Tuesday, November 08, 2011

The Funny Thing About Destiny & the Sherman Mind

The concept of destiny, fate and inevitability is one philosophers and religious folks tend to struggle with. On one hand, the inevitability of life happening to us allows us to premeditate the very existence of an unseen power, an unseen hand- far powerful and mighty that directs the affairs of men. While this augurs very well for the spirit minded folks, it also puts us firmly in the realm of dependency in our every day lives. If this is true, then perhaps we are not prone to do right or strive for righteousness because we were not destined to be. It also puts the Supreme in the inevitable position of wickedly deciding those that will succeed and fail, preserving good fortunes for some and bad fortunes for others.

To the sociologists that study the fortunes of men, destiny could as well be race, education, birth place, genes, economic class of parents, choice of schools made by others (especially parents) and above all peer pressure. They reason, you can't possibly be born to an Harvard attending parents and end up flipping buggers at the nearest BK Joint. Life's fate inevitably are decided at conception..the home you were born into. It determines your likely family status, marital history, your life income, even your health and what disease will likely spell your inevitable end. 

Some Philosophers have forged the idea of second nature, that men while predestined for a specific end, will have their path towards that end charted by their decisions, choices and will. Though somewhat comforting, and somewhat a palatable hybrid of the polar concepts of will driven, it feels more like a comfort pill the more one chews on it. So Mr. A is inevitably ended for an unhappy, bankrupt ending but he can chart a more comfortable path to that by becoming a Ponzi Schemer succeeding like Madoff for years and living the good life because of choices (bad to some good end in this case)until he is caught and then he goes bankrupt and dies miserable. Sounds familiar?

Oh well, speaking of Madoff..I'm I the only one not buying his wife's crocodile tears on TV last weekend? Please.

Book Review- Mindset of a General

This book in a series focused on America's Generals reveals the mind of General Sherman from a somewhat judgmental perspective. Like many reviews of war leaders of the civil war era, the authors somewhat could not help but slant the readers' views of this Great General based on their own biases or the biases of the modern reader against total warfare which General Sherman implemented against his Southern Cousins during the civil war. Of course, further cherry-picking the General's strategy by emphasizing his obvious racist nature (something shared by 99% of White Americans of his era..) to further abuse the readers' mind of the Great General exploits versus his person further the blurs the line between this biography and an opinion. While the book is rich in details, it would perhaps be best to have focused on the strategic underpinnings of the decision maker which such books in this series have tend to focus on. Was he a great warrior? I bet he was! Then what else matters? 


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