Long ago a group of friends were making fun of philosophy.
“To be is to do.” -John Stuart Mill (even funnier if he said no such thing)
“To do is to be. ” – Jean-Paul Sartre
“Doobee doobee doo, bee doo bee doo bee ” – Frank Sinatra singing Strangers In The Night (that one’s genuine).
Perhaps Sinatra summed it up best. Something is going to happen anyway and ultimately it does turn out so right.
This time the rats weren’t running past, but sidling awkwardly because they were toting deckchairs, sitting down and forming a small audience. I cough a bit and begin.
“Welcome. We are here today to discuss the question :”What Does Genetics Have To Do With It ?’
“Shouldn’t that be ‘What DO genetics have to do with it?’ ?”
“No, because you can’t have only one genetic.
Now here’s the problem. We were all working away sorting our mind warehouses, making great efforts and believing that this was going to make a huge difference to what our future selves would become. Practice makes perfect and all that. But now scientists are saying that what we were going to do was all genetically programmed anyway, if I understand them correctly.”
“But they didn’t say therefore we didn’t need to do the work. More like, we were programmed to feel like doing it when we, like, hear the herald’s call. The herald always makes a public call but not everyone hears it as such. Quite a few just assume the call is to someone else.”
“Didn’t someone say ‘For many are called, but few are chosen.’ ? I used to think that meant ‘You have all been called here today, and now we’re going to pick just a few of you and leave the rest.’ What if the choice is being made by those who hear the call, by what they do as a result?”
The rats were getting the hang of this. There were squeaks of approval.
“Now here’s my theory.’ This from a rat, large from doing many sits and wearing a Platonic robe.
“You know there’s no free will. Subconscious makes the decision several seconds before you’re aware of it, you think it’s a free decision but actually it isn’t. But you can program subconscious in advance to decide a certain way. Or not, so that’s your choice and therein lies the freedom. It’s just that it’s not impromptu.
“You see, what Survival Of The Fittest, who then live, breed and pass on their genes must mean is that creatures survived due to something they chose to do before they knew it would succeed. Inevitably therefore, genes originated in active choice.
“Those that made a fatal choice and died still died making a choice, by which in other circumstances they might have lived. There’s no one who doesn’t make a choice.
” ‘To be or not to be’ is NOT the question, even though Shakespeare was definitely working along these lines. No one gets to ‘not be ‘ – you all simply ARE. The answer is clearly ‘to do, or not to do, is to be.’ ”
And those genetically programmed to answer the herald’s call and act on it? Looks like they programmed themselves and came back to follow their own program.
“Isn’t that sounding a bit like reincarnation, which ‘science’ is iffy about and likes to call unscientific on the basis of having carefully avoided studying it?”
“Sorry, Socrates. You don’t just get to knock my castle down with clever logic. The deal includes building one yourself that you think will stand up better.”
More rats were arriving. Some more space was going to need clearing.