One of the worst pieces of advice that I hear repeatedly is “to live as if today was your last day.” That’s completely god-awful advice. It implies a refusal to plan for the future, and to consume and spend. Take the pleasure, it says.

A much better piece of advice is to “life as if you would live forever”. Living in that way implies producing and investing for the future: invest in new friendships, invest in existing friendships, and build institutions for yourself, your family and your community. Build happiness, it says.

In that context, this paragraph by security expert Bruce Schneier caught my attention:

What we are confronting is something many writers in the pandemic have approached from varying angles: a restless distraction that stems not just from not knowing when it will all end, but also from not knowing what that end will look like. Perhaps the sharpest insight into this feeling has come from Jonathan Zecher, a historian of religion, who linked it to the forgotten Christian term: acedia.

COVID-19 and Acedia

These are twin harms: not knowing when it will end, and not knowing how it will end. They combine to make it hard to plan for the future, to build for the future, and invest for the future. Building and investing not just in commercial or financial relationships, but building and investing in other institutions of our community.