Fandango’s Provocative Question (23 September 2020)

I could set my clock by Fandango’s Provocative Question (actually, I probably could, although I never tried). But Wednesay’s mean just one thing. Today, Fandango asks:

To what degree have you been able to control the course that your life has taken? Or is being in control of your life just an illusion?

The latter.

We like to kid ourselves that we are in control, but we’re only in control if the “system” is small enough. For example, there is a pizza in my freezer (spinach and ricotta, I’m looking forward to it!) which I’ll probably eat tonight. Me, on my own, I’m in control.

But broader that out. As soon as the “system” gets bigger, forget it. Multiple people? Forget it. When do we all agree on what flavour of pizza to eat? Or even, whether to eat pizza at all? Forget it.

Okay, that was a flippant example. But Trump possibly thinks he is in control of the streets, say, except that all those rioters we’ve seen in the last few months would disagree. The human race wants to feel it is in control of Mother Nature, say, but all those fires disagree. As soon as you get larger systems, forget it.

I think we have a very limited sphere of control. Anybody who ever had health problems, they’ll understand exactly how “in control” we are! Anyone who ever got pregnant, the baby’s gonna drop after nine months, whether you like it or not – that’s how much control you have.

With that particular example of reproduction in mind, this is one area where science has given us a tiny bit of control. The obvious examples are contraception and abortion, but also more widely, medicine in general. Something like blood pressure tablets will postpone that heart attack just that little bit longer (we hope).

But even then, our level of control is quite minimal, I think. We’re still going to drop dead of something, eventually.

Author: Mister Bump UK

Formerly Stroke Survivor UK. Designed/developed IT systems for banks, but had a stroke in 2016, aged 48. Returned to developing from home, plus do some voluntary work. Married, with a grown-up, left-home daughter.

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