Thursday, 13 September 2018

second nature

Regardless if you refer to the messy bundle of influences, incidents and accidents that make up one’s inheritance luck or grace—the question of nature versus nurture ought to be flattened out since those factors that inform our trajectories are just as much outside of our agency as winning or losing the genetic lottery—its role in one’s success ought not to be discounted.  Though I’d like to consider myself enlightened and gracious enough to acknowledge—with due humility—that fact, reading this essay from David Roberts writing for Vox confronted me with an important reminder that my relationship to my own legacy and that of my peers, neighbours and strangers isn’t as generous and empathetic as it should be.
The goal post for that is always being set further back—as it should be too. Agency and willpower are not empty concepts and are what elevates us, but they are nonetheless secondary and demand to be formed and reinforced through habit—just as it is that the majority of merit and honour is to be found in overcoming those baser instincts and snap judgments whose pedigree have obviously paid off over the generations but can be ill-suited for most modern settings. What do you think? It was particularly provoking how the reasoning that removes one from the cycle of bad habits is the same one that generally remains quiet and tardy when greed and sloth are making the executive decisions and comes calling after the fact as regret and recrimination. The ability to stare into the middle distance and muddle through reflecting on that receding goal post is of course influenced by those same heirlooms that are beyond our control and the clarity of vision and resolve is determined by our peers and their willingness to not forgive but rather overlook our trespasses.