Sunday, March 1, 2020

Oh You'll Never Get To Heaven

Don't pick the flowers
Remember that old camp fire/road trip song? Oh you'll never get to heaven, in an old Ford car, coz an old Ford car, won't go that far (repeat at speed), I ain't gonna grieve my Lord (x3), no more.

Other famous verses, in no particular order, included a Platex bra, a baked bean tin, a ping pong ball, roller skates, a jumbo jet, and a boy scout's knee. And the grande finale... if you get there before I do, just bore a hole and pull me through. Remember? Warning: don't google it, it's too sad. But even so, I admit that we sang it all across Europe more than once.

All this to introduce the concept of getting to Heaven because we watched the series, The Good Place on Netflix. Without giving the whole story away, a group of people find themselves on the way to The Bad Place (Hell) and they don't feel like they deserve to be there. So they try to get into the The Good Place (Heaven).

It all works on a point system. Throughout your life you get points for good deeds and are deducted points for bad behaviour. Try as they might, our group can't get a hold on how the point system works as so many good people are not making into The Good Place. It turns out that no one has got into The Good Place in over 200 years.

Eventually someone examines the files and finds out that in 1700 Tommy picked some flowers for his mother on his way home from work. He got 100 points. In 2015, Jonny brings his mother a bunch a flowers and is deducted 5000 points. What's going on here?

Jonny's flowers came from another country and used up an enormous amount of fossil fuel to get to the shop, they were grown using destructive pesticides which ruined the soil and poisoned surrounding crops, they came wrapped in plastic, he ordered them using his cheap mobile phone which had been made in a factory in China where the workers are exploited, etc... etc...

The whole series is quite good although it does get a bit tedious towards the middle. However, I found this little nugget of a scene fascinating. A brilliant observation that a simple good deed 300 years ago is now a complicated procedure affecting multitudes of people. There are so many factors and variables that it's almost impossible to do a good deed without it originating in sin.

Make your friend a cup of coffee - where did that coffee come from? Milk and sugar - where did the sugar come from and are you feeding her sugar addiction? What about the poor calves and cows who are brutally separated? What about the destructive methane gas from cattle? Give someone a ride - cars are polluting the air and using up fossil fuel. Buy a gift - what's it made of and were did it come from? Call for a chat - who made your mobile phone, in what factory, under what conditions? You can't win.

By the way, I know what you're thinking and though this may be possible in other countries, in Israel it's forbidden to pick wild flowers. We're doomed.

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