I ended up at the beach (that is the shore for all of you in the Northeast) this weekend. As I was eating breakfast I noticed the Pepsi slogan on the umbrellas being put up on the other side of the pool. See it for yourself on the picture.
This slogan brought several thoughts to mind.
First, there is a sense in which living for the present is good. Jesus taught that we should not worry about tomorrow. In addition, it is easy to become so focused on tomorrow that we fail to meet the responsibilities and miss the God’s blessings of today. There is also the opposite danger of living in yesterday, which can lead to remorse and many other negative emotions. It can also get us stuck in the past, causing us to be out of touch with and ineffective in today’s world.
However, I doubt seriously as to whether that is what Pepsi has in mind. Rather, I sense that this slogan is a takeoff on the old mantra from the hippie era, “Do it now.” This brings me to the second thought prompted by this slogan. Philosophically, contemporary America has never left the 60s, the “Now Generation,” and the attitudes, values, and behaviors embodied by that movement. There can be little doubt that Pepsi chose this slogan because it believes that it would sell to an American public that embraces this philosophy. Pepsi is right about that assumption.
That is an important reality to grasp since it explains almost everything about our current culture. Our society embodies the sixties culture come of age—not to be confused with coming to maturity. We are embracing the irresponsibility, the decadence, the selfishness, the morality of immorality, the selling of the future for immediate gratification, and all the supportive arrogance and self-righteousness of the hippie movement, with the same disastrous results now as then, only now on a national scale.
This realization elicits the third response to this slogan, which is recognition of its destructiveness. Taken at face value, “live for now,” an imperative, advocates immediate gratification as a virtue while in reality that approach to life comprises the root of almost all vice. Rather than engendering the strength, the discipline, the character to defer gratification it discourages and besmirches it, promoting the opposite. The evident and necessary product is a society lacking moral strength, discipline, and character, the qualities needed for decency, survival, and success.
I doubt that Pepsi wants their employees to adopt this slogan, to decide to skip work because other activities offer better ways to live for now, or to embezzle money or other company property because it will provide more resources to live for the present. So it is reprehensible that this company promotes an approach to life that it would not want practiced on itself. It is a shame that it propagates a philosophy that is so bad for a nation that has been so good to it . It is deplorable that it choose the pursuit of profit over the profit of its customers.
Let’s pray that America survives this hippie generation and that God in His mercy raises up one that develops the character to defer the pleasure of the moment for moral and productive future benefit, or better yet, one that lives for eternity instead of for now,. Let’s pray that the evangelical church in America will gain the spiritual vitality to propagate that message.