While I was working out at the Waterloo YMCA, the DJs at Kool FM played the Great Big Sea‘s “Consequence Free“. Of all the songs I’ve ever heard, this is the one that I find most offensive (although Nat King Cole‘s “Pretend” is a pretty close second).
The authors of this song want to live in a world where their actions have no harmful repercussions. They want to say whatever comes to mind, but not have anybody be offended by it. They want to slip off the edge and not have to worry about the fall. They want to live in a world where nothing needs to matter: consequence free.
What rubbish. It is the predictability of the physical laws of nature and their consequences that holds the universe together. We live as consequence of eating and breathing. We learn as a consequence of the reactions to our actions from others. We walk as a consequence of the properties of matter. We achieve as a consequence of our desires. Consequences are what make anything possible.
Without consequences, we would never be sure if what went up would come down. We would not be able count on an attraction between electrons and protons, or any force of nature. We would not be able to count on anything, that is, if we could even be at all. To desire existence without consequence is to desire the destruction of the universe.
I find it disheartening that this song was ever written. That it is so popular is a testament to Russell’s adage: Most people would rather die than think; in fact, they do so.