Thursday, July 05, 2012
It is discouraging how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit.
Surprised seagull. Geilston Bay Boat Ramp, Geilston Bay. June 2012.
It’s Theme Thursday time again, and these week – like the perplexed seagull above – I am left to wonder about LIFE'S UNCERTAINTIES.
Certainly, we wouldn’t like life to be too certain. I normally try to eschew the deterministic understanding of events that some espouse. Not for me is the Wu wei[無爲] of the Tao. I just can’t get behind a philosophical standpoint of “non-doing” and just drift along with events and shrugging my shoulders at all around me. If there is one thing that history has taught me, the path of least resistance often leads to a place where you don’t want to be.
Biological or genetic determinism just scares me too much, so I prefer not to think about it. Besides, you really don’t want to be on a journey with fellow travellers like Herbert Spencer, Francis Galton, Charles Davenport right through to Dr Mengele and his crowd.
I am probably more sympathetic to historical determinism than I really should be. Perhaps it is the Eduard Bernstein in me, but there is something about the economic interpretation of history that still appeals to me. There is just something inherently sexy about base and superstructure that appeals.
However, I am digressing (one might argue that my entire life has really been one long digression). We are supposed to be talking about LIFE'S UNCERTAINTIES.
Life, you see, is full of uncertainties. My present philosophical condition can be summed up in one succinct sentence: anyone who isn’t confused doesn’t really understand the situation. People are unpredictable. Events are unpredictable. Sure, we can narrow the odds on choices that people make (nor not make, as the case may be); but you show me five people in the same circumstances with the same background and same set of choices and three will go one way, another the opposite and one will neglect to choose.
LIFE'S UNCERTAINTIES, you see. You can never be too sure about anything. There is no ‘dead cert’. No ‘sure thing’. The dictatorship of the proletariat didn’t lead us to a classless and stateless society, what we had as a pile of bodies and some really bad haircuts.