It was the idea of consequences and how it is vital for our humanity to have consequences. Now pardon me for the next example because it is a little long-winded. People complain that we have late fees at Roger's (although they are nominal and drastically less than they used to be several years ago). Some claim that we are nickel and dime-ing them or if they do have fees they want them reduced. They think that we have them in place simply because we have the opportunity to steal away an extra buck or two. It's a very short-sighted thought. I mean, yes, we are losing money that we could be getting if the movie you had out was returned (and how dare we want to make some money), but it has to do the necessity of enforcing a consequence. If there was no penalty at all for not returning a movie, why you return it? You wouldn't. In addition if we want to have enough copies so that everyone who comes into the store to rent a given title can, then we want copies to come back. The late fee gets people to bring it back otherwise people would be perpetually complaining how we don't have enough copies. We surely wouldn't pay for enough copies for everyone who wanted to rent it because that means each copy would be rented just once. Then we've lost money on each copy. And after a while we are out of business and suddenly no one can rent any movie. So we have to get enough copies that finds the balance of allowing as many people to rent it as possible while depending on each copy renting enough so that it pays for itself and the business can continue. So a late fee (or at least the presence of a consequence) means more copies come back more often so that more people can see the same movie. I know for a lot of people this is all common sense and unnecessary for me to explain, but I'm making a point. We need that consequence of a penalty to make things function but a lot of people forget that. The funny thing about that is that the same people who complain about late fees are the same who complain that there are not enough copies to rent because other people didn't bring back on time.
I was thinking about this idea of consequences after watching the movie "Gamer" (which I would not recommend to people who dislike violence and an over abundance of nudity). In this world, they have a couple of games where players at home could take control of another person and have full control of their actions making them do whatever the player desired. One of which is a literal fight to the death where the people being controlled are death row inmates and the players are people who want to play a game. The other is a "Sims"-esque game called "Society" where the player interacts with other players via the people they control. What made this concept to me interesting is that it highlighted the need for consequence. The players, since there was absolutely no ramifications for them personally, would make their avatar do whatever they wanted and makes it a place full of soulless hedonistic activities. The avatar, who is a real person, had to take the brunt of the consequence to their player's decision.
Obviously it's not like that in our games presently because we are controlling animated non-entities as opposed to real people, but it allows people to have reckless abandon in a pseudo-world and not suffer consequences. Games that have this sandbox approach always have to put into the game as many things as possible for the player to do such as deciding to help protect a town or turnaround and blow it up. However, the only consequence to the action is minor, because the game's story cannot proceed if the character is in jail forever because he just murdered a bunch of innocent people. It lacks the need for wise choices in the game, because you will respawn or can reload on a whim.
Now, I am not saying that video games are bad, but it's one of those things that pull people away from living in a world of consequence (although I suppose the consequence would be not impressing the girls). There are many things that pull us away from putting ourselves on the line. There is also the anonymity of the internet, where vile, hurtful comments can be tossed around in the shroud of terrible made up names like "cougarhunter_34" or "f@bugrrl02" and then disappear into the night, putting the consequence of your action purely on the target of the comment. You have dating sites where you can browse profiles and pictures anonymously and say what you want about yourself without actually putting yourself on the line.
A life filled with no real tangible consequence may allow us to avoid punishment or pain, but it also lacks true joy and love. If I had a sandwich and I was also got a deal and got a second for free and then gave it to someone, it would be considered a nice gesture, but there is no real consequence. Contrast that with you giving up the only sandwich you had. One has sacrifice involved. True compassion is reflected in the gift from sacrifice, not in the gift from convenience.
People tend to shy away from facing consequences to their actions, but it is what allows us to function in community, it gives meaning to our free will, it allows us to enjoy life fully and love more deeply. Unfortunately, it also means that comes paired with being responsible for our actions and being vulnerable to pain.
As hard as it is love people after you've been hurt deeply, it is much better to love recklessly and generously than it is not try to love at all.
"The man in the silk suit hurries by
As he catches the poor old lady's eyes
Just for fun he says 'Get a job'
That's just the way it is
Some things will never change
That's just the way it is
But don't you believe them"
- "The Way It Is" by Bruce Hornsby