Over my now many years I have come increasingly to believe that our lives are mostly set by our genes at birth, that we are stuck with the horse we rode in on. I think mine has been. I considered this to be anecdotal, not science, but in a recent email David, who presently resides in Thailand, sent me links to two articles that claim it is science. I thank him for them.
As a long ago philosophy major I am familiar with Kant’s ‘ought implies can” and I am also familiar with his categorical imperative, which states that you should always act so that your behavior could become a universal law. Thus you don’t kill others because if everyone did, no one would exist. This would counteract part of the experiment in the ATLANTIC article because some would realize that not cheating results in better societies and lives for all than does cheating. But even the disposition to that is likely genetic.
I realize that many with genetic gifts have had no chance of fulfilling them: born into extreme property, female in cultures where women are chattel, in the midst of one of our species’ incessant wars.
I found myself wondering how many live in the first world. If you google, you will find numbers around 15%. I think that is too high. It includes the entire populations of what are considered first world countries, in many of which significant numbers do not live in first world conditions. In South Africa, which is counted first world, the vast proportion of people lead third world lives, and even in wealthy countries tens of millions live in poverty. But if you are born at least in the middle class in the first world, you have sufficient opportunity to fulfill whatever your genes permit.
Another friend, Ron, appends to each of his emails, ‘Sometimes I think life is just a rodeo. The trick is to ride to make it to the bell.’
I have often felt during my life that I am just along for the ride. I have often fallen off the horse I rode in on, but I have always gotten back on. That too is probably genetic.
For weeks each morning when I have checked the National Hurricane Center’s site, the map of the Atlantic has shown ‘No activity expected in the next 48 hours.’ As you can see above, that is no longer the case, though as you can also see from the world wind map the disturbance in mid-Atlantic is not yet well organized. I hope it does not arrive at Hilton Head simultaneously with us on Saturday.