essential to life? And we consistently fall for it. I am gravely concerned at the amount of personal debt many of us are carrying. I weep for my friends who sometimes can’t seem to find their way out of the trap, and even when they try to get out, in reality, they only get trapped even deeper in their debt. When we talk, they tell me that it seems right. The salesperson told them that it was right. They can lay the argument out in front of me until I think that somehow they must be right. But I know that they aren’t. This is the way of death.
The advertising industry is built around giving us a need and then telling us how to fulfill it. We are enticed to purchase things that we don’t need, and we finance our future so that we can obtain them. In the exchange, we give away our hope for a possible brighter tomorrow. And we don’t even know that we are doing it.
The author of Proverbs sums this up beautifully. There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death. It is a “pitcher plant” that needs to be avoided. And it is the reminder in the Book of Proverbs that takes on the thankless role of being our Seven of Nine.
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Proverbs 15