Dec 14, 2010

In Control Or Not?

Here is a line from an article that I read:

"We live in a society of personal control and achievement.  We are led to believe that if we flex our muscles hard enough and are diligent and persevering enough, we can control the outcome of our lives and those of our children."

Are we living in a society in which we are led to believe we are in control? I think we get mixed messages.

- We are told time and again that eating properly (the right amounts, nutritious food) and exercising are up to us and we are enjoined to take care of our health. 

the message is, we are responsible for our health and it's up to us to maintain it, in other words - it is within our control (despite the fact that we all know that illness strikes seemingly at random and kills children and young people)

- Many support the idea of bachurim having a plan for the future that includes what they will do to support a family.

the message is, we can plan for our financial future and carry out that plan (despite the fact that we know that some businesses surprisingly take off and do well while many fail and that many people who prepared for a particular career are doing something else either willingly or because they cannot find work in their fields)

- When it comes to our behavior and moods, it's our genes, it's our "chemical make-up," it's our upbringing, that make us the way we are.

the message is, we are victims
it's not our fault that we fly off the handle, that we can't sit quietly and pay attention, that we feel sad; it's a disorder, a condition, something that doctors diagnose
this is a phenomenon that has been observed in articles and entire books are devoted to our victimhood (some promoting it while others repudiate it).

So which is it - overall, do we feel in control or not?

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