‘The big education for me is that civilisation is fragile and can be destroyed in a heartbeat' - Jeremy Brade, former peacekeeper in Sarajevo.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Luck of the draw

From telegraph.co.uk

Do you count yourself as lucky? I do, but I suppose it mostly depends on the comparisons we make or fail to make.

I was lucky in all kinds of obvious ways from the time and country of my birth onward. In the developed world there are millions of us living our comfortable lives with worries previous generations would have treated to a tubercular splutter of disbelief.

We have our ups and downs of course, but materially most of us are lucky. We have our personal tragedies too because death comes to all and is so often untimely or painful. Yet in spite of the omnipotence of death we are lucky compared to earlier generations.

So are some people more lucky than others? David Cameron was born with the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth, but do we count this as luck? I think we do.

What about Blair? Bonkers in my view, but lucky enough to be charming in a way I’ve never quite fathomed. Maybe if I’d met him I’d know.

I’m sure luck plays a major part in our lives. I’m lucky to have made a reasonable career decision when I discovered I was passably good at chemistry. I could have given chemistry a miss and opted for something with deeper appeal, but I didn’t yet the choice turned out reasonably well.

However I wasn’t well equipped to make the choice anyway – there was a hefty element of luck. Maybe my parents buying me a chemistry set for Christmas had a hand in it. A proper fifties chemistry set it was too, one where you could discover the combustible delights of sulphur and iron filings.

The books and comics of the time were stimulating too and my parents believed strongly in the educational value of regular reading. Another stroke of luck – I was born at a time when books were available to borrow free of charge from public libraries.

Looping back to political careers - are politicians such as Cameron and Blair talented, lucky or a bit of both? Which is the more powerful asset? Impossible to say of course, but I think with a enough talent, politicians are often able to twist lady luck around their little fingers.

Doesn’t say much for the present lot though does it?


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Paddington said...

Too many US conservatives ignore what fate does. Hence, the current meme of blaming all poor people for being poor.

A K Haart said...

Paddington - I think that goes back a long way. It's so convenient.

Paddington said...

Shades of 'A Christmas Carol'.

A K Haart said...

Paddington - oddly enough I was thinking of Dickens when I wrote my comment.

Sackerson said...

I'd back luck against raw talent any day. Mediocrities can always band together to seal off rising stars, which is why the latter must also acquire skills of manipulation and deception.

Paddington said...

Except that in the long term, small advantages due to planning win out.