Why We Change, Why We Don’t

I’m still time-starved and blogging light due to the theatre hobby and a load of paying work, but did want to post this: Via David Brooks of the NY Times, here is a worthwhile article on a subject dear to this blog–why we change, or don’t, how we change, or don’t, and why the self-remodeling tactics that work for one person often fail miserably for another.

If that whets your appetite for further inquiry, here is a link to some of my past entries on the baffling question of change.


AWOL Blogger: “I Want My Life Back”

Well, not exactly.  I’m having a great time playing paleo-conservative John Dickinson in a production of that Broadway classic, 1776, trying in vain to convince that “Boston radical…agitator…demagogue…MADMAN!” John Adams that splitting from Great Britain is just so, so wrong. But while the play is the thing, and it’s fun, it’s just about stolen all my blogging time over the past couple weeks. And since there are 13 shows (think: number of colonies) and we close on July 3, I won’t be back to regular posts for a while. Courage.

How to Be Happy, Part 5

Reason, gentlemen, is a fine thing, that is unquestionable, but reason is only reason and satisfies only man’s reasoning capacity, while wanting is a manifestation of the whole of life–that is, the whole of human life, including reason and various little itches.

And though our life in that manifestation often turns out to be a bit of trash, still it is life and not just the extraction of a square root. I, for example, want to live so as to satisfy my whole capacity for living, and not so as to satisfy just my reasoning capacity alone, which is some twentieth part of my whole capacity for living. What does reason know? Reason knows only what it has managed to learn . . . while human nature acts as an entire whole, with everything that is in it, consciously and unconsciously, and though it lies, still it lives.

Fyodor Dostoevsky, Notes From Underground

Should We Have an All-Gay Military?

That would be fine with me if military experts and experienced fighters on the ground came to believe that an all-gay force would bring the best possible combination of lethality, endurance and courage in combat. Likewise, I would support  an all-female force, an all-male force, an all-black force, or an all-fill-in-the-blank force if those troops made up a superior fighting machine.

Why? Because, at the risk of being tedious, that, at bottom, is what the military is for–fighting. It is not primarily a jobs program; it is not primarily a vehicle for advancing causes, however worthy; it is not primarily a giant, green-clad social service and village- reconstruction organization.

Yes, the military may serve those goals secondarily, and sometimes it should,  but we can never lose sight of the reality that in this fallen world, the military’s main raison d’etre is “to break things and kill people, ” in Colin Powell’s phrase.

It would be wonderful if,  starting this afternoon,  no military ever again broke things or killed people, but until the dawn of that peaceable kingdom, force is a reality.

Having never served in the military, I’m more deferential to what the troops and the brass want than are many of my noncombatant pals. If the people wearing those boots on the ground say that it’s time to integrate openly gay men and women into the service, and their presence will be a net plus in accomplishing military goals, that’s fine with me. If they say let’s go just a bit slower just a bit longer, again, I defer.