You've probably all read some of Andy Borowitz's great work at satirizing current events. Included at the end of a recent satire about Bush debating Gena Davis from the TV drama, "Commander in Chief", Borowitz added, "Federal Reserve Chief Alan Greenspan said that he would step down in 2006, saying that he wanted to spend more time making indecipherable remarks to his family."
A LETTER I WROTE TO US NEWS AND WORLD REPORT
IN RESPONSE TO JOHN LEO'S LAUGHING ATTACK ON ATHLETES
GETTING CAUGHT USING STEROIDS
Subject: John Leo
Date: Thursday, August11, 2005 8:38 PM
From: George Thomas
To: US NEWS AND WORLD REPORT
John’s column was a hoot, but he misses a couple of points. I don’t believe it’s too far a bridge to say that part of the reason athletes and others in many fields of endeavor cheat is because America has made a chemical addiction to success a synaptical habit in the American psyche and has made being a “loser” something of a curse. We’re way overboard in accreting adrenaline toward success, money and power in this country.
Second, I hope John Leo, if he’s going to write as he does about human responsibility, has been doing some serious research in evolutionary biology. A great deal of evidence is piling up which shows that human traits such as lying, perseverance, aggressiveness, passivity, goal orientation, in fact just about any human trait which individuals pride themselves on or curse themselves for not having, are pretty much a matter of genetics, even the “gumption” by which one might find the personal resources to overcome or develop a trait (i.e. synaptical chemical habit) which he or she does or does not have seems to be genetic.
I’d suggest Leo read the book, The Illusion of Free Will, and catch up on some of the works of Daniel Dennett or Steven Pinker. He might also glance into The Origin of Minds by Peggy La Cerra for a good read on the mechanisms of memory and choice. He’d get some good insight if he’d read Going Inside: a tour around a moment of consciousness and learn just how “consciousness”, whatever that might be, functions within the human brain.
Sad to say, there just may not be as much free will in the Cosmos as some would like to hope. For example, just how much choice is involved in the angry moment of release when someone in a barroom brawl swings just hard enough to turn a moment of anger into a moment of murder? And in a rush of angry, fearful adrenaline, why can one man stop his trigger finger while another can’t stop it? I don’t think there’s very much moral choice in such moments which turn one human animal into a murderer while the other escapes that curse. Real objective study would help all of us to the truth rather than just our throwing around our emotions encapsulated in moral pejoratives.
Thanks a whole hell of a lot,
[Crazy as this may sound, I do believe that the more each of us admits to our being nearly robots when it comes to behavior the freer each of us paradoxically becomes. The truth literally can set us free in this regard.] This bracketed info was not included in the letter, damn it. I fired it off too fast.