Sunday, August 04, 2002

The other side of "If"

The other day I wrote about how "if" leads very often to sin. I do think, however, that the subjunctive is a tool, like any other. It may be misused most of the time, but that doesn't mean it has no power to help us do better. Evaluating the past in the hope of doing better starting right now is a marvellous use of the mood. "Next time I see a beggar, if I have no money I will..." "If I am feeling short-tempered, I will keep a little distance between me and those on whom I might atke it out."

I still believe that even this can be misused. It can very easily lead to pointless regret (for things forgiven and repented of) or needless anxiety (about a future we have only influence over, not control of).


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