Do we have a choice in striking out a path for ourselves?
Look at the manner we have described progress in which man’ deliberate choices connect with similar needs and choices made by others. The nameless inventor of wheel didn’t anticipate flywheel for a watch, gyroscope or wheels, which are as essential in flying. Our choices, deliberate these must be to fit with our needs at a particular point of time and place, would always have to negotiate with those of others. My responsibility is therefore of short duration and how it is adapted in future is beyond me. One example will suffice: our ancestor made flint blades by breaking flint. He could scrape flesh from animal hide and use the leather skins for his clothes. Suppose another used the flint blade to commit murder. Is he responsible that it became a murder weapon in the hand of another?
No, he cannot be held responsible for it.
Moral responsibility for murder must surely lie with the one who used it to commit murder.
let us now look at the kind of “decision,” the evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne talks about. Decision arrived at is merely a series of electrical and chemical impulses between molecules in the brain — molecules whose configuration is predetermined by genes and environment. Though each decision is the outcome of an immensely complicated series of chemical reactions, those reactions are governed by the laws of physics and could not possibly turn out differently. This has only validity where time is of essence and in the face of danger thinking is not an option. The question of fight or flee has been settled eons ago and it is what one may say knee-jerk reaction.
Free Will is where we make conscious choices and coolly and rational mind has determined it.
However progress makes connection of one with the other and it can go on infinite ways. The javelin hurled to fell an animal in hunt connects with arrows sent flying and to the sidewinder missiles that can sense the heat of the target and kill.
Free will is not consigned to molecular behavior of physiology but conscious choices we do to address a problem facing us.
Free will of Adam who on an impulse ate the fruit is an impulse. Those who are by nature impulsive would need an attorney called Restraint in order to move ahead.
Progress is innovations of a few given their widest range.
The Peking man may have settled for a bamboo cut sharp for a weapon as flint tools in the west. How such use ties up around the world gives Progress its value.
Foresight is how man satisfies his need at a specific time and place. Is it not irony that in course of time it shows up its shortcoming? The Bronze Age showed how inadequate Stone Age was. Now a bronze artifact is but a museum piece.
Progress in one direction also creates great many necessities in its wake. It is invisible and is according to cluster principle of which I have explained in previous posts.
To sum: Progress of man on foresight is like having only one paddle doing the job. Funny that hindsight is nowhere in view! Trouble with Progress as a result will have so many gray areas to work upon. Like the Nuclear Age we ushered in without realizing the rogue nations also will get hold of nuclear weapons some day.
Wealth will create more need for wealth and no way Progress can be expected to stop at some point and say,” Enough, we have reached the level of satiety! We are happy!’
Progress coming to think of it must have been Satan’s crowning achievement.
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How easy it is to subscribe to the proverb ‘Fathers ate sour grapes and teeth of children are set on edge.’ I do not share this view of anyone being called out to pay for the wrongdoing of another. Payback time of each ls closely hidden elsewhere and Law in most cases may render justice to the wronged. It is possible that some may escape from Law but will pay back just the same in ways he or she shall never foresee.
Law can only do so much but no further.
Is there then any moral lesson to be learned here?
Had Bernard Madoff known what his fraud would lead to he would have gone to some other business or a nine to five job that would lay no temptation before him. King Midas would not have laid much trust either in gold had he thought his daughter’s life was of worth.
Man is a funny animal and when young and his blood is in rage he deceives himself he lives a charmed existence. He thinks luck is on his side as an incorrigible gambler might. Madoff and King Midas, I suspect were similarly deceived. We are easily fooled to think we can get away with privileges, wealth or fame without paying back anything that is worthwhile and genuine. Ben Franklin as child wanted a penny whistle so badly. After buying it he realized he paid far too high price for it. The joy of possessing the whistle was killed by the thought he played the fool. He seems to have thrown it away in vexation. This is how we are shortchanged by our ill-advised actions. Madoff for all his cleverness didn’t realize the shame and tragedy would engulf him as a result. I am sure he must be kicking himself and wonder,’If only I could turn back the time!’
Life can be drunk only moderately and to be drunk senseless is to invite trouble not only to you and many others whose lives touch yours.
When life sets sweet wine free it is not smart either to stick to water. Life is such that to be sparing is to belittle your capacity to experience or to be of use to others. When life warms you all over it is worth your while to enjoy life in all its varieties so having kept your head and understood life in its many aspects you may be able to guide those around you to higher level of actions and thoughts. Instead some feel like a dyspeptic griping of things that they really have no idea of. Neither too much or too little will do.
Safest way is to sharpen your wits while you are open to such wisdom and guidance. Later when you sit with all sorts of fellows you may avoid being taken in. Money is to be made and spent without being caught out as a fool by your actions. As in the case of Madoff he wanted to make much more than was good for him. He didn’t know himself or members of his family whether his greed they could handle. It was his tragedy.
Here is a piece of news:
NEW YORK – Imprisoned financier Bernard Madoff won’t seek to attend his son’s funeral out of consideration for the privacy of his son’s wife and four children, his lawyer said Monday.
Attorney Ira Sorkin said Madoff instead will mourn privately at the North Carolina prison where he’s serving a 150-year sentence for his fraud conviction in what authorities have called history’s largest Ponzi scheme.
Madoff’s older son, Mark Madoff, 46, hanged himself early Saturday in his Manhattan apartment two years after his father was charged with fraud.
Ack: Larry Neumeister, Associated Press)
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The news of Sharon Tate killing forty years ago made a great impact on me especially at a time I was just getting into grips with life and death. I asked myself: Does God let innocents suffer? Merely because she happened to be the wife of Roman Polanski against whom Manson had some grudge? The senselessness of life I can still see erupting at random. Do I worry over it? No. There are much more acts of kindness and purpose happening all around me so I may say that these sensible and well thought actions offset whatever occurs by chance. I would certainly worry if I took to my head to stop being good or try at least to be nice to others. Of course I shall howl if I stopped in the process being good to myself .
I just read the news The California Board of Parole denied parole to Susan Atkins one of the Manson follower who had recounted her role in stabbing Tate. Before the parole board Steve Atkins pleaded for release and averred that they were abused when young. Susan Atkins, 60 must have had reasons that led her to the crime but forty years dying slowly and living with her guilt in a prison cell gives me the creeps. I get a fair idea what hell must be like.
It makes me also think we create our own hell or heaven here and now. When we act irresponsibly to our children or when they turn out to be monsters we have done valuable service to ‘Satan’ and extend his kingdom ever so little to this part as well. Turn out a child to do bad she shall do worse as Susan Atkins came into contact with Charles Manson for example. These are chains of events in each life that could add to the power of hell on earth or add to heaven. We alone are responsible for heaven and hell.
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