Oratory, like drama, abhors lengthiness; like the drama, it must keep doing. It avoids, as frigid, prolonged metaphysical soliloquy. Beauties themselves, if they delay or distract the effect which should be produced on the audience, become blemishes.
To be organized and efficiently, to live wisely, we must daily delay gratification and keep an eye on the future; yet to live joyously we must also possess the capacity, when it is not destructive, to live in the present and act spontaneously.
Even if we could grow our way out of the crisis and delay the inevitable and painful reconciliation of virtual and real wealth, there is the question of whether this would be a wise thing to do. Marginal costs of additional growth in rich countries, such as global warming, biodiversity loss and roadways choked with cars, now likely exceed marginal benefits of a little extra consumption. The end result is that promoting further economic growth makes us poorer, not richer.
One hundred years of delay have passed since President Lincoln freed the slaves, yet their heirs, their grandsons, are not fully free. They are not yet freed from the bonds of injustice. They are not yet freed from social and economic oppression. And this nation, for all its hopes and all its boasts, will not be fully free until all its citizens are free.
Speech is insufficient to utter the last things; and this troubles it not, because the last things may be heard speaking for themselves. At last, after long delay the wondering soul gives form to that which is stirring within it and produces its works art and song and mighty deeds.
Property is unstable, and youth perishes in a moment. Life itself is held in the grinning fangs of Death, yet men delay to obtain release from the world. Alas, the conduct of mankind is surprising.
The Earth's biophysical systems are large, complex, self-organizing entities. This means there is typically a long lag time between economic cause and ecological effect. (For example, whatever global warming we may already have experienced is not the result of today's levels of greenhouse gases but rather the levels reached perhaps 40 years ago; even though CFC production may be winding down, ozone depletion may worsen for a decade and it may be a half century or more before stratospheric ozone returns to normal.) Thus, the temptation to wait until we are certain that a particular trend is fatal, dangerous or simply uneconomic before deciding on corrective action leads us into an ecological trap. At best, the delay simply further entrenches our unsustainable lifestyles, making change the more difficult; at worst, it will be too late to do anything to reverse the trend.