Quick Semantic Clarification

Something that someone brought up in a locked post on my LJ where I linked to last night’s post on sacrifice was the concept that we make sacrifices every day–we sacrifice our health and the health of other beings in order to have faster, more convenient lives through fast food, cars, and other hazards.

I understand that this is a common definition of the term “sacrifice”, one that I’ve used myself. But the comment made me realize that spiritually I am working with a very different definition. In this context, “sacrifice” is something that is done consciously for a specific purpose, even if that purpose may sometimes be layered under symbols and rituals. When we supposedly “sacrifice” our health in order to eat faster food stuffed full of chemicals, hormones, and other nasty things, who does that sacrifice benefit? To my mind, cutting corners for convenience isn’t really a sacrifice.

To my mind, a true sacrifice is something that is meant to ultimately be beneficial, preferably mutually so. It is something that is done in full consciousness of both the intent and effects, or at least as much as is possible at the time. The problem with so-called sacrifices that negatively affect our health and well-being, is that:

A) In almost no case do we consciously consider the intent of this “sacrifice”–we just do it
B) In almost no case is there someone who is supposed to truly benefit, beyond our own perceived gain through convenience
C) In almost no case do we consider the negative outcomes of the supposed “sacrifice”.

Alternatively, what I would consider to be a true sacrifice:

A) Involves conscious planning and weighing of the options
B) Involves a specific beneficiary, and often (though not always) an added benefit for the self
C) Involves an understanding of what the intended outcome is, as well as potential pitfalls.

Needless to say, the comment gave me some good food for thought. Any commentary on my definitions above?

Hmmm. This may end up being the basis for my own essay for Digging Up the Ostrich’s Head…..

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